Liv to run

Lots of random ranting, whining, and attempts at being humourous as I run, run, run in pursuit of higher mileage and better races.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A little pain, a little gain, a lot of lying around

If someone were instructed to give me a beating for every mile I've skipped in my half-marathon training plan, I'd be in for 15 and a half sound lashings. And that's just up until the point where I stopped counting. Good thing that threat of violence isn't my preferred method of motivation.

But what does motivate me? At the moment, not much. September 24th creeps ever closer, and I am a bum and a half. Or, should I say, I will be a bum in the half...

Was it a bad training plan? I'm pretty sure it was decent. Was I a bad girl? Oh, affirmative. I'm not quite sure why - although I've got a plethora of excuses: the humidity in the city. My busy work schedule. The rough terrain at the cottage. The fact that my cottage is on an island, and therefore I have to drive a boat to the mainland for every run, which makes it doubly hard to get le ass off le couch. The appeal of swimming in the lake and rowing on the lake as alternative forms of exercise - ones that don't carry the pressure of mileage and pace times, at least in my books.

Overall, it was not a productive vacation on the running front. But I did slog through a couple of toughies: a 9 miler one week and a 10 miler two weeks later. Finally, I feel as if I'm doing real long runs - I know it's all relative, but there you have it - I've crossed some sort of personal barrier and it feels good.

Not that the running always felt good. For my nine, I headed up an unfamiliar road, only to discover how literal that "up" really was. It was two steps forward, one step back on those slippery gravel slopes. By the end of the ordeal, I was cold and shaky, tight but unwilling to stretch, starving but the only food available at the time was cold french fries. Which are a totally repulsive food, and yet have never tasted as good as they did after that run - or felt so disgusting afterwards in my belly.

The ten was better - I learned to bring two gels with me and a whole lot more water, and to scootch back across the lake immediately afterwards for a good solid meal.(Ever drive a rickety outboard boat after a draining long run? You'd think the vibration is negligeable, but let me tell you, my knees sang me the saddest song in the world on that ride!) Oh, is ten miles ever long. And oh, it took me 1:55:32 to complete. That seems to me like an awfully long time to be running. Or perhaps shuffling would be the appropriate term. And the race is going to be longer, oh dear, a whole lot longer. But mercifully, much flatter. I'm counting on that, big time.

So it was sort of a running vacation. All in all, there were triumphs, yes, but heavily interspersed with guilty negligence. The running gods are not overly pleased with me. But I'm getting there, goddammit, slowly but surely - very slowly and almost surely - I'm getting there.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Honey, I'm home

.... Although, at present, I am drowning in a sea - nay, a veritable tsunami - of emails, and my brain is in too much of an electronic, over-stimulated fog to compose a decent blog entry. But let it be known to one and all that I am back! And now I'm going to spend the rest of the years of my precious youth catching up on everyone else's blogadventures...

A proper vacation update is coming, replete with pics and everything, but for now I leave you with the one tantalizing titbit that stands foremost in my mind: I did my first ever 10 mile run. That's right people, I've finally graduated to the statute double-digits - wonders will never cease :)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

To be continued....

My dearest bloggers, runners, and devotees :) I am heading off for my real summer vacation, to my delightful cottage in northern Ontario. My cottage is on a boreal island paradise, and so quaint that we make do without many of modern life's necessities, including but not limited to hydro - and therefore, the internet. So I am bidding you all a fond farewell for the time being. I will be thinking of you as I run many miles of dusty country roads and picturesque country trails, take "ice baths" in the lake, catch up on two neglected issues of Runner's World, and sleep for 12 hours a day :) Run strong, blog long, and I will have plenty to catch up on when I return to civilization August 26th.

Until then - happy running!

Friday, August 04, 2006


All I have to say is, some people's rain gods are hard core. I'm super thankful for the rain, and the run - oh it was gorgeous! but thunderstorming so hard it knocked out power all over the place for a whole day? Sheesh! Now I know what Angie meant when she said "be careful what you wish for"!

