Friday, June 29, 2007

Zach vs. Michal, Round 3?

No, Zach will not be unicycling against me in our next showdown as this photo collage might suggest, but we may end up in another joggling match-up. Zach is off in Dubai and Qatar doing some laughter research (seriously), but when he gets back to Boston sometime in August, he's going to let me know if he's game for a joggle-off at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on September 30.

Neither of us thought we would do another joggling marathon, much less against each other in the same race, but this sport is just too addictive.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Juggling for cardio training

As I'm unable to run because of my shin injury, and have no working bicycle, my training plan has been reduced to strength training, walking and juggling.

I have found that if I spend a good hour juggling to music and doing tricks of various kinds, it can be quite a cardiovascular workout. Last night I was working on juggling three beanbags with one arm behind my back. After about 10 minutes of trying this on both side, I collapsed onto the couch, my heart racing like I had just run intervals at the track. Later on, working on 5-ball endurance and 5-ball half-showers, I found myself out of breath again.

So either I'm getting really out of shape, or juggling can be great cardio exercise.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My lucky break ... or should I say, no break?

After seven hours in a variety of waiting rooms at St. Michael's Hospital, it has been determined that my shin suffered "massive trauma" in my parkour mishap, but no fracture. So as soon as I can walk again without pain, I'll be ready to run.

I'd say the next world record attempt is a go.

When my name was called out by the triage nurse in the ER, I heard a voice behind me say: "That's the joggler! That guy runs marathons while juggling." I looked back to see a guy in the red shirt and glasses grinning away. Later on in the treatment area, we ran into each other again. It turns out that he was the editor who put together the CBC News: Sunday documentary. He had torn his Achilles tendon playing ball hockey. We had a good conversation about joggling, juggling, running, ball hockey, news editing and injuries.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Possible shin fracture, and a velomobile review

First, the bad news: I may be out 6-8 weeks with a fractured tibia (the shin bone) after my unfortunate run-in last week with a parking lot barricade. X-rays are pending. This will take me to the beginning of August before I can start training for the September 30 marathon. If my shin turns out just to be bruised, then I can start to run sooner. The record attempt in up in the air.

Now the good news: Dianne and I went out on our velomobile test drive yesterday morning with Ray from Bluevelo. I drove the Belgian-made WAW and Dianne pedalled the Versatile, produced in the Netherlands. I also had a chance to take the Versatile for a spin, but Dianne was too short to fit into the WAW.

The WAW has a very low profile. You're practically sitting on the ground. Its light weight allows for quick accelerations and the steering - levers at your side connected directly to the two wheels in the front - are extremely responsive. I got the WAW up to 50 km/h and even when I stopped pedalling it just kept cruising at 49 km/h until I put on the brakes. This machine is great for speed, but could be awkward for city commuting.

I tried out the Versatile along a very bumpy road and its double suspension performed admirably. It's quite a bit heavier than the WAW, but I still got it up to 47 km/h. It had fully enclosed chain, very easy handling, an internal hub that lets you shift gears even at a stop and fun things like turn signals and a horn.

Both of these machines rocked. It's hard to describe just how fun these things are to drive. And the sight of Dianne cruising along next to me in the Versatile had me grinning ear-to-ear.

Ray has a Mango (a lighter velo than the Versatile) coming in soon. It looks like this will be the vehicle of choice for us. It's too bad these "cars of the future" are in such limited production, because they have so many advantages, not the least of which being ... they're massively fun!

Friday, June 22, 2007

How not to start your marathon training plan

When you are about to start training to break a new Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon while juggling three objects, do not smash up you knee - as I did earlier this week - while trying to jump over a parking lot barricade.

This will result is a lot of pain, and many lost training miles (and even more lost training kilometres).

Once my knee heals, I'll be rearin' to go. I plan to do several weeks of pure running before I start on the full-time joggling. I want to make sure I'm in peak running shape this time around to give me that extra speed edge.

