Thursday, January 27, 2011

Two very different 18Ks...

Part 1: 18 kilometer run

Sunday I woke up feeling lousy. My stomach hurt and I was kind of stuffed up. And really tired, in spite of a solid 10 hours of sleep. I didn't want to run 18K, I wanted to go back to sleep and then eat chicken noodle soup (laced with, um, Imodium). The great (and terrible) thing about training as a trio meant I couldn't do that, I had to get up and go. Still feeling lousy, I drove over to the Running Room to join the group and we set out on what I grudgingly acknowledge was a lovely sunny and warm (for January) morning run. We started out running towards the mountains, which was straight into a brisk Chinook wind, which means I was in trouble immediately. I find running INTO the wind means it sucks the air right out of me so the first 2K which are usually a treat before I get all tired were tough as I wheezed my way West. We wound our way into some pretty posh neighbourhoods and I eyed their 4 car garages nervously, daydreaming of what would happen if I knocked on their door and asked to use their servants bathroom should it be required. Running was NOT improving my tummy, but we kept on trucking. Crystal had brought her awesome marathoner buddy for the run and was wearing one headphone, so she stayed slightly ahead with the lead runners and entertained us with her random karaoke (run-eoke?) Christi was foolish enough to lag behind and both keep me company and force me to keep up with the group so I wouldn't get lost. This meant she had 123 minutes of me whining to look forward to!

Like the Evil Witch, this only looks good on the outside

 After a few KILLER hills, I was actually whimpering out loud. I didn't sign up for this!---wait, yes I did. After running up a dirt road hill, we reached what I can only assume was City limits, so we mercifully paused for a photo op. I made the mistake at this point of checking our distance, and was crushed to see we weren't even half way. We still had a few kms before we were even halfway. At that point, if a taxi had pulled up, I would have quit and gone home. I was tired, I wasn't feeling good, and at no point so far had I hit a running groove: basically every minute was feeling like torture and I was not having fun. But, no taxi (or bus, or rickshaw or donkey) came to save me, so on we went.

I'd like to say things got better at the halfway point, but they didn't. I whined for the next hour or so as we worked our way around Signal Hill and Richmond. Sorry Christi, and thanks for putting up with me! At one point, I got a stabby pain in my foot so sudden and severe I shrieked and dead stopped. I limped along for a few minutes until the pain subsided, and it hasn't come back since. We finally made it back to the Running Room only to realize we were still a quarter of a km off the finish, so we had to run over to the Best Buy and back, twice passing the others doing their cool downs. I was so relieved we were done, I wanted to lie face down on the icy pavement for the rest of the day. But then I would have missed what happened next...

Part 2: 18k....that's 18000 calories consumed, people

Now, the only reason I pushed through the run was under the promise of Pannenkoeks. We peeled over to the restaurant to get on the waiting list, stopping only to grab a jug of chocolate milk to fight off the post-run DTs. Noticing the "No Outside Food or Drink" sign on the door but not wanting to wait in the cold, we huddled around the curio cabinet, surreptitiously swigging and passing the jug around like bad high school kids at the mall with a mickey swiped from their parent's stash. When we were sat, we apologized to our server about the milk (we're not bad kids, we totally felt guilty!) and instead of being mad, she brought us sample sizes of their own chocolate milk which she claimed was the best in the city. After trying it, we couldn't argue. She also brought us extra cookies with our tea because "we looked like we needed them". HOOORAY!

Things only got better from there. We decided since 18k was so much more than 16k, we needed to split 4 between the 3 of us---2 savory and 2 sweet. We opted for their feature: grilled chicken, Anjou pear, maple glazed pecans and Gruyere, along with a repeat of the awesome one from last week: potato, bacon and cheese. Then we sat there unable to concentrate on a subject for more than 10 seconds until the sweet, sweet nosh arrived on our table. After some hasty pannenkoek math, we dived in to what can only be described as heaven on a plate. Not only was it excellent, but we were seriously tapping into empty carb tanks at that point. I could almost feel life and happiness flowing back into me as I alternated bites of each, pausing only to slather the potato one in sour cream.

No, I can't believe Crystal left a cookie either!
Before we knew it, we were staring at empty plates...but not for long. Moments later, our dessert pannenkoeks arrived. One was banana Nutella with ice cream AND whipped cream, the other was the cinnamon bun one (sugar and cream cheese frosting) with added baked apples and maple pecans. At this point, I was so excited, I had to put my head in my lap to avoid passing out, so Crystal and Christi divvied up the goods. Again, sweet sugary joy coursed through ourveins as we mainlined our dessert.

That's what I call a money shot!
Eventually we flatlined, so full we actually left traces of Nutella on the table. All we could do at that point was rush home for showers and serious couch time, both of which were well earned.


This folks, is what running is all about...through perseverance comes great rewards!

Note the crazy looks in our eyes...

Monday, January 24, 2011

You did what?


Since the other princesses ran their long run on Saturday.. I had to make my effort and make sure I did the same, especially with the Chinook that blew in and brought us some pretty spectacular running weather. In order to make up those kilometers I chose to run to work. No for those Calgarians that means running from 17th Ave and 14th Street to the to the airport for those who are not, it means a 18.36km run. Now this is not an endeavor one wants to do in the dark of morning and especially not by themselves. So in casual conversation, I asked my friend Chuck to run with me, not expecting him or anyone to say yes… but he did and thank God for that.

So after some serious planning (leaving cars and clothes at work the day before, arranging rides home, etc) I started the morning by picking Chuck up at 6am then bringing him back to my place for our starting point. Running wear was the second most serious plan to organize so made sure we had the running belt filled with Gatorade, the headlamp on for the dark parts of the trail and luckily most of the run took place on city running trails so we avoided traffic and hit the trail within the first kilometer.

Now as we started our run, Chuck mentioned that he had segmented the run into 5 segments so that it wouldn’t seem so long – My place to Memorial Dr - Memorial to Deerfoot - Deerfoot to the pedestrian bridge - Bridge to 19th - 19th /McCall to WestJet.

Segment 1 My Place to Memorial – A few hiccups during this leg including the river overflowing under Centre Street and me totally wiping out on the ice then after picking myself up and wiping myself off, the ice started cracking under our feet.. Chuck actually went through the ice and soaked his foot. This lead to us having to jump on the fence and shimmy our way to the other side of the now cracked ice. Kinda scary..

Segment 2 Memorial to Deerfoot – down one segment onto the next. Our only hiccup here was that fact that it said that that path was closed on the other side of the bridge, we figured it was due to high water (aka ice) so not wanting to repeat our last series of events, we crossed over St. George’s bridge, climbed the hill to the zoo then made our way through the parking lot, construction and snowbanks to the path by Deerfoot…

Segment 3 Deerfoot to the Pedestrian Bridge – this segment there was nothing but figuring how far we’ve been, how far still to go, oh and of course how to get up the big long hill by the golf course. This is usually where Chuck would leave me in his dust on his bike, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when he did it while we were running too. Oh well, I had to save something for the last 6km so let him go…

Segment 4 Bridge to McKnight (INDUSTRIAL) – this was the least favourite part of the run. The path took us all the way to 19th, then it was running on a four lane road (two each way), without a sidewalk and no streetlights just before dawn with reflective gear but nothing the semi’s and cars could actually see. This was terrifying and closer to the end so it seemed never ending.. but it did end, finally on McNight!

Segment 5 McKnight to Campus! – Legs are getting heavy by this point, but campus is in sight! We finished our 18.36kms at the corner at Barlow and walked it in! So excited to have finished this monstrous run and celebrated with a ½ hot shower at campus before heading out for the day!!