Now, to nap...
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I'm getting much faster at teaching people how to juggle; some learned the three-ball cascade within a couple of minutes.
My left hamstring is sore from too much velomobiling yesterday, and I still have a nagging asthmatic cough. Otherwise, I feel great.
Friday, September 28, 2007
The Reebok joggling display at the marathon race expo joggled my mind. Imagine coming face-to-face with a life-sized version of yourself joggling. Freaky. Anyway, kudos to Reebok for recognizing the fun of the sport.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The Scotiabank MarathonKIDS program invited me, along with elite runners Danny Kassap and Ryan Day, to an event at a grade school in the north end of Toronto.
About 120 kids were busy training every week until they reached a total of 37 km. They'll run the final 5 km of the marathon distance at the 5K of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront races on Sunday.
These kids were so full of enthusiasm. When I got there, I was immediately swarmed and bombarded with questions about joggling. I must have signed all 120 T-shirts.
Now I'm fully motivated to break the record on Sunday.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Here's some great video from this weekend's Niagara Velomobile Happening, hosted by Reg Rodaro at his farm near Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Ray from Bluevelo was kind enough to take our Mango up there for us, along with several other models. What an experience it was to ride in a peleton of velos.
In this video you can see me in the Mango driving behind a WAW and Ray shooting the video from a Quest.
I did some final marathon test pacing, so now I just need to stay healthy and rest up for the big joggle.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Here's a short clip of the Mango velomobile in action. It's an ideal vehicle for the city, being compact, manoeuvrable, bright yellow and lightweight.
I gave a talk to the marathon clinic at the Yonge-Eglinton Running Room store last night. Many of the runners were in taper mode for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront or Chicago, so there was a good feeling of pre-race excitement in the room. Reebok even left me a box full of goodies to give out after the talk.
Reebok placed a full-page ad in the current Running Room magazine featuring ... me! I was dumbfounded to see myself in it. To go from being that 11-year-old kid reading the Guinness Book to seeing yourself in the full-page Reebok ad is unbelievable. I'm glad I came out of retirement.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I pulled over near King and Sherbourne and climbed out of the vehicle. The police officer came out and said to me: "What is this?"
"It's a velomobile, a pedal-powered recumbent trike." I said. "It's legal."
"I don't think you can be allowed on the road with this, you're driving a motor vehicle. It's not safe."
"There is no motor, just pedals."
"But you were going so fast. There has to be a motor."
"Nope, no motor, take a look."
"I need to go check this out. What is this called again."
"A velomobile. V-E-L-O-M-O-B-I-L-E."
The police officer then went back into his cruiser to make a call. About 10 minutes later he reappeared and said it was legal and to have a good ride, so off I went.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
For those who missed my recent velomobile ramblings, this machine is essentially a human-powered car. Or, put another way, it's a very, very expensive tricycle.
I'll be driving the Mango to and from work every day, winter included.
I took it to work on Friday and the ride was superb. It was an odd feeling to be kicking back in a car-like vehicle – with a horn, headlights and turn signals – while at the same time getting exercise and not polluting. My commute in the Mango actually made me look around and wonder, honestly, why there weren't hundreds of thousands of these things driving around town.
From the reactions on the street, you'd think I was driving some kind of spacecraft from the future. I heard a lot of: "What IS that?!" or "That is SICK!" And since my legs and the pedals were hidden under the fairing, there were a lot of questions about how the velo is propelled: "What powers that thing?," one driver asked me. "Quads, hamstrings, some calves," I said.
More photos and video clips will follow. The picture above was me taking an elated Lauryn out for a spin. She is the world's youngest velomobile enthusiast.
The joggling training is winding down now; two weeks to go. Tomorrow I have a 13-mile joggle planned, with 10 miles at marathon pace. That should give me a good indication of my fitness heading into the big race.
Friday, September 14, 2007
This post is for all the millions of you out there who want to learn how to joggle but don't know where to start. Here are some tips:
- I'm going to assume that you already know how to run ... or jog.
- Now get yourself some nice juggling beanbags. I use Sportballs, Perry uses Gballz and Zach I think uses Higgins Brothers.
- Learn how to juggling the three-ball cascade. Click HERE for a great tutorial.
- It's time to put the two components together. This sport is not like the triathlon, where to get to do your sports separately; the joggler needs to seamlessly mesh together the sports of running and juggling.
- Find a nice clear path outside. Start out by juggling your cascade, then walk forward for a while to get the feel of forward motion while you juggle. Concentrate on keeping the juggling pattern nice and even, as it you were standing still.
- OK, you're ready to joggle. Start up your cascade, then break into a slow jog. Each time you toss a ball with your left hand, match it to the right-leg stride, and vice-versa.
- When you run, the right arm will automatically swing forward as you stride with your left leg. You need to match your joggling tosses with this natural arm swing.
- The height of your tosses is determined by the speed of your running. The faster you run, the lower the toss. This is because as you run faster, your arms pump at a faster rate.
