I would run 500 days?

I came home from my run this morning and I was looking over my stats when I realized this was my 500th day straight of running. When I started in 2015 I figured I would do my best that year, miss a few days, and move on to something new after the year was over. That did not happen, if anything I am more dedicated to this now than I was at the start.

I’ve run on two continents, four countries, and I don’t know how many cities (at least a dozen) over the last 17 months. I’ve run in -30C, blizzards, torrential downpours, +40C, and everything in between. I’ve run while sick (not badly – head cold), though interestingly I haven’t been super sick since I started this. I’ve run exhausted, and I’ve run hung over – it is all part of the journey. I’ve crushed my PBs for 5, 10, and 21.1K. I’ve run 8 races, with 8 more already lined up until Jan 2017.

This has been both a physical and emotional journey for me. I’ve had help and support along the way. My wife has been encouraging (and puts up with the gross that is running gear), I found a physio who is part mentor, part coach, and most of all a down to earth physiotherapist. I’ve learned a lot about myself, I’ve pushed limits that I didn’t think I would ever get close to. Yet I am still loving it.

There is still more to learn, more to do, and more to enjoy. I don’t think of my running as a chore any more. I can tell when i am running too much, or too little. I can tell when my body needs a break, and I listen. Even though I still run, I reduce the distance and speed to let me body catch up.

I have also made new friends, and joined some running groups. These have been important in showing me there can be a good community found in runners. If you’re in Toronto you really should check out RunToBeer (http://www.runtobeer.ca/) they are a motley crew that enjoys running and beer.

I’ve also learned to not babble on about my running, I know many people don’t care. I will still chat your ear off if you ask, but when asked about my hobbies I usually start with “I’m a runner”, and follow up with “I run a lot” if pressed. That is usually all people are interested in, it is my hobby, not theirs 🙂

My running is for me, it has helped me grow as a person, and I hope I can continue doing it for years to come. I know I am not the first person to go on a run streak (there are people who have been doing it for 30 years), but it doesn’t make this any less of an accomplishment for me – it is my first time.

“You don’t know what you can do until you try. Quit talking and start doing it.” – Walt E. Disney

“I’m going to Disney World!”

So this happened a couple weeks ago ….

Disney 2017 Entry

I signed up for the Half Marathon – none of the crazy races. Now I am on a mission to figure out where to stay and how to get there – but I definitely have my entry into the race. Me and over 26000 other people.

Not really sure what i have gotten myself into, but i am excited because Disney and running.

Running Goals – Revisted

Yup, it had to be done. I ran my second real 5K race of the year this morning and I clocked in at 00:22:05 which, if you recall, is 5 seconds short of my goal for the year. Amazing for me, I shaved 51 seconds of my last PB from January. Terrible for motivation for the rest of the year.

New Goal sub-20 5K by the end of the year. I still don’t think this is realistic, my body disagrees every time I second guess it though 🙂

I am leaving my half-marathon goal time a 1:45:00, a short 5K race is not an indicator that I will improve my 1/2 time. Running silly fast for 5K is more will power than anything at this point.

A related update, my trying plans have changed a bit as well. I have lowered my distance for my ‘rest days’ and at the advice of my ‘coach’ (aka my awesome physio/mentor) I am going to peak at 15K as my average run for most of the summer with a couple 19 or 20K runs thrown in to prove to myself that I can at least finish the distance still. My previous training plan had me hitting and surpassing 21K a couple times before my race – this would put me at risk for injury for no real gain.

On to my second run of the day, as if getting a PB wasn’t enough? This is a fun run with the RunTOBeer Crew, there is promise of Beau’s at the end and it is always a good time.

A new goal for the year

I finally got up the gumption to rent myself a cello, and get myself some lessons. I am quite excited. I have scheduled time to practice most days of the week. though I want to make sure I don’t over do it.

This wasn’t on my goals for the year, but I think that is ok. I have toying with the idea of learning the cello for many, many years.

Things I didn’t expect when I started learning cello 2 days ago:

  1. I would be sore, so many muscle I never use
  2. Tuning is hard, but there is an app for that
  3. That an hour of practice would pass so quickly.
  4. I am not tone deaf 🙂

I definitely need to do some finger strengthening and I really want my calluses to develop faster they are tender … I am sure you will hear about this more as the year goes on, dear reader.

Goal setting is hard.

Why does setting running goals feel like throwing darts?

I set a goal to run a sub 00:24:00 5K by June, which I thought was reasonable, ambitious even – I had gone through what I thought was a lot of beginners gains in the last year, I thought they were due to end. Apparently not.

I ran my first 5K of the year (the MEC races are great, if you haven’t tried one yet), I finished with a chip time of 00:22:56.8 (gun: 00:23:00.8) which smashed my last PB of 00:24:10.

I have another 5k Race in March on a different course, I’ll regroup then to see if I need to set new goals.

Running Goals – 2016

After running for 365 days I find myself at a loss for what to do for 2016. I plan to keep running every day, I set up an intense training plan but I have no concrete outcomes in mind – had that is

The other night I was chatting with a friend who wanted to get into running this year. She asked what my goals were for the year, as I typed my response they magically appeared. It is funny how easily they came when I had express them to someone else. Below you will find the ones I told her with some clarifications and improvements.

