Thursday, December 20, 2007

Best Joggles of 2007

It was a year of heartache and triumph, loss and redemption, but most of all, it was a year of jokes about balls. Here's my list – in no particular order – of the Top Joggles of 2007:

1. Barry Goldmeier runs at least two more five-ball marathons.

2. Fellow Canadian Travis Saunders just missed the 5K world record with a 17:05.

2. Tyler Wishau of Wisconsin joggles a drop-free 5K in 17:08, just 13 seconds shy of the world record.

3. Perry Romanowski sets the 50-mile joggling world record.

4. Perry Romanowski extends his streak to almost a full year of joggling at least one mile every single day. That's more than two million throws and catches.

5. Perry Romanowski joggles the entire Chicago Marathon during a massive heat.

6. Zach Warren and Michal Kapral duke it out at the Salt Lake City Marathon in a rematch to last year's much-hyped Boston Marathon joggling duel. Michal wins, but falls one minute short of Zach's record.

7. Michal shocks the joggling world by announcing his retirement.

8. Michal shocks the joggling world again by coming out of retirement to break the joggling marathon record, running 2:50:09 at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

9. David Ferman, 13, wins three joggling events at the IJA festival, including a 24.28-second five-ball 100m.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Joggler in JUGGLE magazine

I haven't seen it yet, but there's an article about me in the latest JUGGLE magazine. As a fairly lame juggler by jugglers' standards, this is a huge honour for me. I celebrated this achievement by finally joining the International Jugglers' Association.

Speaking of magazines, the debut issue of Canadian Running Magazine is looking very good as we get things ready for the Feb. 15 launch.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Charles Bedley runs 2:16:26

Just two months after winning the Toronto Marathon in 2:21, Charles Bedley, my speedy former training buddy, ran the California International Marathon yesterday in 2:16:26. That's a PB by five minutes, and if I'm not mistaken, it also makes him the fastest Canadian marathoner of the year, ahead of Jerry Ziak's 2:17.

The CIM in Sacramento is not the flattest, fastest course, so I think we may see an even faster time from Charlie next year. About five years ago, Charlie told me in his usual deadpan serious tone that he planned to qualify for the Olympics. I wouldn't put it past him.

Here's a video of the race finish from the local TV station. There's an interview with Charlie three minutes in.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Joggling as an IT management metaphor

I've always thought of joggling as a metaphor for my life. Every day is a test of endurance as I run around juggling several things at once, trying not to drop the ball.

Shane Schick, the editor of ComputerWorld Canada, has come up with a new metaphor that uses the concept of joggling to demonstrate the challenges in IT management. Brilliant.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Velomobile featured on msn.ca

(Photo: Isaac Adams-Hands, MSN.ca)

MSN.ca's Autos section just posted a great feature on my Mango velomobile. You can find it HERE. I love this shot of the Mango stopped next to the Cadillac Escalade. What a study in contrasts.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

VIDEO: David Ferman wins 5-ball 100m event


Will David Ferman usher in a new generation of young jogglers? This is an impressive 5-ball 100m performance from this year's IJA World Joggling Championships in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. You can see runner-up Barry Goldmeier (in the white shirt and black shorts) putting in a solid performance for a masters runner and marathoner.

Ferman's 5-ball joggling tosses are almost twice as high as mine. I think he could run a lot faster with a lower toss and a faster leg turnover. This has inspired me to head to the track and time myself for a 5-ball 100m, but I can't see myself breaking Owen Morse's world record of 13.8 seconds anytime soon. That is just ludicrous.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Rocky's road: Another joggler in Toronto

(Photo: John Chou)


There's a new joggler in town. Adrian Horvath (a.k.a. Rocky), pictured above with marathon world-record-holder Paula Radcliffe, borrowed my joggling beanbags this morning and managed to go three minutes without a drop.


I'd better watch my back, because Adrian just ran the NYC marathon in a PB time of 2:45, one minute faster than Lance Armstrong.


The day after the New York Marathon, Adrian ran into Radcliffe, who was looking pretty happy after her big win in the Big Apple. Between us, Adrian and I have met both the women's the men's marathon world-record-holders within the past month.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Get ready for Canadian Running magazine

Runners, start your Garmins!

This February, Gripped Inc. is launching a new magazine called Canadian Running. It will be the first and only running magazine published in Canada, covering all the issues important to Canadian runners.

And the best part? I'm the editor.

So if you have any ideas about what you'd like to see in the magazine, write a comment here, or shoot me an e-mail.

The first issue is already shaping up to be a doozy. And before you ask ... no, every other article will not be about joggling.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mango profiled in ibiketo.ca

Here's my "cyclist" profile from ibiketo. It should really be tryclist, but I'll let that pass.

Updates to this blog will be less frequent for the next little while as I'm now working about 756 hours per week.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

U.S. marathon trials take tragic turn


The running community is reeling from the news that veteran American marathoner Ryan Shay has died after collapsing at the 5 1/2-mile mark of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. The cause of death has not been released.
My thoughts go out to Shay's family. By all accounts, he was a brilliant athlete and a great guy.

Hall of fame

(Photo: NBC)

It turns out the online NBC video feed for the U.S. men's Olympic marathon trials was only available in the U.S. I tracked the race on Runner's World's "near-live" text feed, which is a surprisingly exciting way to follow a marathon with no video.

So my prediction was correct: Ryan Hall pulled off a superb victory, blasting ahead of the lead pack with a 4:32 18th mile and ramping up a merciless pace for the rest of the race to finish in 2:09:02. Hall broke the U.S. trials record by more than a minute.

What's more impressive is the fact that the trials course was in Central Park, a route that has almost no flat sections. I ran the NYC Marathon in 2000 and I'll never forgot those torturous rolling hills of Central Park leading to the finish. To run an entire marathon on those rolling hills in 2:09 is unimaginable.