Here's some developing joggling news: I got an e-mail from my Jolly Juggler rival Zach Warren, who is currently doing some research in Dubai and Qatar. He is unable to run because of his schedule, but said he'd be up for another joggling re-match at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon this September if he's back in the U.S. We thought Salt Lake would be the end, but it's too hard to stop.

In another stunning joggling development, Barry Goldmeier pulled off yet another 5-ball joggling marathon in San Diego recently, finishing with a chip time of 5 hours and 40 minutes. If you think this is slow, try juggling five beanbags ... then imagine trying to run forward for 26.2 miles while you're maintaining that juggling pattern. Barry's been trying to convince me that joggling a 5-ball marathon may not be as difficult as I think. I'm not yet convinced.

This Sunday, my wife and I will be testing out two velomobiles with Ray from bluevelo: the WAW and the Versatile. I want to see if I can get the WAW up past 50 km/h. This will give us a feel for what these HPVs (human-powered vehicles) can do. If we decide to get one, it'll probably be the Mango, which is not available for testing right now, but is best suited for city driving and for shorter drivers (ie. Dianne, who is 5'1").

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Weird knee injury

Here's the start of the Toronto Father's Day Run for prostate cancer research. Look at the dork juggling!

Three days after my humiliating parkour hurdling injury, my shin is still massively swollen from knee to ankle. I also have a very strange knee injury that allows me to run without pain (although I haven't ventured out on an actual run) but I can't walk up or down stairs properly, and it hurts when I stand up or sit down. As long as I can run, I'm happy. I don't need to sit down.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Joggler's parkour career over before it started

Back in March I wrote this post about being a klutz when I'm not joggling or juggling.

I further proved this point yesterday after work in a painfully unsuccessful jump over a parking lot barrier. The casual shoes I was wearing were too loose. As I jumped up to hurdle the metal barricade my shoe flopped around a messed up my take-off and the next thing I knew my foot caught the edge of the metal and I crashed ignominiously to the ground.

I would have been embarrassed were it not for the excruciating pain in my left shin, which took the brunt of the impact. After hobbling to the subway the trying not to whimper out loud on my trip home, I went to a walk-in clinic to get the damage assessed.

There was a big gash in the shin about 8 cm long, but it wasn't deep enough to warrant stitches. It feels like I might have torn something in my knee, but it's too hard to tell with all the swelling around the surface wound.

So for now, I rest, and contemplate my future now that parkour has been scratched off my Things To Do Before I Die list.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Joggling the Father's Day 5K

I snoozed the alarm in my sleep and almost missed the Father's Day 5K. The whole family slept in and I was the only one to make it out to Toronto's Distillery District for the prostate cancer charity run.

The distillery is a perfect venue for a run like this. There's a tonne of space both outdoors and in, and the roads in the area are flat and almost traffic-free.

I used my Sport Juggling Co. racing beanbags and started out in the lead. But a drop at 1K took me back into 2nd place, where I stayed until the end. I finished comfortably in 18 minutes, so I still think a world-record, sub-16:55 is doable on the track.

It's good to be joggling again.

Ray from Bluevelo e-mailed me today to let me know that I'm booked for a velomobile test drive next Sunday. I'll be trying out the WAW and the Versatile. Can't wait!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Introducing the Magic Slimming Pill

When people find out that I joggle and chase world records, and that I work as a personal trainer with Fitness At Heart, they often ask what the secret is to losing weight.

Here it is, the Magic Slimming Pill:

1) First, you eat your Magic Slimming Pill (a Jelly Belly in the flavour of your choice will do).
2) Next, you do some type of cardiovascular exercise every day. and ideally some strength training twice a week.
3) Then you eat moderate portions of healthy food frequently, including vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains and lean protein. Avoid trans fats, too much fat overall, heavily processed carbs and other mass-manufactured crap that poses as food because it tastes good. Don't drink too much alcohol, unless you're at your best friend's wedding or your own wedding or have another good excuse to do so.

Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Our current North American society is not designed for this type of lifestyle. In order to take advantage of the Magic Slimming Pill, you need to go against the grain of society, which has been designed to keep us as static as possible by shuttling us around in motorized vehicles of one kind or another and inventing devices to keep us sedentary.

We also live in a world where processed food is the most convenient to obtain. When I walk through the supermarket or convenience store, I often wonder what percentage of the total food in the store is healthy. My rough estimate for a supermarket is maybe 10% or less and for a convenience store, maybe 1%.

The magic in the slimming pill is daring to be different. Be a maverick: get regular exercise and eat real food in moderate portions.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pondering a 10-mile joggle

I want to joggle the Canada Running Series race on July 15 in Toronto.

The question is: Do I joggle the 5K and try to break the 16:55 world record, or do I do the 10-miler and set a 10-mile personal best? Even if I break the 5K record, I probably won't get it certified because I'd need video footage and witnesses. It may be better to save that one for the track.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Strength training and WAW testing

I've requested a test drive of the WAW velomobile (photo above, courtesy of www, Ray Mickevicius at Bluevelo tells me things are busy (maybe some requests flooding in since the Globe and Mail article by Peter Cheney?), but he'll try to fit me in sometime this weekend.

After doing some research, I think the WAW may be the velomobile of choice for me. I want to go fast, be fully protected from the elements and have a good space on the side to get an advertising sponsor. Who would like to sponsor a velomobiling bloggling joggler?

Since this blog is ostensibly about joggling, I will say that I'm starting to feel good about my pre-training phase for the September marathon. I'm doing some high-quality core work and strength training, running speedwork and plyometrics and generally trying to eat well.

Now if only my allergies would go away...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Scattered thoughts on record-breaking

Since I'm not officially training for anything right now, I've been experimenting with a mixed-bag of running- and juggling-related activities.

Five-ball joggling: I'm getting better at this, but am still unable to imagine running an entire marathon while juggling five beanbags. After experimenting with various techniques, the best strategy so far is to keep the pattern fairly low and heavily angled forward. This way I can run really fast to get the most distance out of my limited ability to keep the five-ball cascade going. Plus, the forward tilt of the pattern allows me to look forward at the road ahead, rather than up at the sky.

Backwards running: My backwards running is getting better and better, but doesn't get any less embarrassing. World-record retro-marathon pace (sub 3 hours and 42 minutes) still feels quad-wrenchingly difficult, though. This one will take at least another year's worth of training.

Stroller-pushing: Now that the weather's good, I've been taking both kids out in the Twinner Baby Jogger quite a bit. It's a great workout going up the big hills. I have no plans to reclaim my stroller-pushing marathon record, despite some generous offers from people willing to loan me their babies.

Non-joggling: Most of my running lately has been non-joggling. I'm working on getting some good speed in my legs before I resume joggling training for my final attempt to win back the record at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in September.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Eccentric and fun modes of transportation

Earlier this week I mentioned that Bluevelo, a Toronto-based distributor of velomobiles (human-powered cars), was selling some incredible-looking machines for about $10,000 and up. Well, their site is now listing the Dutch-designed Alligt Alleweder kit (pictured above) for a bargain $3,495 for a limited time.

Since I've decided to bike to and from work rather than take the subway there and joggle home, I could almost justify this cost. My subway pass costs about $1,000 per year (kindly donated by my generous mom), so this vehicle would pay for itself in under four years. And think of the fun I'd have!

I've always had a fascination with the human-powered commute. When I was a kid, I ran ran, walked, skateboarded or biked everywhere. When I was training competitively for the marathon, I ran to and from work every day for a daily total of 16-20 miles, depending on my route. In my recent training for the Salt Lake City Marathon, I've been joggling home from work and doing tricks the whole way. I've become addicted to having fun and exercising on my commute. I could never, ever drive a car to work, and taking the subway both ways every day would be pretty miserable too. I need me-power.

