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.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tour de France dog crash

I guess his front wheel was not designed to withstand the impact of a yellow Labrador retriever.
This reminds me of the time I was joggling the Boston Marathon against Zach and was nearly tripped up by a little white dog that was running around on the course. It would have been a spectacular sight if I had fallen - juggling balls and fur balls flying everywhere.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Back on track

This morning's workout took me back to my old stomping grounds: the East York Collegiate 400m track. I spent endless hours pounding the blacktop here in the early 2000s with my old training partner, Charles Bedley (who recently ran a 2:23 marathon).

My joggling training has mostly involved speedwork on the roads, estimating distance and time. For this summer's training phase, I'm going to hit the track again once a week. Today's workout was 5 x 800m in 2:30 with a one-lap slow jog in between each. The track is very humbling, in that the distance is fixed, the clock is running and you'd better get moving to hit your time goal.

The great thing about the track is that you know what kind of shape you're in, and I'd say I'm actually in pretty decent shape at this stage in my training for the fall marathon.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

From 0 to 60 in ... one week

Some cars can go from 0 to 60 in four seconds. It took me a week.
But I'm talking about running a total of 60 miles rather than reaching 60 mph. My top joggling speed is about 14 mph. Some day I'll find out my 0 to 14 performance rating. Until then, I'm pleased with my first full week of quality marathon training, which I just wrapped up with an early-morning 19-miler (the family's still asleep).
A couple of night's ago, we watched the movie 'Wordplay,' a surprisingly gripping film about crossword puzzles. Benjamin from Chump Change Productions said he's making his documentary about record breakers based on a similar formula. 'Wordplay' has no voice-over narrative, the story is told in the words of the crossword maniacs themselves.
I haven't done a crossword in several years, but Dianne and I recently subscribed to the Sunday New York Times, so we're going to tackle Will Shortz's puzzle today. Let's see if we can do it in the time it takes me to joggle a marathon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Note to Merriam-Webster: Where's "joggling"?

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary has added nearly 100 new words to its 11th edition. Below is a partial list ... but where's "joggling"? They have "joggle" listed in their online dictionary, but it's only defined as "to shake slightly." It's time they joggled their definitions to include the greatest sport in the world.

1. agnolotti
2. Bollywood
3. chaebol
4. crunk
5. DVR
6. flex-cuff
7. ginormous
8. gray literature
9. hardscape
10. IED
11. microgreen
12. nocebo
13. perfect storm
14. RPG
15. smackdown
16. snowboardcross
17. speed dating
18. sudoku
19. telenovela
20. viewshed

How much joggling should a joggler joggle?

For the next joggling marathon world record bid, I've decided to mix things up a bit. In my preparation for Salt Lake City, I juggled for about 95% of my training runs.

For the Scotiabank Marathon, I'm going to start out doing most of my running without juggling, then gradually phase in more and more joggling, with the idea that this will boost my running speed base. If I'm a faster runner and my jjoggling technique is properly honed on race day, chances are that I'll post a faster joggling time.

Last night I went out for a fantastic speed session along the Toronto Beach boardwalk. It was an 8-mile run and I did four 1-mile intervals, plus a big sprint up a 400m hill near the end. Less than a week into my training, I'm already starting to feel fit.

Monday, July 9, 2007

A marathoner with balls

The Joggler is in Explore magazine. I haven't seen the article yet, but here's the promo from the website:

Explorata: Our top female kayaker makes a splash; mountain caribou in peril; the latest Canadian hero on Everest; a marathoner with balls; the Fly Gurlz turn 10; finding your real maximum heart rate; train with star coaches.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The ultimate 10-week marathon training program

I have a little more than 10 weeks before the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I'm coming off an injury, but since it wasn't a running-related overuse injury, I don't need to be tentative in my training. It's full speed ahead.

My mileage goals are as follows:

Week 10: 60 miles
Week 9: 65 miles
Week 8: 70 miles
Week 7: 70 miles
Week 6: 75 miles
Week 5: 80 miles
Week 4: 75 miles
Week 3: 50 miles
Week 2: 35 miles
Week 1: 10 miles, plus MARATHON

I'll be running six days per week, with two speed sessions and a long run that builds up to 27 miles of joggling.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Toggling into joggling mode

Training has begun. I joggled home from work yesterday. It was oppressively hot and humid, but I made it in good time. I got a few cheers along the way and heard one woman tell her friend that I'm trying to break a world record. Maybe she read my blog?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Just Your Average Joggler interview

Who knew the new iPhone was also a treadmill? (Thanks to Blog on a Toothpick for this.)