Dathan Ritzenhein and Brian Sell also grabbed U.S. Olympic team spots, placing second and third in 2:11:07 and 2:11:40. Former world record holder Khalid Khannouchi took fourth place and could still go to Beijing as an alternate.

Tomorrow, it's the New York City Marathon. One year, I'd like to joggle this one.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Tracking the trials in NYC

It's a new age of marathoning for the American men. I can't wait to track tomorrow's trials in New York City. The stunning lineup of contenders includes Alan Culpepper (pictured above), Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi, Khalid Khannouchi, Abdi Abdirahman, Mbarak Hussein, Dathan Ritzenhein and Brian Sell. It would seem almost impossible to predict a winner, but I'm going with Ryan Hall, based on his recent 59-and-change half-marathon. My second pick is Abdirahman.

Now if only we could get some Canadians running at this level...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

WANTED: Bedside rack for juggling clubs


"Many customers are buying one for each side of the bed." I nearly lost it when I first heard that.

They should design something like this for juggling clubs. I could work on my 3-club patterns before I even get out of bed. And if an intruder comes it – BLAMMO! – a club to the head. The Canadian answer to the shotgun.

Monday, October 29, 2007

How many drops?

Here's a question I get all time as a joggler: How many times do I drop? Riyaad Ali just asked me this in a comment from yesterday's post about Perry Romanowski 50-mile joggling world record. Perry had only four drops during the entire race.

Here's my progression in the marathon:

  • Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2005: 20 drops
  • Boston Marathon 2006: 14 drops
  • Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2006: 8 drops
  • Salt Lake City Marathon 2007: 4 drops
  • Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2007: 2 drops

My typical drop rate these days in about one every 25K. That's about one drop for every 18,000 catches. My 10K world record was drop-free.

Albert Lucas, who once held the marathon joggling record, has joggled several marathons without a single drop.

I drop a lot in training because I'm usually doing tricks.

One thing's for sure: the more you think about not dropping, the more likely you are to drop a ball.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Romanowski smashes 50-mile joggling record

Big news in the joggling world: Perry Romanowski broke the 50-mile joggling world record yesterday in Chicago. His time of 8:23:42 eclipsed Ashrita Furman's mark by nearly half an hour. To top if off, he only had four drops. What a feat!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The fall joggling plan

This photo of 5-ball joggling champ Owen Morse is one of the best joggling shots I've ever seen. As he competes at the 1988 International Jugglers' Association festival, you can see the look of intense concentration on this face as he maintains a perfect 5-ball pattern while sprinting. That combination of speed and coordination is what makes joggling (in my unbiased opinion) the greatest sport in the world.

My plan for the fall is to improve my base running speed with some track work. At the track, I'll also be working on my 5-ball joggling. If I can find a track race that will accept of joggler, I want to go for the 5,000m joggling world record of 16:55 sometime during the winter.

Since I'll be running lower mileage over the next few months, I'm going to use my extra time to look for an advertiser for the Mango velomobile. If anyone knows a company who would be interested in getting their brand on a non-polluting, health-promoting, head-turning vehicle, inquiries can be sent to joggler1@gmail.com.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wisconsin joggler going for mile record

When I first started The Bloggling Joggler, I thought I'd probably run out of joggling-related news after a few months, but here I am nine months later and the updates keep pouring in.

Here's a great piece on a new competitive joggler on the scene. Tyler Wishau is going after the joggling mile record of 4:42:36, set in 2003 by Will Howard. This will be an exciting one to track.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hangin' with Haile in Motor City

(Photo: Detroit Free Press)

A few minutes before the start of Sunday's Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon, the race coordinator called me forward from the first corral to the start line. For a couple of embarrassing minutes I stood there all alone holding my 2:47 pace sign, with several thousand runners staring at me (or so it seemed).

The elite women that I was pacing were then ushered to the line from their warmup area, along with the elite men and their pacer, a small man with a big smile named Haile Gebrselassie. While I was in the midst of briefing the elite American women on my pacing strategy to help them quality for the U.S. Olympic trials, I turned to see Geb strolling to the line with his characteristic grin. We exchanged a quick smile and a nod before I finalized my pacing duties.

When the gun went off, my mind was entirely on getting through the first mile near the 6:22 pace I had to maintain for the whole marathon, but looking back, it's amazing to think that I was lined up at the start of a marathon not two metres away from one of – if not the – greatest distance runner in history.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A wicked pace

(Photo: Detroit Free Press)

The place: The 2007 Detroit Marathon.

My job: To run even splits of 6:22 per mile for a 2:47:00 marathon to pace the U.S. elite women looking to qualify for the Olympic trials.

The race: Haile Gebrselassie, who now – as Adeel puts it – holds the world record for the fastest non-joggling marathon, was there to pace the men's leaders through 10 miles. I saw him at the start but didn't get a chance to talk to him. I was too busy focusing on the task at hand.

I got the small group of elite women through the first mile in just over 6:30. After that, some pulled ahead a bit and I tried to run even splits. At the half I was behind by about a minute, which I had lost with a few slower miles early on.

At about 17 miles, I regained the exact pacing for 2:47 and stuck with it for the rest of the race. There were hopeful trials-qualifiers with me at various points of the race, and it pained me when I had to let them go, but this train had to keep it moving.

Holding onto those 6:22 miles proved to be more of a challenge than I expected because there was a fierce headwind for last five miles. I was carrying a pacing sign that said "2:47" that produced some serious wind drag and I had been using up a lot of energy encouraging and talking to other runners along the way, so I was really fighting it in the last few miles.

