Sunday, August 26, 2012

Almost to Pink Lake; introducing a new blister to the family

I toured the Gats during my training today, and would now like to suggest a message for a future neon sign to be posted at its entrance: "Gatineau Park, where the hills have hills!"

Roughly a third of today's 35km adventure happened within the Park, and among the multitude of cyclists buzzing around the water fountain I spied only one other person foolhardy enough to tackle the hills on foot. I'd like to point out that while cycling is hard work, a pedal rotation on a bike usually goes farther than a running stride, and so a ride is usually easy and comfortable at distances difficult and uncomfortable for a run. An experienced cyclist planning a long ride would choose a longer route than a runner, even at the height of marathon training.

The path to the Gats was a decision lightly made. I was looking for some shady path to follow, and at the last second I veered left at a fork because I knew it led to the park and offered some shady sections. I have biked here many times for fun and as a means to get to work (my *old* job) and knew there would be long sections of shade but I hadn't counted on the intensity of the morning heat. I ran as far as Gamelin and refilled my bottle at the fountain with water so deliciously cool I would have been pleased to bathe and cavort in it faerie-style. Instead I decided to run as far as Asticou; from there, I began the 5k route I used to do occasionally on my lunch break -- until I saw a posted sign for Pink Lake only 7k from there. Yippee! It would give the perfect distance.

Soon after deciding to go to Pink Lake and exceed the distance at which I suspect my water bottle could support me (14k on one bottle of water was asking way too much in this heat) I forgot all about water and instead thought about passing the runner just ahead. I guessed we were going at about the same speed so I concluded I really couldn't pass her. Decision made, I happily trailed behind, content to have her ahead as a running gauge (and bear attack support). But soon enough she veered off and I continued for a few more kms until the path climbed steeply with large rocks alongside -- ah, I had hit trail running territory. I turned around before twisting an ankle (would I be pissed!) and headed back the same way with water sploshing loudly within the rapidly emptying bottle. I was 3k off, but it was fine.

It took a crazy amount of willpower to keep on trucking even though I knew a cold water fountain was waiting for me. It was just so hot and hilly. To gauge my progress I mentally performed a body scan -- how do the quads feel? am I tired yet? too hot and burning up? -- and discovered that while my quads and calves were sore, my energy was still high. And this combo of feeling sore yet energetic and positive continued until I finally reached home after running back the same way and adding on a bit at the end.

And that stop at the fountain when I finally reached it? Heavenly.

Just one more long run until my taper begins, and while I`m currently lying on the couch with straight legs and barking dogs (haha, that`s sore feet to some of you), I believe I`m ready for this marathon. It`s too bad that speed work was pushed to the backseat so that I could concentrate on achieving my weekly distance goals, but when I look at what I`ve accomplished, I feel confident that I`ve prepared enough to cross the finish line without walking too much or giving up entirely. Of course, one never knows what will happen over the next few weeks, but the outlook from the current perspective looks sunny and clear.

Now I have a heel blister from my new running shoes, which I bought to relieve my toes of their toe tip and sub-nail blistering tendencies! Go figure. At least heel blisters are less unsightly than blackened nails. Bandaids are the best invention (well, second after ibuprofen).

After a breakfast of eggs and toast, I baked a pan of crumble that had been waiting in the fridge since yesterday. So sweet and juicy!

:: Nectarine and raspberry goodnesses ::

Friday, August 24, 2012

Indian buffet for lunch...

...means an uncomfortable run six hours later!

I stopped by a popular Indian restaurant with a colleague who also adores tandoori and parathas. We were pretty stoked. Overall the food was delicious, and the eggplant curry and mini samosas in particular were packed with flavor. But hours later when I took my first steps of the night's 10k my stomach boiled up with indigestion and I fought a strong desire to pull off the path and let it all out.

It was a good test though, and now I know to stick to plain, some might say dull, carbs before the September race. Foods with pasta, rice and bread and few/no chilis are probably best suited for my endurance needs -- and what a crying shame! I'd prefer go out for a fulfilling Indian feed the night before than a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup.

The experience also got me wondering what it is about this cuisine that argues so disagreeably when I exercise. The spices? The oil? Perhaps the overall amount? Admittedly, I sampled a hella good amount of delicacies.

I would not have experienced such depths of gut suffering had I indulged in D's sensible kale & avocado and mixed grain salads.

Ruffage, anyone?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rainy run

I had a galloping run last night! I covered about 9km with a steady the steady downpour. Running in warm summer rain is refreshing. Feels like getting a bath as a baby. I even like the shivery feeling of water gently seeping through my running shoes into my socks and masaaging my toes.

The only mandatory item I need for these rainy runs is a cap with a strong brim to keep rain from hitting my eyes.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Lot of Tacos

Another successful trip to Taco Lot! D was curious to see what was listed on the chalk board menu. Turned out they were out of beef, fish and their regular veggie filling. My plate was loaded with two veggie tacos (with sauteed veggies inside), rice and black beans, green salad, watermelon slices and a big squirt of the salsa verde sauce:

Healthy and light, the whole shebang was pretty phenomenal. Even the wasps who regularly stopped by for a buzz seemed to think so.

I closed another chapter in my professional life on Friday after finishing work in Gatineau. It was a long year, but I got through it with new friends and contacts, and some shiny new skills. I'm glad I made the move back to this side of the river. If I ever again entertain the thought that I could be doing better, I'll know what I need to do -- find something else to engage my neural synapses.

Monday, August 6, 2012


I ran after work. A long one. About 25k. The air was cool. Just one gel and one water bottle top up from the park fountain. The sky was getting dark by the time I got home. I'm a little sore.

But I don't feel tired, or even a bit sleepy. My ragged legs have no interest in sleep. Running is their vodka-redbull. They want to dance a twitchy dance and force my feet to submit to a pedicure. Scrub away those blisters and callouses. No.

If I can't sleep, I could be content to lie here, digesting my dinner and organizing my life for the next 20 years. Or 20 days.

I have no idea what my life will look like in the future. I picture the future as a crumbly stone well & bats hiding deep in the shadows. Are they good bats or evil ones? Hard to tell from up here. I can't picture my life half as clearly as I can those bats, sleeping upside down, wrapped in darkness. I wish I could sleep.

Damn you, bat well future. You can't talk but I need your deep advice. Should I do anything differently than I am now? But that's not it. The real question is, why stay the same at all?

Our lives flicker like tea lights.