Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Saturday’s long run, or, why I’m better than all of you

The thing about doing a spring race is that you have to train during the winter. For many that’s a pleasant little jaunt in California surrounded by green and sun. We hate them.

 For the rest of us it’s running in the snow. Running in the snow is all about attitude – you expect the worst, you prepare for the worst,  and as you run you work on your justifications for shortening the training session. Timed runs are better than mileage runs as there is at least an end to the horror – 20 km can be pretty open ended in a storm. Happily Saturday was a timed run of 2 hours, out and back along the waterfront from our house.

I will take this moment to praise the city of Toronto for keeping the Martin Goodman trail maintained in the winter. The joy of a ploughed and salted trail just a couple km from our house can not be underestimated. I can’t wait to get into some of the city’s ravine trails and back to Hamilton for forest trails but for the next couple months as the snow piles up I’m thinking the waterfront will work just fine.

I started out with the required attitude. I got down to the lake, into the driving snow just as Fatboy Slim’s “Right here, right now” came on the shuffle. “Yeah”, I screamed (inside words, not outside – that was later)  “this is how PBs are made baby. Sub 14 hour Ironman come to me honey”. I turned into the wind, appreciating the plowed route, put a stupid smile on my face and headed out. For a bit. The snow was picking up as I came across the city workers at the end of the plowed portion. I stopped and thanked the perky guy running the plow noticing that I’d run out of pavement before my hour was up. But I’m a Canadian, an Ironman, a woman, so there’s nothing to do but suck it up.

It was only about a km to my turn around point and I figured the snow would just force good form on me as I’d have no choice but to keep my knees up. Besides k-os appeared on my playlist and if he could get out of Somalia and make a career here well then I think I could run through a little bit of snow. (NB, k-os isn’t K-Nan but I didn’t clue in at that time, I'm pretty freaking white after all.) Didn't really matter in the end as whoever I was listening to didn't last as long as the snow drifts did.

I did get to the bridge only to turn around and see my night in shining armour astride his plow. Yup, city employee boy had caught up to me and laid down some lovely pavement for my return trip. Off I went smiling and happy and very much premature.

I don't know why I expected that the plow could keep up with the snow - it clearly couldn't and I was back in the drifts. I considered cutting up away from the lake to a major street that would take me home faster. It wouldn't have plowed sidewalks but at  least the wind would be less nasty. But, it was a 2 hour run, damnit, and there was not going to be any cutting it short. It's only week 2 - there's plenty of time for that coming.

Alex and Mad-Dog Englishman Dave were doing an hour run and as I had left the house about an hour earlier I started to look for them at their turnaround point. Dave appeared, swearing, which is ok as he is English and they did invent profanity after all. He screamed something about L3 above the wind, I smiled and didn't make eye contact. Dave's off alcohol for the month and there's no telling what might happen. Alex, who most assuredly isn't off the alcohol, pulled up in a considerably less than L3 speed. Alex had 2 social occasions on school nights the past week and wasn't enjoying running on that. I pretended to do an interval with Dave but secretly just turned around and headed back with Alex. I'm not going to say it was anything but a tough slog through snow, the music kept playing, probably perky little happy songs. It finally ended at home with chocolate milk.

No pictures, we all know what white looks like.


  1. HEY most of the time it's rain and grey for us, we just got lucky this weekend! You are indeed hardcore for toughing it out in 2 hours of white slushy stuff.

  2. OMG luv this post! hilarious :) Way to suck it up and get out for that run! Apparently I'm not the only 'crazy' out there that day! Yay!

  3. Ha ha! I hear you!!

    I ran on Saturday as well but from my house (near Square One) and the snow on the sidewalks was so tiring! After a while, I crossed the road to find that the south side of the street sidewalks had been ploughed and salted!!

    I ran along in that snowfall like a stupidly smiling husky! Felt great when it was over!!

  4. Just came across your blog!
    You crack me up!!!
    I can't wait to follow your adventures!!!!!