With one mile to go, I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep up the pace. It was going to very close. Then I as approached the finish line, I heard the announcer yell: "Here's the 2:47 pacer, and look at this, he's going to be in at EXACTLY 2:47!!! How perfect a pacer is that?!"

Sure enough, the clock struck 2:47:00 as my foot hit the mat. It was a great feeling to get that one right on, but I wished the two women behind me could've been there with me. Laurie Knowles ran a 2:47:46, but she had qualified already in another race. I was really hoping that another top American runner, Marybeth Reader, would make in under 2:47. She made a valiant effort to fight through the wind, but I had to leave her at about Mile 22 and she finished in 2:50.

I can barely walk today. My legs are feeling the effects of two tough marathons only three weeks apart, but the Detroit pacing experience was something to remember.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Believe it or not, I'm running without juggling

This will be my last post before running the Detroit Marathon as a pacer for the U.S. women's Olympic trials qualifying time of 2:47:00. Detroit will be my first non-joggling marathon is a few years and I'm really looking forward to being able to drink Gatorade without stopping.

I've been hired to run exact splits of 6:22 per mile for the whole race, clickity-click, and will be equipped with a Sprint cellphone GPS that will keep track of my time for each mile. I'll be a human metronome.

Today, I was flipping through a copy of the Ripley's Believe It Or Not book and came across a section that described my joggling duel against Zach Warren in the 2006 Boston Marathon. They spelled my first name wrong, but it's still pretty cool to be in the book.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Velomobiles on 'The Hour'


First, George Stroumboulopoulos talked about my joggling record, now CBC's 'The Hour' has a feature on velomobiles. I should watch that show more often to learn about my life.

Go to http://goodidea.cbc.ca/ to vote on velombiles being a "good idea."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

This one's for all of you suburbanites...

(via inventorspot – thanks to Perry for the link)
I have no grass on my front lawn, but if I did, I'd get one of these for sure. They should make a recumbent version, though.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fit friends: Tara's triumph

On the same day my friend Charles Bedley won the Toronto Marathon, Tara Norton, a childhood friend and pro triathlete, placed 12th in the Hawaii Ironman. Her time of 9:41 was a huge PB under sweltering conditions in Kona. Simply amazing.

From Tara's website:
October 13, 2007 - Ironman World Championship - On one of the hottest race days on record in Hawaii, Tara finished 12th overall in a time of 9:41:03. Tara's 5:11:15 bike split propelled her from 28th after the swim to 9th place at the start of the run. Over the course of the marathon there were many positional changes amongst the top-15 women. Tara is thrilled with her best Hawaii finish to date and will report more in her "Thoughts" shortly.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Charles Bedley wins 2007 Toronto Marathon

Wow! My old training partner Charles Bedley just won the 2007 Toronto Marathon (the one that's not the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon) in a blistering time of 2:21:58. It looks like Bedley and Edmonton's Matthew Norminton flew through the half in 1:08 and Charlie hung on for the win.

This is the same race that I won in 2002, so each of us has taken the crown, only he was almost nine minutes faster.

Way to go, Charlie!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Monkeying around at the Oasis ZooRun

Today's Oasis ZooRun was my first race since breaking the joggling marathon world record. It was also the most fun I've had in a race ... ever. And I've run a lot of races. I felt very relaxed; I had no time goal; I didn't care if I dropped. I was there to entertain people and enjoy myself ... and I did.

Finish time: 38 minutes and change.

After the race, I went over the Reebok booth to teach people how to juggle. Some people asked me for autographs. When this happened, there was a long pause where I looked at them waiting for a "Just joking!" But no, there are some actual Joggler groupies out there. This is serious stuff.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Joggling the ZooRun



This is me driving the Mango velo to work. The camerawork is shaky, but the actual ride is very smooth due to the double suspension.

On Saturday, I'll be joggling the ZooRun 10K at the Toronto Zoo, then hanging out at the Reebok joggling booth and giving joggling tutorials.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Perry and Barry joggling in Chicago


Here's a clip of Perry joggling to a 3:59 in the Chicago heatwave.

Perry said five-ball joggler Barry Goldmeier also joggled it but was likely forced to stop when the race was cancelled. I can't begin to imagine what it must have been like juggling five beanbags in 31 C temperatures.

Will The Joggler get to meet Gebrselassie?

When I signed up to run as a pacer at the Detroit Marathon for the U.S. women's Olympic trials qualifying time of 2:47, Haile Gebrselassie was the last person I expected would be at the race. But officials have confirmed that the Ethiopian star will in fact run a portion of the race on October 21.

I hope to meet the man who set the marathon world record of 2:04:26 in Berlin on the same day that I set the joggling world record of 2:50:09 in Toronto (not that I'm comparing myself to the greatest distance runner the world has ever seen, but I would like the chance to tell him about my record, and maybe get him to try joggling).

If Geb is out for an easy run in Detroit, would he run as slow as 2:47 pace? I don't know if he could run that slow. I suspect his easy pace would be around 5:10 per mile.

In other news, 'CBC News: Sunday' did an update on the joggling saga. Dianne and I watched it, laughing and cheering all the way through.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Hot air and a win by a hair in Windy City

Chicago, who's politicians "blowing a lot of wind" may have inspired the nickname Windy City, suffered from hot air of the literal variety on marathon Sunday. Temperatures soared to 31 C and organizers were forced to cut the race short after three-and-half hours. To make matters worse, aid stations ran out of water and Gatorade.

To add to the craziness, both the men's and women's elite races featured astoundingly close finishes.

Morocco's Jaouad Gharib was edged out by Kenyan Patrick Ivuti in a photo finish worthy of a 100m dash. Five one-hundredths of a second separated the two marathoners.

