Off My Leash

Heather

This weekend Dan and I trained separately. I think it was good to have a break from each other, we spend a lot of time together these days….

The Cheer Squad in their personalised tees.

Saturday morning I ran 37km.  I was lucky not to be rained on but it was sooo humid.  I designed a figure eight route so that I could pop home to check-in and use the facilities.  First half of my run was great, a little quiet as it was marathon weekend here in Toronto.  I had a woman’s dog follow me for about 800 meters along the Belt Line before a runner coming in the opposite direction pointed out the out of breath owner widely waving her arms.  By the time she caught up to me and took control of her pet I thought I was going to have to administer CPR, I politely pointed out that she should consider taking up running if she was planning on letting her dog off leash. (To be fair to the dog I didn’t even notice he was there he was stealthy but I think happy to be running). 
By the time I hit 21km I was back home I was feeling great, had to change my shirt and top up my water but headed out feeling positive.  Maybe a little too positive, my pace was a tad fast but it felt good and I was running across College street so I was stopping for lots of red lights. As I ran past a cute breakfast place I spotted my friend Angie sitting in the window, went and had a quick chat I was sadly disappointed to discover her group had just placed their orders so there was no food for me to steal (I was feeling a titch hungry) as I ran off it occurred to me that that is what normal people do on Saturday mornings. Meet friends for breakfast catch up over yummy food. I want to say I was jealous but I’ve come to terms with me freakish enjoyment of long distance running. I started to pay for my quick pace around 33km with some major cramping, I’ve never really had this problem before but, oh my lady gaga, you know when it’s starts to happen.  I stopped and stretched and stretched and stretched and finally got comfortable enough to run again. When my garmin finally beeped for 37km I was only at union station and since my legs were killing me I opted to jump on the subway home, I got a few strange looks.

The runners (I didn't receive the memo re: red shirts)

Sunday morning we were up early as both sisters and my parents had arrived the evening before since they were also participating in the Toronto marathon.  Mommy, little sister and I were running the half and Dan the full.  We piled into taxis and off we headed for the start line, but not before giving our cheerleaders their own free t-shirts!!! It was cool day for the run and it rained off and on and let’s not forget the 35km wind gusts.  Let’s just say I was so happy I only had to run the half!  I love this course and was surprised by the number of supporters along the route despite the weather.  The last 3km were by far the toughest as we were running into a chilly head wind, I had balled my hands into fists to try and keep them warm, this became a problem when I tried to wave at spectators as we approached the finish line and wasn’t able to unfurl my hand. (Any spectators reading this I was honestly trying to wave, not shake my fist at you.  To the guy running the 5km and asking how much further, I was shaking my fist at you.)  My mom and I literally ran into the back of some runners who decided the timing mat before the finish line was the finish, I think we lost a couple of seconds there for sure…

Can you spot us?

The full marathon starts an hour after the half so I had time to rush to the half way mark of the marathon in time to see Dan go by, it he looked fabulous.  I was happy to see him smiling even though the weather conditions were less than favorable.  I thankfully had enough time to have a quick shower and get dressed in warm/waterproof clothing to head back to the finish line to await Dan (living so close to the finish of marathon has it’s benefits).  I thoroughly enjoyed being a cheerleader for the hour or so that we waited for Dan.  It is so inspiring to watch all the runners coming through, achieving their goals and doing something that many people can’t say they’ve done.  Dan looked great when he crossed the finishing line; he looked like a super hero as they draped his solar blanket around his shoulders (he chose to wear his pack for the run so the blanket just billowed out behind him).  I was so proud of him and although we will be running distances further than this it was still awesome to witness him notch a marathon into his running belt!

Rocking the plastic bags!

Little sister on her way to the finish.

Mommy and me almost done.

And we're done!

Dan on his final approach.

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Not Going the Distance

Dan

Heather has already mentioned how great our 30 km was this weekend. This isn’t entirely true we didn’t run 30 km we actually only ran 29.77km, believe it or not this was a deliberate decision. Next weekend we run the Around the Bay, a race that’s claim to fame is to be the oldest road race in North America, a title often given to the Boston marathon. Now Boston certainly is the oldest marathon in North America, but Around the Bay isn’t a marathon it is an unconventional 30km. The race started in 1894 three years before Boston, a big motivation behind creating the race seems to have been the gambling opportunities it allowed. However it has also bred some great runners, Jack Caffery and William Sherring had the best of the early races, with the two of them later making up 1st and 2nd place in a Canadian sweep of the 1900 Boston marathon. With all this history it seemed a little rude and uneventful to run my first 30km just on a training run, that’s why, I decided to cut it just a little short.

The run really was a fun one though, the people were friendly the temperature was perfect and the trail nearly all ice-free. We also got the chance to run past some sculptures we had only seen from the road, never been sure what they are supposed to be and close up I was non the wiser. We took a picture in case you had more of an insight, to me they are watering cans with elephant legs.

Answer's on a post card

Sunday offered more of the same, Heather designed a great 20km route that took in the belt line, Cedarvale park, and some Toronto’s nicest neighborhoods. Don’t worry this route was actually 20.23km, there was no way we were going to short change ourselves on our first 50km weekend! I do have to say though the runners on Saturday were a lot more cheerful. That said we may not have been the picture of sunshine and cheer ourselves, 50km is a long way.