Boston Pi (Virtual)

Most everyone I know in the running community knows that in addition to Canadian thanksgiving, this weekend is also the Virtual Boston Marathon.

At least five people I know signed up for the race, which thanks to the pandemic was a once in a lifetime opportunity to run through your own streets, track it on the Boston Marathon app, and call it an official run.

I did not sign up.

… but I did go out on the dawn trails with a trio of friends who had signed up to run the pandemic version of the famous race.

When three of us tag-alongs met up with them early on Saturday morning near a local park, the sun was just peaking over the horizon and they had been at it for almost ten kilometers already.

We trotted into step with their route, followed it as it wend its way along the river, up in the neighbourhood, down into a local recreation area, and around the back side of a golf course. After about eight kilometers of support running, we turned back to where we’d left our cars … and ultimately logged just over thirteen klicks total even as we zoomed past a half dozen other virtual Boston’ers with their race bibs or support cyclists or multi-coloured tutus plodding along with fierce determination through the morning trails.

Our thirteen was not quite a marathon. Obviously. Not even quite a half marathon. I later calculated that my logged distance of 13.43 km as per my GPS watch, worked out to almost exactly one pi of a marathon. Weird. After all, forty two point two kilometers divided by thirteen point four-three kilometers equals three point one-four, or pretty much as close to one pi of a marathon as my technology can measure.

Mathematics and adventure collide on a Saturday morning in a curious way, it seems.

And then the event ended, and we cheered in the actual racers across the finish line via text message, as they completed their virtual distance … and won their real medals.

Terry Fox-ish

Every year on this weekend for a generation Canadians go for a run.

Forty years ago a young man named Terry Fox, long since deservedly held up as a national hero, attempted to run east to west across the country. He was in remission from cancer, and had lost a leg to it, but set anyways out to raise money and awareness.

He made it about a third of the way before ending his run and passing away shortly after.

The Terry Fox run is usually held annually on this very weekend and brings out countless folks from across the country to continue the run in spirit and memory.

It was a virtual run this year thanks to a lingering global pandemic.

So. It was pretty much a normal Sunday Runday for us.

Except.

Except a couple years ago one of our run crew passed from cancer.

Her family put up a memorial bench in the local dog park in our river valley, a convenient distance away for a modest Sunday run.

We might not have specifically run for Terry Fox this morning, but I’d like to think that ten of us adventuring down to find the bench, running through the autumn trails, and finding the memorial for our fallen crewmate was kinda a parallel effort in the right spirit of the day.

It’s All About the Trail Shoes

Sunday Runday and with less than two weeks until my first in-person race in over a year and a half I found myself facing a morning run dilemma.

New shoes.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about new shoes.

Quite the opposite.

While on vacation in the mountains a few weeks ago I finally found a pair of trail shoes in my size and splurged. The next morning I broke them in with an (a previously blogged about) eight kilometer trail run up some steep incline and early morning terrain in the wilderness beauty of our National Park system, and then …

… well … that dilemma I mentioned a couple paragraphs back compounded itself: I haven’t run any trail since, and the shoes had been sitting by my front door looking more forlorn than the dog when she needs her morning walk, and that other thing I mentioned in my opening sentence about an upcoming trail race kept nagging in the back of my mind.

In two weeks I’m headed back out to the trails we visited last month for our little adventure with the wasps. Apparently the wasp situation has cooled alongside the weather, but neither of those things cooling off negates the fact that I’m signed up to run a roller-coaster single track trail half marathon quasi-ultra later this month.

And as of this morning I’d run a mere eight kilometers in that brand new pair and brand new style (to me) of shoes.

I tossed them into my backseat this morning on my way to meet my running crew and humbly suggested that we maybe, possibly, if anyone was interested run some trails as our Sunday route.

There were some hefty dark clouds lurking to the west and the forecast (though cloudy and dry as we left) was for some light drizzle after a good soaking overnight.

We decended into the river valley and into the rain-soaked single track weaving through the forests. The leaves are starting to yellow as the days shorten and fall creeps ever closer.

By the time we exited that first stretch, my new shoes were clumped with mud and each weighed about a kilogram heavier than when I had entered.

I was also dragging a small branch clinging to my heel, and I pulled off to the side of the path to clear the worst of it into the wet grass.

A bit further down along we turned upwards towards a short ascent and into a utility corridor between the highway and the neighbourhood where the ankle-deep grass was still sopping with last night’s rain.

Onward looped us into more single track and by the time we found our exit back into the asphalt of the nearby suburban streets not only were all our feet soaking wet and muddy, but the rains had truly arrived and would not let up again until we were well done the other half of our morning run.

Soaked. Dirty. Tired. Epic.

All for a pair of trail shoes…

…and, oh, of course, the mental confidence that goes along with logging another medium-length trial run using those shoes, breaking them in, trialing them out, and generally assuring myself of their fit and function leading into that upcoming race.

Runner en Route

Sunday Runday, and the day slipped away from me.

I plodded out a ten kilometer loop in the wee hours of the morning, running with the same trusty group of friends who have kept me company through a summer of adventure running and virtual race training.

Yet over the summer something silly and spontaneous happened which I haven’t yet written about here.

I signed up for a half marathon.

A real one.

In person.

And.

It’s outside of Canada.

In the next few months.

Yeah.

I’m planning to travel.

On a plane.

With my family.

Have a small vacation.

And run a half marathon.

With people.

We thought it through.

We think we thought it through.

And we’re going.

To another country.

And I’m running a half marathon while we’re there.

Really.

That said, I’m not one hundred percent sure I’m comfortable with the whole thing yet, at least insomuch that I want to share any more details. Suffice it say, I am officially training for a race as of July. Yikes. During a stubbornly lingering pandemic. Double yikes.

More vague details to follow in a future post.