In the women's race, Romanian Adriana Pirtea appeared to have the race locked up with a few hundred metres to go. She high-fived spectators and appeared relaxed on the final straightaway. Little did she know that Ethiopia's Berhane Adere had gone into a maniacal sprint behind her and zoomed past the oblivious Pirtea just before the finish line on the far side of the road. Adere didn't even go through the winner's tape, which was being held on the other side of the line for the hapless Romanian.

A huge congratulations to Perry Romanowski, who managed to joggle this furnace of a race in 3:59.

Monday, October 8, 2007

3 beanbags, 3 sticks of gum, one joggling world record

A few minutes before the race start, on the morning of the most important day of my career as a marathon joggler, I got some distressing news.

"You can't go through here," the race official told me. "Elites only. You have to go around."

"But," I protested, "I'm The Joggler!"

"Sorry. Go around," the woman said, unmoved.

So around I ran, sprinting a full city block to the entrance for the "sub-elites," and made it into the corral just before the 7 a.m. start time of the 2007 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

I had just enough time to pop three sticks of gum into my mouth, catch my breath from the pre-race sprint, shake my arms out and start juggling the three white Sportballs in my hands. The horn sounded and off we went, into the Toronto dawn – 9,000 runners and one joggler.

It was a beautiful morning for a marathon. Before the start of the race, we heard that Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie had broken the world record for the marathon in Berlin earlier that day, lowering the mark to 2:04:26. I took this as a sign; I had to set a world record on the same day as my hero Haile.

Running this marathon felt like coming home to an old friend. This was my fourth year in a row racing the Waterfront and I had set Guinness World Records each the past three times, one for the fastest marathon while pushing a baby in a stroller and twice for the fastest three-ball "joggling" marathon.

This year, I was once again trying to reclaim my joggling world record from my American joggler rival, Zach Warren, who had run a sizzling 2:52:15 in Philadelphia in November 2006.

Earlier this year, Zach and I duked it out at the Salt Lake City Marathon. I won the joggling battle by four minutes over Zach, but fell just over a minute short of the world record. 'CBC News: Sunday' documented the duel with a jogglingly stunning 15-minute report that led off the show on national TV in Canada. The piece was funny and moving, but it also forced me to watch myself come to a dead stop twice near the end of the race, as the world record slipped away. I yelled at my TV: "Don't just stand there, you idiot!" But it was no use.

After the Salt Lake disappointment, I announced my retirement from the sport of joggling. I felt it was time to do something "important," like help save the planet, or maybe feed my family and do some gardening. But the lure of record-breaking was too much to resist. As I said in the documentary Breaking and Entering, "I don't want to say I'm the second-best joggler in the world. It's like, how many are there, two?" Knowing my obsession, my wife Dianne told me: "Give it one more shot in Toronto." A few weeks later, I came out of retirement for one more shot at joggling glory.

Juggling two jobs and two kids, I fit in my training whenever and wherever I could, usually joggling home from work in downtown Toronto. It was the most fun I've ever had training for a marathon. I did tricks and bounced beanbags off street signs and walls. People along my route learned who I was and said things like, "Get that record back."

I had also decided to add a new twist: I would run the whole thing while chewing gum. When people saw me joggling, I heard a lot of comments like, "Yeah, but can you chew gum while you do that?" I started to chew gum in training, for my own personal amusement, and so I could tell those people, "Yes, in fact, I can chew gum while running and juggling." I tried, for real, to get a chewing gum sponsorship from Wrigley, but they advised me that running while chewing their product was a potentially dangerous activity.

Every day, I ran past a bus shelter with the Reebok Run Easy ad that said "Run to the beat of your own drummer." I always got a good smile out of that one. The folks at Reebok saw the connection too, and put together a joggling ad campaign based on the tag line.

About 5K into the marathon, I was joined by the documentary film crew that has been following the joggling saga for the past year. They filmed the rest of the race from a golf cart.

The lightweight Sportballs felt easy to toss and I focused on staying relaxed and on pace. I hit 10K in 39:30 with no drops. The gum was still bursting with flavour. I had planned to cycle through three or four sets of gum, with the first switch time at the one-hour mark. But at one hour, the gum still tasted good, and I was on a roll at 2:49 marathon pace, so I just kept chewing and joggling.

The cheering sections were insanely loud. I wasted precious energy laughing through the noise. I stopped a couple of times for Gatorade to prevent a glycogen crash in the later stages of the race.

The halfway point went by in a drop-free 1:24.

At 25.5K, I finally had my first drop. I don't know what happened. I just reached for the ball and it wasn't there. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to go back to the start of the race if you drop; you just start again from behind where the ball fell.

The next 10K started to get very tough, but I had saved enough energy to push through it and stay focused. With about 5K to go, I hit that point in the marathon where your body tells your brain that it would be really nice to stop for a while. Before the start of the race, Dianne told me, "Michal, don't stop. Whatever happens, no matter how much it hurts, don't stop."

These words echoed in my head in those final few kilometres. I repeated them over and over. Don't stop, don't stop, don't stop. I would not stop. I could feel myself slowing down, but I did not want a repeat of Salt Lake. Don't stop, don't stop, don't stop.

At 40K, I wanted to spit the gum out because it had finally lost most of its flavour, but I couldn't do it. That gum was coming along with me to the finish line, I decided. It was going to be part of the record.

On the last 400m straightaway, I didn't know if I was under the record time or not. My friend George came running alongside me and gave me the good news: I was going to do it. Relief. Elation.

In the final sprint to the end I saw the clock at 2:49:51 and in a mad dash to crack 2:50, I dropped for the second time. After a quick regrouping, I joggled in at 2:50:12, a new Guinness World Record. I was literally leaping for joy as I crossed the line.

