Sunday, August 7, 2011

Christmas in Summer

I waited patiently all week for this day to arrive.  It was like Christmas right smack dab in the middle of summer for me.  We had finally settled in our new temporary digs and Sunday was going to be my first long run in the new 'hood.  I had planned the route in my head, double checking some things on google maps to make sure I knew where was going.  I was so excited.  Imagine my chagrin when I woke up to rain and the rumblings of thunder.  Rats.   I wouldn't have minded running in the rain.  The rumblings of thunder always make me a bit wary so, I poured myself another cup of coffee, puttered around the house, wasted time on facebook and waited for the thunder to stop.

Finally around 11:00 am the thunder stopped and the rain had slowed to a very light drizzle.  At LAST!  I grabbed my fuel belt & ipod, laced up my new Newtons and bounded out the door.  I had planned to run for an hour and 40 minutes.  I wasn't sure if the route I had planned would be long enough.  I thought about doing an out and back but that's what I always do.  I was in a whole other world on this side of the city.  One filled with tons of trails and bike paths.  Out and back?  Nah.  Let's just go explore and see where I end up.

So I headed out east along Davisville to Bayview and as I turned south onto Bayview, the sun came out. Holy hot.  The temperature felt like it went up another 15 degrees.   I wished I had brought my sunglasses.   Oh well, I was going to be heading into a trail shortly so it wouldn't really matter.  I turned right onto Moore Park and motored along.  I was running at a decent pace and my legs actually felt quite good, despite the beating I've put on them over the past couple of days.  The new shoes were also pretty amazing.  I came to the entrance way to the Moore Park Ravine trail and met up with a family on bikes.  It's a pretty steep downhill at the start but it eventually turns into a nice gradual downhill.  Hitting that trail was like entering another world.  It was so quiet.  I could hear the slight rush of a creek and the crunch crunch crunch of my shoes on the gravel.   I ran along and saw this.  It was almost like a doorway on the path.  So cool.

At this point I am pretty sure I was running with a big grin on my face.   It was so beautiful.  And to think this is literally just outside the downtown core of the city.  Amazing.

I followed the path all the way to the Bayview Extension.  This is the area I wasn't sure about.  I went on Google Maps to see if I could figure out where the path started up again and how I could get on to the Don River Path.  I couldn't quite figure it out looking at the map so I just went with what I knew.  I turned and ran up the Bayview Extension (on the nice wide shoulder of course) and over to Pottery Road where I knew the Don River path crossed.  They are doing some major construction on Pottery Road and it has affected the first km or so of the bike path.  Instead of being nice and wide it's this very narrow lane.  No big deal as there literally was no one else around.  I motored along up the path running in and out of the shade.  The sun was out in full force and there was no breeze so it was pretty hot out.

I ran up the Don River path and picked up the route of the Toronto Women's Half.  I realized just how tough that race was as I was running along and watched my pace get slower and slower.  I was starting the gradual climb back up.  After running down to Bayview, I knew I'd have a pretty tough slog back up.   My plan was to run all the way up the Don River Path to Wilket Creek Park and exit the path at Leslie.  From there I'd run west along Eglinton and turn down either Mount Pleasant or Yonge depending on the time.

I exited the park and hit Eglinton at about 1:08.  I checked the distance on my watch:  12:86km.  Sweet.  I figured I was at least 5km from home, maybe more.   I had 32 minutes to cover that distance.  And a MONSTER of hill to climb.   That hill up Eglinton towards Laird is just plain NASTY.  It's long and it's steep.  I pushed up it, keeping my pace at just under 6/min km's.  I remember thinking to myself that if I don't become a stronger runner training out here well, then I'd just give up.   The worst part is, the rest of the way home even after climbing this hill is also uphill.  It evens out a bit and then steeply climbs again once you pass Bayview.   Evil.  Just plain evil.

I checked my watch while waiting at the light at Bayview and figured that I probably wouldn't have to go to Yonge to make the time.  I made a slight misjudgment in distance and time, so I ended up having to make my way towards Yonge street along Manor Road.  I turned down a side street just before Yonge and made my way through the 'hood towards Millwood Road.  I got to the water park and was VERY tempted to jump in with the kids that were playing.  But I didn't.  I filled up one of my flasks and gulped half of it back.  I followed the path out of the park and on to Davisville.  I had 4 minutes to get back.  No problem.  I crossed Mount Pleasant and turned on to Belle Ayre with 1.5 minutes to spare.  So, I ran past the house to the end of the street, turned around and ran back.  When I say I'm going to go out and run for a certain amount of time, I don't like to "cheat" myself out of that time, even if it was only a minute and a half.

I came back to the house all excited and energized, kinda like a kid that had just been given the best gift ever.  Given that I haven't been this excited about going for a long run in ages,  I suppose it was.

Next Sunday can't some soon enough.

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