1 – Continue to run every day
2 – Run 1600KM by December 31st (I ran 1000KM in 2015)
3 – Run the half marathon I didn’t run in 2014 (Valley Harvest, if you want to join me :))
4 – Run a sub 01:45:00 half marathon in the fall (Oct 9th to be exact)
5 – Run a sub 00:24:00 5K in the spring (Mar – June)
6 – Run a sub 00:22:00 5K in the fall (Sept – Dec)

I think these are fairly ambitious while attainable. I will be running around 34KM/week to make sure I am ready for this with a ramp up to45KM/week for the 16 weeks before the half-marathon.


2016 Baking Challenge

For fun this year, in addition to continuing to run every day, I am going to bake my way through The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It was nice having something to focus my attention on over the course of the year. A bonus? I learned a lot.

I already use this book regularly for some things (cinnamon buns & pizza dough), and I have baked a random assortment of things out of it, but I also have avoided some of the recipes out of fear. Not this year; I will only be skipping recipes I have regularly made since I know I can do them with ease.

There are ~30 recipes in the book, so my aim is to bake something every other weekend, once I take out the ones I am allowed skip.

As I write this I have the first recipe, Anadama bread, on its second rise – it looks delicious – I’ll write more about that soon.

Running Challenge – Achieved!

Yup, I made it through the year! I didn’t have to take a day off even. I did need to take some walking days instead of runs but those met the rules 🙂 365 days (and counting) of running.

Some major milestones:
1. I ran over 1000KM.
2. I ran 5 races.
3. I got a PB on my 5K twice, the last one was 00:24:10
4. I got a PB on my half marathon (2:05:28). This is ~10 minutes faster than
5. I ended up running ~30KM/week by the end of 2015
6. Other fun stats at SmashRun

I have learned a lot about myself this year, there were highs and lows. I meant to write about them, but I always found posts getting too long and that was intimidating.

The summary of the highs and lows: a lot of my stuff is mental 🙂 In order to make it through the year I needed a mentor and to get over myself – I played too many mind games with myself over the years that kept adding up. That hump has been overcome.

On to 2016. I will continue running every day – it has becoming a calming part in my life.


Sweet & Sour Cherry Bourbon Preserves

Last year we ended up with a lot more fruit than we originally planned to process (by many, many pounds.) We were a little hesitant about big batches of preserves, as we were still working through the epic amount of mediocre strawberry jam we made in 2009, our first year of canning. To use up all this unplanned bounty, we ended up making jams & preserves in small batches. The experiment worked out well, we have been enjoying many of the things we made last year (lamenting we didn’t make more in some cases.) As a result, we have decided to make more small batch preserves out of our fruit this year.

This week, to start the canning season, we came into a large haul of sweet & sour cherries through a Not Far From the Tree pick. The problem is, we don’t regularly make cherry based preserves. Usually we purchase 5L pails of sour cherries and freeze them for pies and tarts. We have also canned whole sour cherries. Given the quantity available, we wanted to come up with several ways to use them.

In times of canning uncertainty we first check for a recipe from Marisa at Food in Jars that comes close to what we want and build from there. We settled on her Sour Cherry Jam that looked great and was simple enough we could modify it to suit what we wanted 🙂 These modifications included the last minute exclusion of pectin and inclusion of Bourbon.

The results were a delicious preserve. We liked it so much we went out and got more cherries from a local grower this week and made another batch!

Most of this recipe (directions and all) are from Food in Jars – we only tweaked minor things.


600g Sour cherries, pitted and mashed
600g Sweet cherries, pitted and mashed
325g white sugar
1/4 cup Bourbon, anything will do, we used Woodford Reserve.


  1. Put three half-pint jars or six quarter-pints (or some combination thereof) in your canning pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Combine fruit and sugar in a heavy, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and let bubble for a good twenty minutes (our second batch was ~25minutes.) You want to cook it until it looks like boiling sugar – thick and viscous. Add the bourbon and boil for another five minutes.
  3. Kill the heat, fill your jars (leaving 1/2″ head space), wipe rims, apply the lids and rings and process in the hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars from water and let cool on the countertop. When the jars are cool (I typically wait until overnight), remove the rings and test the seal by picking the jar up by the lid. If it stays put, your jars are good to store indefinitely.

For the curious, was also made:

2015 Photo Challenge

To go with my 365 day running challenge, I am also taking a photo a day to go with it. I have picked a spot, every day for 364 days (I missed a day because I didn’t decide until today to do it :|) I’ll be posting them to Instagram, and when I remember, here.

I didn’t get the angle right for day 1, I didn’t realize I would need to be consistent!

day 1:

Day 2 – more realistic hour. It is so peaceful at 5:30am. Also, #snow. #seenonmyrun #early

A photo posted by Rory Craig-Barnes (@rorycraigbarnes) on

Day 2:

Day 3 – for whatever reason it went/felt much better today. Gray and gloomy, with a brisk wind #seenonmyrun

A photo posted by Rory Craig-Barnes (@rorycraigbarnes) on