NDP Leader Jack Layton presented me with an arrangement of flowers, which I gave to Dianne for supporting her insane husband in his kooky endeavours ... and especially for telling me not to stop.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Weekend joggling coverage


For those of you in Canada, the main CBC-TV network is airing coverage of the Toronto Waterfront Marathon from 4-6 p.m. And if you're outside of Canada, you can watch it online at http://www.cbcsports.ca/. Let's see if they include a little joggling coverage in there.

'CBC News: Sunday' is also going to do a brief update on the record.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

My 'Hour' of fame, and a CBC slideshow update

This is me after the final turn, 500 m from the end. I was staring so intently at the finish line, you can almost see fire bursting out of my eyes. At this point I still had no idea whether I would break the record, but seconds later my friend George Hubbard from Longboat Roadrunners joined me, yelling to the crowd: "He's got the world record!!!" Those were the sweetest words a joggling marathoner could ever hear. Thanks, George. (Photo by A Whole Lot of Soles.)

On Tuesday, George Stroumboulopoulos did a bit on The Hour about my record, and even put up a photo of me jogglng the Boston Marathon. George said if I could joggle the marathon with chainsaws next year, I'd get a spot on the show. I sent him an e-mail telling him that Evan Solomon joggled on national TV, and that if he has the balls to do it, I'd teach him. No response yet.

Also on the CBC, Peter Hadzipetros updated his joggler slideshow to include the new record. CBC.ca even put it back on their main page yesterday.

So what's next? A little rest, then I'm running the Detroit Marathon as a pacer for the U.S. women's Olympics Trials qualification time of 2:47 on October 21. I'll be running this one sans Sportballs.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Exclusive: World record joggling video



This is me at 37K. It looks like I'm crawling, but I was actually still running close to 4 mins./km. (Video by Wayne Cheung)

Somebody updated Wikipedia's joggling entry already.

Monday, October 1, 2007

After the record: aching legs, tired arms, sore ... jaw?

I think I've turned NDP Leader Jack Layton into a big joggling fan (photo courtesy of STWM).

A brief rundown of the race:

Chip time (which will be used for the Guinness World Record): 2:50:09.

Gun time: 2:50:12.

Number of drops: 2 (one at 25.5K, one just before the finish line as I tried to sprint in for sub-2:50 - doh!).

Gum chewing: Yes, I did succeed in chewing gum throughout the entire race! I began chewing three sticks of Extra Bubblemint about two minutes from the start and had planned to rotate through a whole pack, but ended up chewing the same three pieces for two hours and 50 minutes.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Reebok's Joggler display

Here I am in the Reebok Joggler display at the marathon expo. They had stacks of juggling balls and a sign with juggling instructions – it was a big hit.

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.

The last day

Exactly one day from now, I'll either be celebrating a new world record or drowning my sorrows in a stiff cup of Gatorade.

My nerves are wracking.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Gum-chewing, joggling day nears

I just found out that this Sunday is officially World Gum-Chewing Day. Is that perfect or what? I don't think there's a World Joggling Day, but I'm going to declare September 30, World Gum-Chewing While Joggling Day.

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

Joggler slideshow on CBC.ca


Peter Hadzipetros, who writes an excellent running and fitness blog called 'Back of the Pack,' put together a joggling slideshow that appeared on the main page of cbc.ca/news today. It's just over four minutes long. To view it, click HERE.

CBC.ca also just launched their marathon page HERE.

Last night I did a final test joggle at marathon goal pace of 4:00/km. Everything appears to be in working order. I did pull some muscles in my hand a couple of days ago while trying to open a stubborn wine bottle cap (Coyote's Run Pinot Noir 2004, Niagara - delicious!), but that seems to have healed.

Tomorrow, I have a crazy day of appearances and interviews.
The Reebok booth at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon expo will reportedly have a giant picture of me, which is exciting and kind of scary. I'll be doing some joggling demonstrations at the booth at 11 am and 5:30 pm.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Joggler famous for an hour

Yesterday I got a taste of what it's like to be famous.

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

Niagara Velomobile Happening


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

The Reebok 'Joggler' ad

Setting the world record for joggling a marathon is not easy, but I do think joggling fits in well with Reebok's Run Easy campaign. My joggling training is mostly at an easy pace and I'm always having fun doing it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Running Room talk



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

Velomobile gets pulled over

So there I was, happily cruising through downtown Toronto in the new Mango velomobile, when what do I see in the mirror but the flashing lights of a police car.

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

Emissions-free driving

Here I am getting ready to drive to work in Toronto's first Mango velomobile. Perfect cross-training for joggling.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mango madness!

Dianne and I are now the proud owners of a Mango velomobile. Specifically, Mango #106. That's right, the 106th Mango ever made by Go-Mango in collaboration with Velomobiel.nl in the Netherlands. The purchase was arranged through Canada's only velomobile dealer, Ray Mickevicius of Bluevelo.

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

Joggling for dummies


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:

  1. I'm going to assume that you already know how to run ... or jog.
  2. Now get yourself some nice juggling beanbags. I use Sportballs, Perry uses Gballz and Zach I think uses Higgins Brothers.
  3. Learn how to juggling the three-ball cascade. Click HERE for a great tutorial.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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).
  13. That's it. Congratulations, you're a joggler.

Monday, September 10, 2007

How much does juggling slow you down?


Adeel asked a good question relating to my 10K forgot-my-balls mishap: Exactly how much does juggling slow me down?

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

Note to self: bring beanbags nex time


If you're trying to set a world record for joggling, don't forget your balls.

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

Join the f–ing circus? I wish!

As I was joggling home from work today, a guy yelled out the window of his car at me: "You should join the f–ing circus!" The tone was one of distain, but his words were funny to me on several levels.

