Monday, March 24, 2008

The Longest Run

The transition from Pickering to London went pretty smoothly.  I arrived to Sonja's home with the emergence of beautiful weather and clear roads.  This was going to be beneficial to me as I had two workouts to complete over the weekend - a 10 x 1 minute on/ 1 minute off and a 38k long run.  I was able to quickly fit in the Saturday workout after arriving from Pickering, running along the Thames River.  The first 4 intervals felt a little awkward, the Friday having been a day off and having an abbreviated warm up.  The final 6 felt a little better, I found my stride and the wind at my back made me feel like a runner.

The Sunday long run was another story.  Sonja's father, Evan, graciously planned a route for me that would take me out and around some of the smaller towns situated on the edge of London proper.  Working with his computer program, he came up with a route that was 37.8km, door to door.  He even then wrote the directions out on cards so I could remember the directions.  Furthermore, he printed me a map of the route.  So, it was with some humility that I called the Weaver residence from a pay phone three hours and seventeen minutes after commencing my run, asking for a ride home.

The run started out well enough: sun shining, birds singing, river flowing - you know the deal.  I had my podcasts lined up and made myself start conservatively; I didn't want to bonk on this run.  Running beyond 30k is definitely my weakness, but with four 30k+ runs in the past 5 weeks, I am starting to gain some confidence.  The weather was indeed ideal for running and I was looking forward to the exploration of the route - Evan even included a short jaunt on Boston Rd!  

I made it to Komoka with no problems, listening to some politcal podcasts debating the effectiveness of Obama's speech on race (they thought it was an "historic" speech, but wondered if blue collar Pennsylvania workers would want to listen to a 45 minute speech about race).  I knew that my next turn was to be Oxbow Rd, the same name of the lake that Olympia Sports Camp sit on the edge of.  However, I thought that Oxbow Rd was outside of Komoka while it was actually just within the city limits.  This would be my downfall.  I had my head down, at this time listening intently to a podcast by EndurancePlanet, when I went past Oxbow.  Being ignorant to the road less travelled behind me, I continued on, looking at each crossroad for the elusive road home.  

It wasn't until 7km later that I realized that I had missed my turn.  I ran into a major road, at which point I consulted the now sweat soaked map that Evan had given me.  To say that I was a little disheartened at my (major) error would be a little bit if an understatement.  Knowing that I wouldn't be able to consult the map again (it was falling apart in my hands), I planned my route home.  With Sarah Slean's new song, Get Home appropriately playing on the podcast, I started my new route home.  

The run was supposed to be about 38k, or 2:45.  So, it was at 45k (3:17 in) that I finally found a pay phone and sheepishly called Sonja to come get me.  Fortunately, I was on the right track as I was only about 5k from home at the time of the phone call.  I bought some Powerade from the Sunoco station and waited for my ride home.  

I slept well that night.  And while the last 3k were pretty soul-crushing, it was good to know that the time and the distance would have equated to about a 3:00 marathon, which is great for a training run.  I am excited to finish off this week of training and start the taper toward Boston.
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