So maybe I'll do my little part to save the planet, make a statement, turn some heads (I'm now used to that), stay fit and have fun and get myself a nice, shiny velomobile!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Up and running

The training has begun. As I prepare for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on September 30, it's time to start thinking about how to fit in all the running, juggling and joggling that I'll need to get into world-record shape.

Here's the plan:

1) Run mostly at 4:30 a.m. or 10:30 p.m. My summer running schedule will avoid the heat, the smog and the traffic.
2) Strength training, core work and plyometrics three times per week after work.
3) Juggling every night with the kids. I juggle, the kids dance around to music and get tired so they sleep well.
4) Saturday morning run at 5 a.m. down to the St. Lawrence farmers' market. Fill backpack with fruit and vegetables and run home.
4) Long joggle on Sunday at 5 a.m. Back in time for breakfast with the family.
5) Tuesday evening runs with the whole family (kids in the Twinner Baby Jogger).
6) Speed work on Wednesdays and Fridays.
7) Ride bike to and from work.
8) Do some of my running backwards to prepare for 2008.
9) Keep working on the 5-ball joggling.
10) Keep bloggling almost every day.
11) Visit almost every day.
12) Don't watch TV, except for finale of Top Chef.
13) And as Metallica once said: "Those people who tell you not to take chances / They are all missing on what life's about / You only live once so take hold of this chance / Don't end up like others / Same song and dance."

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Jogglers on Breitbart TV

Breitbart, the online news site often linked to by the wildly popular Drudge Report , posted a link to the CBC News: Sunday joggling video ... right here. I find this very cool because, as a news junkie, I visit both of these sites regularly.

Speaking of joggling news coverage, there will be an article about me in an upcoming issue of Explore magazine. The interview I did with the reporter was really funny so I'm looking forward to reading this one.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Cruising out of retirement

I'm going to give this thing one more shot. That's right, I'm joining the likes of Magic Johnson, Bjorn Borg and Muhammad Ali by coming out of retirement. Of course, all three of these sports heroes failed quite spectacularly in their comeback efforts.

Why will I be any different? Well, for one thing, I'm not Magic Johnson, Bjorn Borg or Muhammad Ali. I'm a joggler, which means the heights of my sports-stardom were about as lofty as the world champion of Tiddly Winks. I didn't rise high enough to fall. Secondly, my retirement lasted only 1.5 months, so I'm not too stale yet.

Yesterday, I told the good people at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon that I will be back in September to try and break Zach's 2:52:15 marathon joggling record. I don't plan to do any publicity this time around. I think the news media are getting a bit tired of joggling anyway - it's not a novelty anymore.

So here goes nothing...

Today, I got stuck on a hot, crowded subway and that convinced me that it's time I started riding my bike to work. This means I'll no longer be able to joggle home as part of my training, so I'll have to run late at night or very early in the morning.
The photo at the top of this post is the vehicle I'm drooling over right now. It's a pedal-powered velomobile available in Toronto through The catch is that these things cost about $10,000. The $20 I've made so far through joggling won't go very far to cover this cost, but who knows what joggling endorsements await me around the corner now that I'm back in the game.

Friday, June 1, 2007

In The Long Run

A couple of weeks ago at the Toronto Reebok Run Easy event, I met Lee Hewitt, a web editor at the Toronto Sun. Lee, who recently qualified for the Boston Marathon, writes a great running blog on - you guessed it - the Toronto Sun website.

The blog also has a great name: In The Long Run. I'm not sure if Lee intended this, but this is a line from the excellent Rush song, Marathon:

It's a test of ultimate will
The heartbreak climb uphill
Got to pick up the pace
If you want to stay in the race
More than blind ambition
More than simple greed
More than a finish line
Must feed this burning need
In the long run...

Lee published a nice photo of my custom Sport Juggling
. joggling beanbags in his latest entry, and will soon be running an interview
(I hope I didn't say anything stupid).