29 December 2015

the 2015 round-up

as we prepare to flip the page on another calendar year i thought that it was time to share a few things from my 'best-of' list for 2015 - i hope that you enjoy!

favourite running moment
while my new marathon PB at the detroit marathon is a close runner-up, there's really nothing that holds a candle to having been able to run a race together with my wife and two of my daughters at the MEC Barrie Race Four 5k.  for too long i've had running as 'my activity' and it's definitely been something that i've wanted to not only encourage the rest of my family to take up as a means of exercise but i've also hoped that perhaps in some way it could become an opportunity for relationship building/bonding ... and 2015 afforded us that.  between having regular 'family run nights' and seeing each of these girls across the finish line i felt like running finally became more of an investment into my potential to be a better dad and husband.

most enjoyable running read
i'd have to give this to hal koerner's field guide to ultrarunning.  being still what i would call an 'aspiring ultrarunner' i found this book to be both insightful and entertainingly written.  well worth your time if you want to wrap your head around what it takes to succeed in the world of endurance running.

most exciting change in my running routine
by and large i am a creature of habit - though that may surprise a number of people who would say that they know me fairly well.  but i do crave variety and celebrate changes in my routine - and this year without a doubt the change that has been most engaging and encouraging to see has been the growth of the RunNinjas (the tribe formerly known as the Barrie Running Ninjas).

our little running community (i can say that i remember when it was pretty much just three of us going out on saturday mornings a few years ago) has now blossomed to a regular group of 30+ on saturdays, with another official workout night on wednesdays and unofficial group meet-ups happening throughout the remainder of the week.  of all ages, shapes, sizes, speeds, experience levels and aspirations, the RunNinjas are a dynamic collective focused on not just becoming better athletes but more activated human beings.  as our running sensei jim would say, "i love you freaks!".

most coveted piece of running gear
you might think that it was shoes, but it's not.

last christmas a good friend of mine (and fellow runner) gifted me with a nathan reflective safety vest.  it was mostly out of concern for the fact that i most often run in pre-dawn, low-light conditions and had nothing special by way of illumination or reflectivity that this vest came my way - and no word of a lie i wear it on 99% of my running workouts.  it's super-lightweight, completely unobtrusive and highly visible.  my only 'too bad it doesn't' observation would be that it would be great if it had even some meagre storage pockets - but it's far from a deal-breaker for me.  i love my vest, and it has likely saved my bacon more than a few times this year.

most satisfying ethical decision (related to running)
this one may confuse you - but i decided this year not to renew my affiliation/sponsorship with Team Running Free.

and it has nothing to do with Team RF itself ... this is one of those 'it's not you, it's me' break-ups.

i've loved my experience with Team RF.  their mandate, vision and mission are fantastic, and i wholeheartedly endorse them on those fronts.  their support team is top notch.  and the other team members?  what can i say - a finer group of runners, triathletes and adventure racers you'll be hard pressed to find.

so why step away?

it really has to do with the energy that i've focused on seeing the RunNinjas grow.  from the outset the homebase for this group has been MEC Barrie and truly without them there would be no group.  it's also been great to be involved with the annual Race Series hosted by MEC which has provided a grassroots-level point-of-access to running races in our region.  with all that in mind i felt like i couldn't very well (in good conscience) continue to pour the majority of my attention into MEC events and the RunNinjas while still carrying the Team Running Free banner.  it felt disingenuous on my part - and very much self-serving, as the benefit to me (in terms of promotional gear and discounts) would outweigh my tangible contribution to Team RF.  so it's not without a significant degree of sadness that i bid fare thee well to all of my friends and compatriots at Team RF ... i'm sure that i will see you all around in person and on social media, and will continue to proudly declare that i was once a member of this Team.

blog that i most look forward to reading
the blogosphere offers a fount of information - and many of the offerings that i value the most are authored by people that i actually know (i can't pump up 9run.ca enough!).  but i've got to say that out of all the online journals and teaching outlets that i've come across the one that has captured my attention more often than not has been jae gruenke's the balanced runner.  there's nothing quite like jae's post-marathon breakdown of the running form of elite athletes (e.g.after the 2015 NYC Marathon) ... it's just sooooo good.  and this top 10 list of running form cues is a must-read for anyone, regardless of experience level. 

seriously, go read it.  you won't regret it.

... and that's it for now!  i could go let this list drag on with other bits and pieces that would eventually bore you to tears (or make you wonder how many other 'best of' categories i can concoct) but better to leave you wanting more than wishing i'd quit while i was ahead. :)

thanks as always for joining me at The Rendezvoo Point, and here's wishing you all the best for an invigorating, healthy and memory-filled 2016!


  1. Getting the whole family involved in running is an amazing achievement, that's one of my dreams too! Great trail photo and year, Patrick, hope the next one will be just as good!

    1. thanks for reading anna! we also just got a new dog yesterday, and the staff at the Humane Society said that he could be a runner ... maybe a new training partner for me!

      happy new year to you and your family!

  2. Congrats on your big year Patrick. I am going to check out The Balanced Runner soon. Looking forward ot reading more of your running adventures in 2016. Cheers!

  3. Okay I am going to check out that blog right now! Happy New Year!