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

Cirque du Soleil's Kooza: a short review

Kooza was a magical mix of everything that can be good about a circus.

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.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Kooza craziness

A full review will follow shortly, but for now let me just say that the Kooza Cirque du Soleil show did not disappoint. And neither did Anthony Gatto.

Friday, August 31, 2007

New world record bid: the gum-chewing joggling marathon

SPECIAL BULLETIN:

I have officially decided to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on September 30 while juggling three beanbags ... and while chewing gum every step of the way.

What remains to be seen is whether or not I will have an official gum sponsor for this gum-chewing joggling marathon.

I've experimented with various chewing techniques and tested out several different types of gum and have determined that not only is it possible, but that I actually enjoy chewing gum while I run. It helps calm my nerves, it keeps my mouth from drying up, it tastes good and the thought of doing this makes me laugh. And I like to laugh.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Joggler would never do this


I may occasionally trip over the odd parking barricade or bump my head on a low-hanging tree branch, but I have yet to joggle into a lamppost.

My friend Matt once walked into a hydro pole in Ottawa. This was particularly funny because just before he collided face-first with the post, he was trash-talking a group of guys playing a video game on their front lawn on Canada Day.

Wearing a giant backpack filled with 36 bottles of beer and carrying a huge Canadian flag over his shoulder, Matt turned to the guys playing the game and said: "I'm going to come over there and kick your a** at that game," at which point he plastered his jaw directly into the centre of the post. After unglueing his cheek from the metal, he turned back the video-gamers and said: "But not just yet!"

Monday, August 27, 2007

A busy day in the life of a joggler


This is a long clip of Kenenisa Bekele's 10,000m world record, but it's worth skipping to the end to watch his final lap. How is it possible to run that fast in the final 400m of a 10K?

Bekele just won the 10,000m in Osaka, his third World Championships win in a row.

On Sunday, I had a killer training day. After 2.5 hours of sleep, I dragged myself out of bed at 6 am for my long run. I left the juggling beanbags at home because I was planning to run with my friend Mohammed and didn't want the joggling to get in the way of converstion.

After an espresso and a 5-mile warmup, I met Mohammed at the park and we covered about 10 miles together. I then hooked up with the Shirtless Gang, a bunch of very fast (and shirtless) masters runners who do a regular Sunday 10-miler at a very good pace.

By the time I arrived home I had covered just under 26 miles in under three hours. My run was longer than my sleep. But there was no rest for the weary joggler, because I only had time for a quick shower and snack before I had to head out to the Toronto Buskerfest.

Teaching kids how to juggle at the Buskerfest was so much fun that I forgot how tired I was. If I can keep up with the high-quality training even if my weekly mileage isn't what I had hoped, the record may be still be within reach.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Smoggling?

In a few minutes, I'll be joggling home from work through the smog-filled streets of downtown Toronto in searing heat and drenching humidity.

But this is nothing compared to what the Olympic marathoners will likely face next year in Beijing. After reading this article in Runner's World Online, I'm glad I never managed to qualify for the Beijing Games.

If you're in Toronto, come down to the St. Lawrence Market this weekend and check out the Buskerfest. I'll be at the Scotiabank kids' tent Saturday and Sunday from 11 am - noon, teaching kids how to juggle and generally making a fool out of myself.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cottage country update

Here a quick update from the cottage holiday:

  • One great long joggle completes: 22 miles. When I got home, Lauryn (my two-year-old) asked me: "Did you have any drops?" I did have many drops, but I was doing a lot of tricks and looking around at the beautiful Precambrian Shield rock formations, so I had an excuse.
  • One great hard interval run through rolling hills. The run was about 10 miles and I did 6 x 1 mile at GB (gut-busting) pace.
  • One great day of marathon juggling. I had a nice patch of grass, three clubs, seven beanbags and several hours to burn. My back was killing me the next day, but it was the best juggling session ever. I pulled off a run of 14 catches with seven balls; I started to solidify my 3-up, three-ball pirouettes and the five-ball synronous and asynchronous half showers. It's so nice to juggle without a ceiling.
  • Enough butter tarts, pie and beer to get me through the next four or five marathons.
  • The whole family's really looking forward to seeing 'Kooza' next weekend. Anthony Gatto's routines don't look that hard by his standards, but it'll be such an experience just to see him in action.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A little busking and a lot of running


Next week, I'm working at the Toronto Buskerfest teaching kids how to juggle. I did it last year too and it was crazy, but a lot of fun. Some of the buskers were incredible, especially the break dancers from the Bronx, but there were no really good jugglers. I wish someone like Wes Peden (see video above) would come up here for the Buskerfest.

On the running front, yesterday I pulled off a double – six miles in the morning and 10 miles in the evening. The 10-miler included a seven-mile tempo. My training has been hit-and-miss, but yesterday was a big hit.

I'll be away until next Friday with no web access, so there will be no bloggling until then.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How to Run With a Backpack

Perry was asking for advice the other day on how to run with a backpack, so I thought I'd make a bloggle out of his question.

Running with a backpack is one of the few topics on which I consider myself an absolute expert (others include joggling, pasta-making and pasta consumption). Back when I was running twice a day, I did 90 percent of those miles toting a backpack. And over the last few years, most of my running mileage has been joggling with a backpack.

How do you run with a backpack without it being a miserable, uncomfortable experience? Just follow these easy steps:

1) Pick a backpack that is lightweight and has narrow, soft shoulder straps. The fewer compartments, straps, flaps and buckles the better. I use a Reebok pack similar to the one pictured above.

2) Do everything possible to minimize the load of the pack. If you're running home from work, as I often do, this may require leaving shoes at work, or wearing lightweight work clothes (seriously, I avoid wearing heavy pants and belts).

