Sunday, April 04, 2010

Sunday bliss

My determination to grab some running time back from the constraints of our more structured approach to homeschooling is finally bearing fruit. I can often tear off for a quick 5k in the mid to late afternoons, or even, as the days get longer, in the early evenings.

A year ago when I started running I claimed the early mornings of odd-numbered days for myself. Now I am claiming every Sunday morning. Don't count on me before noon, kids.

And this photo is why. This is where I run. It's an old rail-grade trail. It runs from our little town along the lakeshore and past one tiny hamlet of a couple of dozen homes onwards north towards another hamlet. This photo is taken from the first hamlet looking back along the lakeshore towards our town. Fresh snow on the mountains, clouds alternately cloaking and revealing the peaks, beautiful warm sunshine on the foreshore, grouse and flickers and pine siskins and waxwings everywhere, the lake lapping at the stones on the beach, the smell of pine and cedar and humus and the sweet aroma of new birch buds.

It's my bliss, though also my agony. I'm running proper long runs these days: twelve, fourteen, sixteen miles and more. The better part of three hours most Sundays. I feel great while I'm running, though the last hill brings me back to reality. And afterwards I hurt. A good kind of hurt. Muscle exhaustion, occasional blisters, achy feet. I love the feeling of real physical fatigue I endure after lunch on Sundays. It's almost enough to make me want to take a nap. I eat some more and drink a London Fog or two instead.

I went running with a real runner this past weekend. A Suzuki-mom friend of mine recently moved to the town 40 minutes to the east, and she's a triathlete, personal trainer and running/cycling/swim coach by training. She's been doing some free running clinics, and I went over for Friday's session. I was the only person who showed up this time, it being Good Friday, cold and almost snowing and all. Which meant I got an hour of professional private coaching for free. Amazing! It was only the third time I'd ever run with someone other than Fiona and Sophie, and the first time I'd ever done so with an expert.

I had driven over with some trepidation, worried I'd discover I really sucked at running. She was very helpful and encouraging, though. We talked about hip rotation, quad vs. hamstring recruitment, posture, mid-foot strike, turnover speed. I discovered there's a fair bit that I'm doing right just by good luck, and that most of the things I'd been thinking about adjusting were along the right lines. She gave me some good drills and exercises.

I'm not really interested in going faster or farther. I mostly just want to ensure that I can do my regular runs without risk of injury, and continue to feel like I'm getting stronger and more efficient. I am becoming a committed trail runner. The roads here are almost like trails, being lonely and beautiful and steep, but I relish freedom from asphalt and even rare traffic that the trails give me.

I'm toying with trying some barefoot running, or at least minimalist-footwear running. Fiona wants to start running trails with me again, and her pace and stamina would be a good place for me to start with that. Stay tuned for more on that!


  1. Anonymous12:41 a.m.

    As a runner (woman and mom as well) I do question why you run where it is "unpeopled" Do you worry about safety? I also wonder why you include your routes in your running information.

    Not being paranoid, but when I run I make certain I run in a well populated area, and would never make my routes public. You can never be too careful.

  2. Anonymous1:22 a.m.

    Hey, I've just recently read some articles about the barefoot thing which certainly sounds interesting and has got me more committed to staying barefoot as much as possible. The link is I look forward to hearing more.You have even got me thinking about trying out some running! Happy Springtime to you as we head into Autumn, JAcinda

  3. LOL, Anon, there's no such thing as "well-populated" here. My choices are between winding narrow highways with poor visibility, no shoulders and occasional vehicles, or unpeopled trails. I'll take the trails any day -- much lower risk!

  4. Thanks for the link Jacinda. The video comparing stride side to side barefoot and not was very convincing!

  5. There's a woman who is planning to run the 10K barefoot at our Bluenose event. I thought she was crazy at first, but I've read up on it since and was surprised to find out how good it is for you.

    I'll be looking forward to updates :)

  6. Surprised to hear that no-one else was training on Good Friday. DH ran a 48km "club run" that day, well-attended, even though many people had gone off to the Two Oceans 56km race in Cape Town for the Easter weekend. But I suppose we have the Comrades Marathon (actually a 90km ultra-marathon) that every runner seems to aspire to run, coming up in May, so running training is at a peak here now.

  7. Friday run clinic starts right after parents drop their kids off at school. There are normally 5 people there. Because two were going away for the holiday weekend, and kids were home from school meaning parents weren't free, plus it was very cold with fresh snow, it just happened that none of the 5 made it. Forty-eight km, wow! I am dying after less than 30.

  8. Anonymous, there's simply no such thing as well populated around here. My choices are winding mountain highways with poor visibility and occasional vehicles, or unpeopled trails. I'll take the trails any day -- for safety as well as aesthetics.

  9. Miranda, I admire both your physical strength and your ability to carve out time for something you like to do. Hooray for you!

    There's an annual 100-mile trail race here in Arkansas, mostly on the Ouachita Trail. We sometimes volunteer to help out. When you're up to a hundred miles, let me know -- we'll be your crew.


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