What to do?


We are fully aware that there is going to be many social challenges that will arise during our training. Our first one has arrived, quite literally stepping off a plane, in the form of my in-laws.

You see they are on vacation. We will be eating out a lot, there will be drinking (which Dan always participates in) and late nights.

Don’t get me wrong I’m excited they’re here to visit, but when the trip was planned we hadn’t really decided that we were going to run the Death Race.  They are going to be staying with us for two weeks in our 1 bed plus den condo.  I feel bad for them.  There is no way we’ll be able to be that quiet in the morning.  I have to stick my garmin out on the balcony to find satellites; the sliding glass door sticks so they will probably be awoken, way too early, when on vacation by the sounds of me fighting with said door.

But my biggest fear is the temptation.  It’s going to be so easy to put off a run, stay up too late, and eat too much tasty food.

We are going away for the weekend, away!  This means packing not only for a snowy get away but also remembering all our run gear and well, actually using it.  It means trying to have a life while training for the Death Race, something I’m not sure how to do…


Back to Back



Our training plan has us running back to back longer runs typically Friday and Saturday. This week however Heather told me that I didn’t have to run on Friday, this wasn’t because I had put such a good weeks work in clocking up the miles. It was because we wouldn’t actually have the time to cover the required distance (17km) without waking up at 4am! I knew this day was coming but I still thought I had a few weeks before running would entirely take over my weekends. So how much is this going to cramp my style?

Saturday morning rolls in and it’s properly cold -21C with the wind chill but crucially there was no snow and the pavement was relatively clear. But even before a shoelace was tied or an ear warmer donned the run was off to a bad start. The avocados hadn’t ripened which meant no avocado on toast for our pre-run breakfast, for non runners reading this you may not get what the big deal is, but trust me it’s a big deal. We spend time experimenting with what works for us and how long before we run that we should be eating it, so you don’t want to be trying something new and worrying about how your body will react when you have already established what works.

The run however got off to a great start, solid steady pace, the cold was bearable and plenty of other runners out and about so we were feeling considerably saner than the previous weekends of snow running. So any worrying foreshadowing from the avocado incident seemed to have dissipated, with the exception of some pretty ripe vegemite burps all seemed to be well with the world. It was if course not going to be as simple as this. At 10km we decided to take a quick walk break and rehydrate a little, the water was frozen solid and the sport drink had turned into a slushy. Then just after the walk break at around 12km Heather’s knee gave out, typically she runs with a knee brace for runs over 10km but had forgotten on this outing to wear it, we were slowed down to a crawl. With the jog/walk cycle we were now in, we had lost 2mins per km, but through the pain and frustration Heather still managed to grit her teeth and close out that last 5km. This is obviously all the fault of the under ripe avocado, had we not had to rethink our breakfast choices I am sure H would have remembered her knee brace 😉


Holy crap, I’m still drunk, 6am time to suit up for today’s run and I still feel buzzed and dehydrated beyond belief. Never cool when you are chugging Gatorade before you have even set foot outside, on the plus side the avocados ripened up nicely! Today we had an extra running partner H’s cousin Roberta.  A good job we did because the way I was feeling I would have crawled back into bed to sleep off what seemed like it was going to be a dandy of a hangover.

So what happened to this dedicated runner?  How when I knew that I had to be up early could I possibly have ended up in this state?  The slow pace of the previous days run had left me with a little still in the tank, so I took up an offer from Paul, my weight training buddy, to throw a few weights around and hopefully have some different muscle aches to take my mind off the leg aches during the next days 17km. Paul however is also a drinking buddy so the post gym pint was always destined to be more than that. The drinks flowed as did the conversation, both of which were only accelerated when we were joined by a couple of Paul’s friends. Fortunately H also joined us, which would help reduce my guilt the following morning. Reduced guilt or not the question is could I pay for my sins or would I be left behind at the side of the road with my dignity in a steaming pile of puke for company?

