Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shout out to the WestSiiiiiiiiiiiiide....Rec Center

We ran 18k on Saturday. That's right, just 3k short of a half marathon.  Oh, and it gets better.  We ran it INSIDE.  That's right, when we got up on Saturday morning to eat toast and drink Gatorade, the thermometer had dipped to -32C. Now, we've learned that we can totally run in the cold, but this was going to be nearly 10C colder than ever before, and would have been for a full two hours.  Ever prepared, we had a backup plan to run inside at Westside Rec since it featured a 425m track and was near both our houses. We met in the parking lot in our capris and dashed inside before our calves froze, grumbling about the injustice of having to pay $13 to go run in circles when all we really wanted to do was run along the river on a snowy day. Stupid boring inside run we had to pay for! Stupid outside weather being too cold!

Take a Midol, Mother Nature

Pretty much as soon as we walked inside, I felt like I owed the Rec Center an apology. It was AMAZING!  It had  a giant pool area with wave pool, lazy river, wading pool and waterslide set inside. The other pool area had a lap pool and diving pool. Looking up, we realized the track went all around the center, and WASN'T AN OVAL, which meant that even though we would be running laps, they wouldn't be in the same circle over and over.  We peeked into some of the classrooms and they were bright sparkling rooms filled with brightly colored weights and mats and upbeat music. When we went upstairs, we were dazzled by the number of strength training machines we'd never seen before as well as hockey arenas and indoor skating rinks complete with trees and giant firepit in the middle. We were almost speechless! (almost)

Getting ourselves prepped to run, we asked a nearby staffer how far the track was. He directed us to the chart and our hastily done in line math was bang on, we had to do 42 laps to get in 18.2K. The guy noticed our concern about losing track of our laps and offered us a counter we could click after every lap and not lose track. There was a table where we could leave our drinks and so after a quick stretch, we started from there. We were off!

I think we spent the first 3-4 laps exclaiming over new things we saw.  This track was pretty much the best we could hope for running laps inside; it was shaped like a clover leaf so you didn't just see the same people over and over again and it kept things a bit more interesting. Plus, the shape of the track meant you kept running by all the different parts of the center.

We watched some middle aged guys work out with their trainers, sprinting down the 40 yard track set up on one side, or else doing these loopy squats under the handrails. Click!

We watched these adorable little kids at hockey practice all skate around in matching Iginla jerseys for ages. Click! Click! Click!

We were lapped a few times by a guy in those weird "naked" shoes that are all the rage.Click!

We passed a woman jogging in jeans and hiking shoes a few times. Click! Click! Click!

We soon noted that the 3 leaves of the clover shape each had their own "feel". The first one was really quiet, the second one nice and cool and the third one kinda hot and stuffy. Click!

We marvelled over the whippet thin woman who was on the stairmaster for the first hour. Click!

I got to pee in a real bathroom and not behind a bush or in the snow. Click!

We admired a woman walking laps with a baby peering out of his snuggie strapped to her chest. Click!

We watched a little old man walk quite a few laps clutching his Tim Hortons and wished we had one too. Click! Click!

Without even realizing it, time was flying by!  Before we knew it, we were counting down the last 10 laps, and before long, we were DONE!  We squealed and high fived and got the nice guy who had given us the clicker to take our photo. We felt good!

You can't fake this kind of authenticity, you know

Crystal: "piff, 18k, no problem, we could totally do 3 more for the half!"
Felicity: "for sure, no problem!"


Felicity: "ummm, but we're not going to, right? We're done?"
Crystal: "oh, yeah, we're done, I just meant we COULD do the other 3k for race day"
Felicity: "Whew!"

Still smiling after 42 laps! And the guy behind us posed too?

Sadly, we both had to dash off without getting to try out any of the crazy new stretching or situp machines we'd been eying or go for a quick dip in the pool or hottub, but happily, it was because we both had massages booked that we had to get to.  I'd be happy to go back there and spend an entire day there testing everything out!