- Take care not to toss the balls too far forward. I made this mistake when I was first learning how to joggle. If your biceps start to burn after a short joggle, you're probably tossing too far forward. The beanbags should only be about half a foot in front of your nose.
- When you're juggling while standing still, your elbows are stable at your sides, but for joggling your elbows swing forward and back with the running motion. To accommodate this arm swing and increase running efficiency, you need to carry the ball back with you on the backswing, then release it as your arm shovels forward. Toss each beanbag just before your opposite foot strikes the ground.
- Try to avoid any excessive trunk sway and maintain normal running form. When I watched Zach pull ahead of me in the Boston Marathon last year, I could barely tell he was joggling. If it weren't for the telltale yellow beanbags popping up over his shoulders, I could swear he was a regular runner.
- When you're joggling, you should focus on the road or path ahead of you, not the beanbags. As long as you have them in your line of sight, you'll know where to catch them, but your eyes should focus on where you're going. Otherwise you'll run into a pole or a ditch or other runners or a water buffalo (depending on where you're joggling).
- That's it. Congratulations, you're a joggler.
Monday, September 10, 2007
This is easy to calculate. Below is a comparative chart of my running and joggling PB times and the percentage differential:
400m: 53 secs. vs. 59 secs. (89%)
Mile: 4:22 vs. 4:49 (90%)
5K: 15:05 vs. 17:50 (84%)
10K: 31:59 vs. 36:27 (87%)
30K: 1:43 vs. 1:55 (89%)
Marathon: 2:30 vs. 2:53 (87%)
Joggling pioneers like Bill Giduz say joggling should cost you only about 10% of your time. Mine are a bit higher, but that is likely due to the fact that most of my running PBs were set about five years ago when I was a) younger, b) fitter, c) 8 lbs. lighter, d) less overworked, e) less sleep-deprived.
So I think the 10% figure is about right, and it may be even lower, based on yesterday's 35-minute non-juggling 10K. My running speed is slowing down over the years, but my joggling technique has improved greatly, as have my props; the lightweight Sportballs have made a huge difference for the long-distance events.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
I discovered this the hard way on the ferry ride on the way to the Longboat Toronto Island Race. Dianne and I had successfully packed up the whole family for the day out, including raincoats, sweaters, snacks and drinks. But I forgot three important items: my Sport Juggling Co. Sportball beanbags.
"D'oh!" I said.
"Maybe you could use apples," Dianne suggested.
Sadly, the apples weren't going to cut it for a new 10K joggling world record, so I ended up running it as a normal runner. It was a tough adjustment and I ended up finishing fourth in 35:00, three minutes slower than my PB, but a good effort.
Ed Whitlock was there, but didn't race because of a knee problem. In fact, he's not running the Toronto Waterfront Marathon either. Ed did tell me that his knee issue comes and goes and he is back running again, just not ready to race. I'm sure he'll be back soon enough to set some more 75+ age-group records. I needed a gimmick to set world records, Ed is just pure guts, speed and endurance.
Up next for me: On Tuesday morning, I'll be joggling my final super-mega long run before the marathon.
Friday, September 7, 2007
First of all, I had just seen Cirque du Soleil the previous weekend and still had images of this dazzling circus fresh in my mind. Secondly, it was a complete flop as an insult – I'd jump at the chance to join the f–ing circus! And lastly, joggling acts as a litmus test to get a glimpse of the personalities of complete strangers. This guy thinks he's putting me down, when in fact he's just demonstrating to me that he's a total numbnut.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
The clowns were actually funny, the live music was right on cue and filled the tent good vibes, the costumes were over the top but not freakish, the acrobats performed impossible stunts and the juggler was ... Anthony Gatto!
My kids were enthralled. Both girls sat through the entire two-hour-long performance with boogled eyes. The show was a seamless mix of stunts, artistic beauty, magic, laughs, lights and sounds. The closest thing to a dull moment was the magic act by the Pickpocket, who's routine seemed to plod compared to the zing of the other performers.
The highlight of my night was of course seeing my juggling idol perform live. Anthony was dressed in a suit of tiny mirrors and looked like a disco ball. His routine went straight into five balls with another ball bouncing on his head, progressed into clubs and culminated in a good run of nine rings and then seven rings put around the neck while he bounced a ball on his head. He dropped one thing: a beach ball that he was tossing on top of a metal post he had balanced on his chin.
These tricks might be easy for Anthony, but the audience was obviously flabbergasted to see someone juggle seven clubs, and frankly so was I; it was the first time I've seen someone do this in person. I liked how compact his act was – he jumped straight from one thing to the next and moved around the stage with ease while doing tricks. You could tell he was a joggler.
The only disappointment was not seeing the act that got rave reviews: the guy who stacks chairs on top of each other and then climbs to the top and does gymnastics.
But I was blown away by the "Wheel of Death," a giant metal contraption that consists of two human-sized hamster wheels that rotate is a big circle around a centre point by the momentum of the guys inside, or sometimes outside, the wheels. These guys had no safety nets and performed truly death-defying leaps, bounds and somersaults as the wheels spun around at a ridiculous pace.
If you're considering going to see Kooza, I have one word for you: go.