The first 5km were hellish I was cold and a little dizzy as I dropped behind the girls, my beer farts not only offended me they also seemed to be keeping pace with me. Fortunately Roberta shares Heather’s ability to talk while running so listening to the two of them chat those first kilometers away helped take my mind off the plethora of things I didn’t want to think about or just as importantly smell.

Then the next thing I knew were at 13km and I’m feeling great still smelling like a hobo’s unwashed boxer shorts but feeling great never the less. Bringing the run home considerably faster than the previous day and all semblance of a hangover sweated out over the kilometers, what more can I ask. So did I learn my lesson? As I am sitting here beer in hand watching the NFL championship games I would say I still have a few lessons to learn.

N.B.  To add to previous “eye-cicles”, I can now add “snot-cicles”.  Tenacious little stalactites took some detaching.

Snow Go


Growing up in England the mere sight of the white stuff was enough to whip up a frenzy of excitement. With mum and me on sentry duty one posted at the front of the house and the other at the back making sure that it was still snowing those 30 feet apart. We rarely had any great accumulation, but being England the smallest amount of snow could result in school shutting up shop. Those days were spent sledding (we all seemed to have one despite the usual lack of snow) and waging village wide snowball wars. So when I moved to Canada mum got regular text updates about the snow conditions, and even when my Canadian friends and colleagues complained about the miserable conditions I never stopped believing that snow could be anything but fun. 7am January 15th this belief came to a crushing end. A few earlier snow runs had been early indicators that this may happen, but I had been managing to convince myself of the nobility of man vs nature. But no amount of childhood memories could warm my heart let alone my eyes, yes oddly my eyes were freezing I quiet literally had eye-cicles forming as we ran, the snow sucked.

What was worse was the way that the snow seemed to be sucking the energy out of my legs; the pace was agonizingly slow yet by legs felt as though I had sprinted the first 4km. I trudged on chatting away to Heather as much as I could to keep from focusing on my legs, but gradually the conversation waned and I was left with my own thoughts and more and more those thoughts were focusing on just how miserable this run was becoming. We plowed (get it?) on until we hit uncleared pavement 200m further and I was done, not only was it miserable we were now needlessly risking injury. We agreed to head back to clearer ground and continue on, but the damage was done, my mental resolve had been left behind at the 4km marker, we decided (Heather’s account may differ) to cut it short. However I will admit that I may have taken every subsequent opportunity to cut it even shorter!  As we dragged ourselves back home we did take some small comfort in the fact that in a city packed with runners on that morning, we were two of a lonely few.

After a cruel Saturday, Monday’s snowless -28 Celsius was a blessed relief, hammered a fast 7km. Running we are back on speaking terms, snow show up for skiing next weekend and you might just find your way back onto my Christmas card list.

Snowy Days

We may not look happy but we were glad to be home.



Saturday was our first failed run.  A part of our training is going to be running long(ish) back to back runs.  We are still in the early stages of this so the distances aren’t  too bad.   The plan was to run 10km Friday and 16km Saturday.  Friday morning went well,even though there was lot’s of fluffy white stuff slipping us up.  I was thankful for my firefly lights I received for Christmas as a section of the run had a power outage, it’s very dark at 5:30am.  I felt great.  Next morning we had a little sleep in and woke at 7am had our typical pre run breakfast, and got dressed for a winter run.  I should mention that it wasn’t snowing when we got up, but as I was locking the door we could hardly see 2 feet in front of us.  Saner people would have gone back to bed, or gone to the gym, but us, no we are going to be Death Racers, a little snow can’t stop us.  Oh and how it did.  I had pretty much had it at 2km but Dan seemed to be chatting away and happy to be running, I couldn’t say anything, he’d think I was wimping out, scared of a little snow.  By 4km Dan didn’t have much to say anymore, and he kept giving me strange looks.   My hair, eyebrows and eyelashes were all white and frozen, Dan is now a little concerned about what his wife will look like at 70.  I suggested we bail to make it a 10km run, 1 or 2kms later Dan suggested we turn immediately, my face was now an alarming shade of red, that may have been early stages of frostbite, I’m glad will never find out.