I'm not really complaining - after all, Toronto itself didn't lose power, just some rural areas around us. So I feel a little bad for them, but I feel better that I got in my run. Yes, I'm selfish :) But seriously, people, 5 miles on a cool(ish) afternoon with a light rain misting you gently? How can you beat that? Okay, so I still felt like a steamed dumpling by the time I was done... but it was nothing in comparison to this week's earlier failed attempt. I am one happy runner.

So thank you all for doing your rain dances. Obviously, it was bloggers that did it. I don't put much faith in the Weather Network.

You know, it's funny, today I was so appreciative of being able to exercise, and all week I've been so blue without it. Yet something happened today that really struck me, and made me realize just how incredibly easy it is to be lazy in our society. I was on my way to work, just entering the building which leads to the subway station, and as I reached to open the door, a woman coming through in the opposite direction punched the handicap button which opens it automatically. Funny thing is, the exact same scenario had happened to me the night before, with a different person. And as I impatiently reached out for the door handle to yank it open with my own strength (those automatic mechanisms go at a snail's pace, seriously! who can wait?) it truly amused me that two separate people, perfectly upright and healthy, and not carrying any parcels, had felt the need to have the door opened automatically for them rather than taking a split second to use their own arms. I mean, really. It's so sad. In this world, no one really has to do anything physical at all if they aren't inclined to. They can drive their cars, ride the elevator, and push handicap buttons. They can also eat McDonalds and KFC and have heart attacks at the age of 35. It's kind of tragic, actually.

It makes me so happy to be active. To actually enjoy my exercise, to be passionate about it. We live in a world where physical activity is largely a leisure activity, and where it is increasingly difficult to avoid bad health choices - but we are runners, and using our legs, our lungs, our entire physical beings, I think we really do rise above a lot of society's garbage. Yes we drink our fair share of beer, we eat our cake and our pizza and our ice cream, but ultimately we treat our bodies with respect, and we can feel good about that. We all run for so many different reasons, but we share one thing: those reasons are intrinsic to our being. They motivate us, drive us out to the track and the roads and the trails and yes, even the treadmill, over and over again, day in and day out. Maybe it's an addiction. But it's more than that - it's a lifestyle.

It's a damn good one. So cheers to runners everywhere, to realizing our physical potential, and to never getting stuck on an escalator.*

*The link works now!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Let's do it

Come on everybody - let's do the rain dance!

The Weather Network promises me that there is a chance of thundershowers tomorrow. This might bring the temps down by 10 degrees! You know, that might make running almost manageable. Almost.

I want to run sooooo badly! I want a north wind. I want an Ice Age. I want to join an air-conditioned gym for a week and abuse their treadmill privileges. And not pay for it. Yeah. That would work just fine.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Cramping my style

Will it never end? This horrible heat, that is. Every time I step outside, it's like being hit by a tidal wave of ick.

I thought I would beat it today, because, for once this summer, I was in close proximity to Hart House, a university facility that has an indoor track. We do have another, better track at the Athletic Centre, which I suspect is air-conditioned, but students are not allowed there in the summer unless they're taking classes. Poo on them. But I figured, indoors is indoors, I know Hart House has lots of fans, and I'm sure there won't be many people there. How bad can it be?

Answer: BAD. I was right on both counts - the place was practically empty, the fans were all trying their darndest, but nothing could really stir the swampy air. It wasn't quite as bad as outdoors, as I was at least spared the sun beating directly down on me, but I still felt like I was in actual danger of getting heatstroke, and had to reluctantly cut my 4 miles down to a measly 4k. Boo.

I'm definitely going back to my evening run habit. It's just so hard to fit them in around working night shifts, and having a social life! I'm having trouble getting in three runs a week, let alone the four that I have planned for my half marathon training. Grrr.

Ah well - next week, I get to escape to the cottage for two whole weeks, where I can luxuriate in the lower temps and lovelier scenery. I was there this weekend in fact, and fit in a fantastic 7 miles on the winding, unpaved roads. It's about as close as this Toronto runner ever gets to "real" trails! Can you imagine it though - I had to run hills! Hills I tell you - what are these geographical peculiarities that insist on making one run up and down?! Very hard on me, I must say :) But it does feel good to run and breathe in air, instead of thick grey smog. Very good indeed. Four runs a week? Here I come!