Monthly Archives: February 2018

Off-season training using the TTC


It started with deciding to take public transportation instead of driving to work last fall.  First, I was just sprinting to the bus stop so I wouldn’t miss the bus and I did the usual walking up the escalator on the left instead of standing on the right in the subway [but did you know that TTC removed signs saying stand on the right in 2007 for safety reasons and that a study done on the London tube in 2015 suggested it may be more efficient use of the escalator if everybody stood on both sides?]

Since not everyone follows that (now) unwritten rule, I started walking up the stairs, which evolved into running, and then sprinting up the stairs. The good thing is that hardly anyone takes the stairs up so there’s minimal traffic.  Just because I can be a little competitive, I started pushing myself and now I can get to the top faster than people walking up the escalator. The amazing thing was realizing that this was helping me tackle the uphills in cross-country skiing.  Instead of doing that awkward Herringbone, I found I could just bound up the hills fast enough that I didn’t slide backwards.

If you take the subway during rush hour, you’ll be familiar with the no seats left, must stand thing, where you have to find a spot so you can grab a pole or lean against something so you don’t go flying (or sometimes it’s so jam-packed, you can do the sleep stand). The problem is that you can’t always find that spot and sometimes you still go flying even when you’re hanging on. It’s also hard to turn the pages of a book when the other hand is grabbing a pole.  So recently I started to try to balance myself on the subway without hanging on and I realized it was a lot like trying to stay upright when going downhill on skis, especially if you’re being rocked back and forth. It’s also kind of fun because it feels like you’re surfing or snowboarding on the subway train.

I thought I had stumbled onto something pretty brilliant but if you google “balancing on the subway”, the idea of getting a balance workout while standing on the subway has been written about here. And here. For the less adventurous, you can get a core workout sitting down.  And best strategies to stay upright on the subway has actually been discussed.  The next challenge for me is staying upright while walking towards the exit as the train pulls into the station while not hanging onto anything.  There are other positives – it’s more fun to ride the subway, I no longer have to pull out the smartphone to keep occupied, and I don’ t have to do that mad rush to grab a seat [by the way, it’s much worse on the Beijing subway where people don’t even pretend they’re rushing to grab a seat – they RUN and they push and shove even small children if needed].

So without a whole lot of snow or additional time needed, you can do a bit of off-season training while riding the TTC.





Alex Harvey just misses the podium

Fourth in the 50 km. So close!

in other news, Sebastien Toutant bags air gold and Canada’s 500th Olympic medal.

And if you’ve ever wondered why Quebecois seem to disproportonately make up the Canadian team (and medal), b2ten might be one reason. Also maybe poutine.


80% of New Year’s Resolutions have failed by this time of the year

Making lifestyle changes is notoriously difficult.

Here are some tips to stay in the 20% of resolutions that don’t fail.

See you on the trails (if it snows again this year..)



Owl Pellet Cookies Recipe

This recipe is from a nature club that my son used to attend on Saturdays at High Park.  (If you’re not familiar with it, check it out. They also offer workshops for adults).

This is so simple that my son can whip up a batch on his own.

  • Mix Dry Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups oats

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 Tbsp of cocoa

Tiny pinch of salt

  • Mix Wet ingredients

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup oil

1 egg

  • Add Wet to Dry Ingredients
  • Mix in

1 apple (chopped to look like little rodent bones)

1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

  • Roll into pellet shape and bake on an oiled pan at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.