3) Tighten the shoulder straps enough so the pack sits snugly on your back, but not so tight that it feels restrictive for arm movement (especially if you're going to be joggling).

4) Now you're ready to run. You'll notice as you start to run that the pack will swing in the opposite direction to your stride. The best way to minimize this annoying – and potentially chafing – swinging movement is to run forward without any side-to-side bobbing of your torso. For this reason, backpack running is a great way to work on your running form. Basically, the more efficient your stride, the more comfortable the backpack will feel.

5) Once you get into a good groove, make any final adjustments to the backpack straps. Sometimes you may need to adjust the contents of the pack too. Put the books or lumpy stuff away from the part that's against your spine. And put the heavy stuff at the bottom.

6) Some people like waist and chest straps, but I can't stand them. I just use two shoulder straps, leaving my lungs free to expand without hindrance.

7) If you're running while juggling with a backpack (er, not juggling the backpack), this teaches you to be ultra-efficient. Joggling has a tendency to force your running form into an exaggerated lateral torso tilt as you toss each beanbag. I think backpack joggling has made me a much better joggler, juggler and runner.

8) Another advantage to backpack running is that you can store supplies on you, such as money for snacks, water, joggling balls (you can joggle for a few miles, then put the beanbags away if you feel like just running) or clothing. In the winter, I often start off wearing running tights and a jacket, then strip down layer-by-layer to just shorts and a singlet as I warm up. Each time I take off a piece of clothing, I can just stuff it into the backpack. People looks at me like I'm completely nuts, running while juggling through a snowstorm and wearing only shorts and a singlet. And yeah, I am nuts, but at least I'm a comfortable nutcase.

9) If something's uncomfortable, fix it; don't just put up with the discomfort or give up. We runners, jugglers and jogglers are a lot of things, but we're not quitters.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hill training and hill joggling

This week I'll be heading out to do some hill training with one of my personal training clients who is gearing up for her first half-marathon.

I'm a firm believer in using hill workouts to gain strength, speed and mental toughness. A good set of hill repeats can make you feel invincible.

There are many different combinations of hill workouts, but here's a typical one:

1) Find a fairly steep hill that's about a 10-minute warm-up jog from the starting point of your run. If you can track down a scenic hill with a couple of bends, all the better.

2) The hill should be at least 300m long, preferably 400m.

3) After your warm-up, start your stopwatch and begin the first hill repeat.

4) It's easy to burn out, so take 20 strides or so to get into the rhythm of the climb.

5) Take shorter steps, pump your arms and lean slightly forward.

6) Match your breathing rhythm to your strides and concentrate to keeping the effort even.

7) Near the top of the hill, as you begin to tire, focus on maintaining your form and think of your lungs as your engine and your legs as wheels. This should help ease the pain (a little).

8) Push yourself over the crest of the hill and stop your stopwatch at a specific sign post or marker, so you can duplicate it.

9) Jog very slowly back down to the start point.

10) Do 3-10 repeats.

11) Sometimes to mix things up I'll do five hill repeats, then five short intervals on a flat stretch of road, then one final hill repeat.

12) This workout can, and has been, done while joggling. In fact, I've done this while extra heavy juggling balls to simulate with the arms the extra power output done the legs going up the hill. And that, my friends, is a monster workout.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A short long run

I had to cut my long joggle short today because of a family brunch, but it was still a good quality run so I'm not too worried. Next Sunday, I'll be up in cottage country for a nice 24-miler.

Dianne and I have been busy putting together a portfolio for an exciting potential joggling sponsorship. If this deal goes through, I will bloggle about it pronto.

In the meantime, I'm off to practise my juggling for the Toronto Buskerfest..

Friday, August 10, 2007

To joggle or to velo?

Today I faced the tough choice of whether to drive the velomobile to work or to take the subway so I can joggle home. I chose the subway. I only have the Versatile velomobile on loan for another day or two, so it was painful to leave it idle, but that's how committed I am to this training program. Setting Guinness World Records requires sacrifice.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Visualization training

My run home from work today was a mental battle. It was hot, sunny and so humid it felt like running through honey. My eczema was driving me up the wall again and the itch progressed to stinging pain all over my arms, legs and torso.

Last night, I had almost no sleep because of the skin condition. So propelling myself to run uphill with a backpack after a long day at work took some creative motivational techniques.

When I'm feeling sluggish, I like to use visualization techniques to get me through the rough patches. They really work. Here's how to do it:

1) Think of a big race that makes you feel inspired. For me today, this was the Athens Olympic marathon, won by Stefano Baldini of Italy.

2) Imagine yourself as a lead, elite running machine, even if you actually feel like a tub-a-lub slug.

3) Now pick a point partway through your race of choice and picture yourself running alongside the front-runners.

4) Sound out the play-by-play TV announcer in your head. "...and Michal Kapral of Canada has joined Keflezghi at the front. Kapral is on pace for a personal best, even if this searing Greek heat!"

5) Go through the rest of the race and visualize yourself pulling away from the leader at the end. "Kapral's gong to take the gold! Check out the look of determination on that Canuck's face!"

6) You win the gold medal. You feel great. And you got through a tough training run.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The itchy and scratchy (joggling) show

Running with bad eczema in high humidity is like having a severe case of chicken pox combined with poison ivy sprinkled with chili powder. I must've stopped to scratch about 20 times today during my 22-mile long joggle. On the bright side, my muscles and cardiovascular system were in fine form during the whole run. The next few weeks will be key in my "ultimate 10-week marathon trianing program."

