Sunday morning I slept in to almost 7am. *Gasp*
I modified my routine and sugared up my coffee to from the normal XtraLarge double cream to the full Double-Double. I added a whole grain raspberry muffin so I have something in my stomach before getting organized to go running.
Filling my fuel belt bottles, I discovered that I’d been conducting a science experiment on mould growth. Not enough soapy water, too much Gatorade sugar. It’s always something.
At the store, I picked up a package of Orange Gu Chomps. Learning from last week that it’s impossible to open the bag with gloves on, I opened it before securing it away in the pouch. Added an extra layer of polar fleece under the hoodie and I was ready.
The route was simple, follow Riverside Drive to Hyde Park Road, turnaround at the Canadian Flag (about8 km) and come back. There was a high probability that I could manage to stay on track today.
No problems finding Riverside. We were in and out of the wind a few times There was a minor déjà vu moment as the lead group was identical to Saturday’s run, although there was a consensus the pace would be slower and we’d skip the walks.
Up the first hill, I’m fighting with a pebble in my right shoe. I don’t like to stop once I’m running. If I can shake the pebble out from under a major point of contact I’ll carry on. By the top of the hill I wasn’t thinking about the pebble any longer.
To be over simplistic, this is not a flat course. Marc’s theme for Valentine’s Day was “Tough Love”. Being the hopeless romantic type, Marc noted that the flag at the turnaround was at the 7.5 km point and picked it up and replanted it at exactly 8 km. I sucked back some Gatorade during the repatriation ceremony and got ready for the trip back.
Part of this run felt very good. The caffeine and sugar mixture seems to make a difference. I never did chow down on any of my “Chomps”. Good thing I made sure I opened the bag.
Although running slower, Shane and Victoria led the entire way back. I muttered an occasional plea for divine intervention with an “Oh Gawd!” or two on a couple of the never-ending hills. Marc’s wise council to my supplication was “Don’t even think about it.”
Marc announced 5km remaining on a downhill. Reaching Wharncliffe we were back with the leaders. Only the Queens Ave bridge left to ascend. My hips were cold, my right ankle stiff and sore, a blister developing on the third toe of my left foot. None of that mattered, my energy left still holding.
While I couldn’t stay with them the whole way in, I wasn’t much more than 50 meters behind them at that finish. A 5:06 pace for 16km over difficult terrain. Not bad.
To celebrate, I bought socks. Four pairs, almost $70. My feet better thank me. It’s not going to get any easier. This is only the beginning of the “Tough Love”