And back to joggling. Perry Romanowski is running a series of joggler interviews on his blog, "Just Your Average Joggler." A couple of days ago, yours truly was featured. And now, through the wonders of the Internet, here is a link to an interview that I did with another joggler that he posted on his joggling blog and that I am now linking to from my joggling blog:


Perry's blog is very informative, and I strongly urge all of you masses of joggling fans to check it out on a regular basis. It's updated almost every day. And talk about dedication to the sport: Perry has gone for a joggle every single day for the past 171 days!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Presenting Billy Gillen, another 5-ball joggler

You've already heard about the amazing 5-ball joggler, Barry Goldmeier. Now here's an article from the mid-80s from Juggle magazine about another 5-ball joggler named Billy Gillen (pictured above on a joggle in Brooklyn):

Joggler Takes One Step More

If joggling
three balls represents a physiological step above running without juggling, is
five ball joggling a step higher still? Billy Gillen of Brooklyn, New York,
certainly thinks so.

He also acknowledges that it's lonely there
at the top. Despite his attempts to convince others to join him, he's the only
person who regularly practices this particular physical regimen. It has required
a great deal of practice and patience in the year that he's been at it, and will
require a lot more to perfect it.

Unlike three ball joggling,
during which a runner's stride is basically unchanged, five ball joggling
demands short, shuffling steps to keep up with the quicker hand movement of five
ball juggling. More hazardous still, the five ball joggler must keep his or her
eyes trained upward at the pattern, instead of forward watching for the changing
terrain underfoot. Considering that Gillen does most of his five ball joggling
along the potholed and heavily trafficked streets of Brooklyn, the feat becomes

In recent time trials on a smooth track, however,
Gillen proved that five ball joggling is for real. His fastest of three
quarter-mile attempts was I :55.8, which included time spent picking up three
drops. He joggled 100 yards in :20.1 with no drops. Since that time, he claims
to have managed a phenomenal 6:15.52 mile with 12 drops.

Comparing the relative speeds of juggling five standing still and
joggling five on the run shows that joggling slows down the pattern slightly.
For 50 throws with five balls while standing still, Gillen averaged 12.4
seconds. Joggling, the time slowed to a 13.9 second average.

Gillen has proven he has the determina­tion and eccentricity
needed to overcome obstacles and push back the frontiers of joggling. In 1980 he
joggled a stick, ball and baby carriage wheel (club, ball and ring) 30 miles
from Oakland to Berkeley, California, while balancing a bean bag on his head. He
admits interrupting the jaunt at the 26 mile mark to see a Fellini film.

In 1982 he trained for six months to run four miles around the
track at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn joggling four five-pound
weights. It took 56 minutes to complete the feat, but a month for Gillen to
recuperate from the strain. It didn't make him famous, but "I gave myself a very
solid pat on the back!" Gillen said.

His fastest joggling occurred on the foot­wide elevated center
divider of the defunct West Side Highway in lower Manhattan. During a lightning
storm one summer's day, he joggled three balls along that narrow path for a mile
in 4:30. He thinks fear of electrocution had something to do with the fast time.

Gillen has been a runner since childhood, when he raced the bus a
mile through city streets to grade school. Wandering through Central Park one
day in 1976, Gillen was enchanted by the sight of a juggler. He learned of John
Grimaldi's lessons at Trinity Church near Wall Street, and learned to juggle the
next day. "I went home and juggled for 12 hours straight;" he said. "But I was
tossing the balls out in front of me and had to step forward to catch them. The
next day, I was joggling!"

For several years he joggled up to 10
miles a day with three and four balls, crossing the Brooklyn Bridge in his
Captain America suit and circling Washington Square before returning home. He
found out about the IJA convention joggling races and participated at the 1983
Purchase convention. He finished second in the five kilometer event with a time
of 20:07.6, but moreover was astounded to discover another dozen jogglers after
so many years of practicing alone.

A month later he began working on five ball juggling and carving
himself another lonely niche with practice of five ball joggling. Since that
time, he has rarely joggled three or four. Through last winter's slush and
snow, he joggled five around his usual long loop, stooping hundreds of times to
pick up his frequent drops. By March, though, he could go a city block without a
drop, and is now working on dropless quarter-miles. At next summer's Atlanta
convention, he plans to joggle five balls in the 100 meter and one mile events.

A former health food restaurant chef, Gillen now makes a living with
occasional work as a building renovator. He has also lately begun street
performing at neighborhood festivals in New York City. He credits joggling as
good training for his ability to tap dance, do a jig and break dance while
juggling five balls for an audience. He also includes club juggling, plate
spinning, magic tricks, balloon animal creation and story-telling in his street

"Joggling is a new athletic frontier, the same as running was several
years ago, " Gillen said. "I think it suits intellectual people who are studying
new age consciousness. These are people trying to integrate new challenges into
their practice of sport, to take it that little bit further... to do it with