To prepare for a potential future five-ball joggling marathon, I have been working on joggling in a five-ball pattern with three balls (55500 in siteswap notation, a.k.a. consecutive three-ball flashes). Five-ball joggling requires not only perfect toss height, but also an accurate forward pitch to match the forward motion of running, much more so than the low tosses of three-ball joggling. Over the course of my long run this morning, my three-ups became dramatically more accurate. This week, I think I'll go for another five-ball joggle. It's great fun, and it makes the three-ball joggling seem so much easier.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

"Juggling Show"

I took the day off from running and instead did some cross-training at home. The kids and I often do a thing called "Juggling Show," which involves me juggling and jumping around to music while the kids dress up as ballerinas and jump around and sometimes try to juggle. This was followed by an intense strength-training workout, including push-ups with a four-year-old girl sitting on my back.

I read an article recently about Anthony Gatto's practise methods. According to this write-up, Gatto practises 1-2 hours a day and during that time only spends about a minute working on any particular trick. He switches around continually between different props and numbers. This avoids the frustration of trying and failing one thing over and over, and that one minute per day per trick eventually leads you to mastery of many, many tricks. I've been following this training method and it does seem to work.

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon just announced that CBC Country Canada and cbcsports.ca will broadcast the race LIVE on Sept. 30, so if they happen to film me, it would likely be the first-ever live TV coverage of a joggling marathon.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Joggling trivia

This story is too funny to pass up. Fellow bloggler Perry Romanowski was recently playing the "Totally 80s" edition of Trivial Pursuit (a Canadian-originated game, I might add) with some friends. His team landed on the Sports & Leisure category and got this question:

"What sport emerged in the ’80s, requiring athletes to jog while they juggle?"

The answer, you may have guessed, was "Joggling."

Years ago, I was playing Trivial Pursuit with my family, and got a question that went something like this:

"What Toronto-based new media company displays news items in office tower elevators?"

The answer was the company I worked for: "ENN: Elevator News Network." (which has since changed its name to Captivate Network)

Monday, July 30, 2007

The missing long run

Last week I took a mini-vacation at a cottage in Port Elgin, Ontario. The running there is spectacular. You can run along the Lake Huron beach or on a beautiful trail bordered by wildflowers that occupies a now-defunct railroad track.

I went on a few very nice runs and also did a little 5-ball joggling while out on a run with my kids, my niece and nephew.

Juggling on the beach was treat as well – ceiling unlimited! – and built-in audience of sunbathers. The 3-ball juggling is getting to the point where I could put together a decent routine. I'm not Tim Kelly, but I can now string together some combinations of Mills Messes, Burke's Barrages, boxes, showers and 441s to make things look impressive to the non-juggler.

On Saturday, I set my alarm for an early-morning long run, but decided to sleep in. I might have to make up for this this week sometime.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Versatile velomobile review


This weekend, I had the pleasure of zipping around in a Versatile velomobile, courtesy of bluevelo.com. I drove this human-powered machine all over town and found it truly addictive.

On Saturday, I went for a long ride along the waterfront and then stopped by my sister and brother-in-law's place in the Annex. It was surprisingly easy to manoeuvre the trike through city traffic. I quickly became accustomed to the shifting and steering, but going uphill was slow and labour-intensive. It was a hot, sunny day and the compartment got stuffy when I stopped at a light, but the ventilation was fine when I was moving.

The ride itself was very smooth. The mesh seat was luxurious - like pedalling in a lounge chair. The steering mechanism consists of two hand levers on either side – a comfortable and fun way to make turns, reminiscent of those Green Machines we drove around as kids (only this trike costs about $13,000 more).

The grip shifter on this one was a bit stiff, but Ray from bluevelo tells me these actually loosen up over time. The Rohloff internal hub is brilliant. Not only are all the gears on one shifter, but you can change gears at a standstill, which is particularly useful for shifting down into an easier gear to get the velo moving again after getting cut off by moronic cab drivers in city traffic.

I took the Versatile out again on Sunday. This time I rode all the way up into the north end at Avenue Road and York Mills, where I was going out for a family dinner. I stupidly took the Bayview Extension, which is probably the longest, steepest hill in Toronto, and was sweating like a pig as I crawled up in the granny gear, moving at about 7 km/h. I was smart enough to bring a towel and a change of clothes for the restaurant.

The ride home was exhilarating. I hit somewhere in the neighbourhood of 70 km'h on the Bayview downhill ... and I was braking.

Today, I took the velo to work and the looks I got from people in downtown Toronto were priceless. I locked it up on King Street in the heart of downtown and people immediately swarmed around me as I was locking it up. I walked past it a couple of times during the day and got a kick out of watching the passersby ogling this strange and wonderful machine.

And now, sadly, I have to return it to bluevelo. I'll definitely miss the Versatile, and I'm more convinced than ever that this is the ultimate rolling billboard for the right advertiser.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Speeding in a velomobile



I have a Versatile velomobile on loan for the weekend. This entirely human-powered vehicle is criminally fun. Velomobiling is a lot like joggling: You get a great workout, you laugh at yourself and a lot of people stare at you and ask questions like: "What is that?"

The high-intensity, uphill cooldown

Here's the article from Explore magazine. Just click on the photo for a readable version. Hey, does that photo look familiar? What a great shot by John Chou, the Longboat Roadrunners photographer. It's one of the few joggling photos where one of the beanbags isn't "clowning" directly in front of my nose.

One of these days I might actually update my oft-neglected main site, http://www.thejoggler.ca/, with all these press clippings.

On the training front, I wasn't able to pry myself out of bed yesterday morning for my planned speed workout, but I did end up running home from work despite a time crunch to get back to see a personal training client. After a 2-mile warmup, I hammered a 3-mile tempo (uphill, with a backpack, but no juggling).

The last mile of my run home from work iincludes a very steep climb, so it ends up that my "cooldown" ineviteably involves strenuous uphill toiling. I could just add an extra mile after the hill, but that would make too much sense.