Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Polar Bear Ate My Homework

Well another blog on the last few weeks. Unlike most of my blogs, which I write from the comfort of my desk at home, this one is being written looking at the Churchill River in beautiful Churchill Manitoba. And no I am not here for running. Actually running in this community has risks that are unlike risks almost anywhere else in the world. You see this community is famous for Polar Bears.

Yes those big white bears spend a significant amount of their time in or very close to the community with daily bear sightings possible in and around the town site. So since I am not a fast runner and don’t want to be part of the diet of a Polar Bear, I left the running shoes at home…plus I did not think it would be great advertisement for Skechers to have one of their ambassadors chased down by a Polar Bear…NEW SKECHERS PROMO… OUR SHOES MAKE YOU FAST; JUST NOT FAST ENOUGH TO OUTRUN A POLAR BEAR!!! See just doesn’t sound good. In addition to the bears there is also a significant Beluga Whale population which can be seen right from Mary’s Point on the edge of town. This is one trip any outdoor enthusiast must make. But enough of my surroundings.

So the plan for July was to run Limberlost. Unfortunately a shoulder injury forced me to cancel those plans. Luckily though the shoulder is much better and training has been getting better with longer distances. In addition the last few weeks in August have been extremely hot with daytime temps approaching 40C with humidity. This too has been good for training and has given me a greater appreciation for heat and how I will need to adjust some of my running if I am to get across the island of Cuba.

I did spend a week in Killarny Provincial Park which is located north of Toronto Ontario and sits along Georgian Bay. Running here was probably some of the nicest I have done in many years. We were fortunate to have absolutely perfect weather and dry conditions.
I learnt that as much as I have really loved the Skechers Ultra’s, their ability to handle diverse trail environments was greater than what I had so far put them through. Here in Killarney, the trails went between dry hard pack sand to rock surfaces and the soles stuck on the rock making weird jumps from rock to rock more certain. I discovered one amazing run which I would encourage any runner to do if they are visiting the area. From the main campground at George Lake head down the multi-use trail to Chikanishing Trail.


You cross the highway at one point then follow the gravel road about 1km to the trail start. While the road can be busy with cars heading to the trail and boat launch, the three times I was on this road everyone drove slowly and respected other users, bikes, hikers and runners, who use the road. Now on the Chikanishing Trail you have to watch for painted symbols on the rock to ensure you are staying on the trail. In addition the large number of hikers will make an early morning run more enjoyable. For Joanne and I we found enough rood spots to pass walkers that it wasn’t a big issue. The views are amazing along the trail so be ready for this not to be a great time when you are done for the distance run!!! But hey, running should be about the views and joy of being in the environment otherwise we would just as well run on a treadmill.

A second short trail also leaves from the George Lake Campground. The Granite Ridge Trail Trail is short but also worth the effort. The views are not as stunning as the Chikanishing Trail but it is worth the time.

Finally I did two short sections of the La Cloche Silhouette trail. This is an 80 km trail loop that has been used for years by backpackers and is only now becoming known in the running community. This is not an easy trail nor should it be done without appropriate provisions. I suspect there will be more discussion on how Parks Ontario manages trail runners as a few incidences in the last year have seen people start this trail as a run only to abandon and there is no easy way out short of helicopter rescue.

One last bit of news for this blog was a running seminar I attended on Thursday July 16. I found out about the event from my friend Andy C. This event was hosted by the Ottawa MEC store and included a panel with Joan Roch , Una Beaudry, Dave McMahon and well know ultra-runner Ray Zahab.

To be honest I went to hear Ray but as in all events like this I learnt about three other fantastic and very talented runners.

In fact I learnt from Una that running with a headlamp has a name for those of us who get sick as a result of the bounce. Who Knew!! In addition, Una and her husband, another very skilled runner, run while on holidays as a way to discover a new place. Another amazing story is Joan Roch. Joan runs 5 days a week to and from work for a total daily run around 20km. He then does 100 milers and wins or places in the top group. Yup this guy is a running machine. And finally anyone in the Ottawa area has likely run with Dave McMahon and his equally talented wife Lise Meloche. Dave is without a doubt one of the best running athletes in the area. Let me urge all of you to attend similar running seminars in your community. They are highly informative and you get to hear from other runners who can help you with your own running problems or projects.

I guess I will end this short blog entry here. I am just about to embark on a three week trip to Prague and Budapest with Joanne. The Skechers GORun 4’s will be coming along for the trip. I had hoped the GORun Ultra R (road) would be available but unfortunately I don’t have a pair yet. No big deal, The GORun 4’s are a proven performer and will be perfect for the 5 and 10km runs I plan on doing in both cities. I also came across running tours in both cities so will likely go out with these groups at least once. That should be a lot of fun and I will let you all know how those runs go.



The New Skechers GORun Ultra R has arrived. Yes the long awaited road version of the best shoe on the market, well as far as I am concerned, arrived today. So here is an initial review.

This is not, I repeat, not just an Ultra 2 with a road version for the outer sole. It is also not a GORun 4 with a beefed up sidewall for more cushion. It is a whole new shoe from top to bottom. The outer sole is aggressive and tough and looks like it will take many miles before wearing down. The upper feels like a 1000 denier nylon – i.e. bullet proof. It is thick but very breathable. I took an initial 10km run with these new shoes with no surprises in fit or comfort. I will note that the toe box seems a tiny bit smaller than is typical of the Skechers product. While I normally wear a 9.5 men’s shoe, the ones I got are size 10 and fit perfectly both in the toe and in the length. So consider a half size up from your GORun 4’s or GORun Ultra 2’s. I will definitely be doing a more in-depth review, along with a few others shoes but for now let me leave you with this thought. If you are about to buy new shoes you owe yourself the opportunity to be wearing a shoe like the Skechers GORun Ultra R. It may be the best shoe ever made to date and one that will bring back a lot of runners who found the minimalist period hard on their feet and see those shoes that look like stilts (you know the brand) as silly looking.