Big Canada

Sunday Runday and I waited until today to finally make a big blogging deal about the latest running adventure in which I’ve signed up to participate. I’ve been sitting on it for a couple weeks and have been excited to post about it.

In fact, shortly after I wrote about running inspiration and alluded to my good friend who was just finishing up a virtual cross-Canada race logging nearly five thousand kilometers over twelve months, the same friend sent out a group chat wondering if anyone would be interested in something similar this year, but in relay form. He wasn’t keen on the solo route again.

Eight of us put up our hands, and dropped our cash on the table… and that’s how about three weeks ago I found myself signed up for “leg number two” of The Big Canada Run where the nine of us are going to need to log ten thousand kilometers between July 1st and June 30th of next year.

Ten. Thousand.

10,000 km.

That’s about sixty-two hundred miles for you imperial system folks.

And as I’m writing this on July 4th, you can probably imagine that we’ve already started logging those kilometers… and yes, your imagination would be very correct.

Our team is currently sitting at just barely two percent done having kicked off the meandering virtual trip across the continental map with a group breakfast run on our July 1st Canada Day holiday in the scorching hot weather which ended, as all breakfast runs should, with an eggs and bacon picnic in the grass beside a freeway. Yup, really.

With my share of ten thousand klicks to clock, it could prove to be a very interesting running year for me. Perhaps it might even inspire me to train a little harder and do some races that are a little more based in reality, y’know, sooner than later.

And I’ll drop some further updates when we hit significant milestones. Stay tuned.

Double Tap, Catching Up

Sunday Runday and today I didn’t.

I woke up nursing my second dose vaccine hangover, and feeling as tho I had just run a half marathon. The crew was due to run at least that much, so it didn’t take much convincing to ping everyone and let them know I was going to bail out.

Of course, the problem with skipping a long run as your running partners keep the training schedule, is that there’s really no such thing as catching up. You either run or you don’t. You either train or you don’t. Outside of the racing, the only measuring stick is the one you hold up to yourself.

In other words, I fell a little behind today, but got a bit ahead of that pesky virus.

Hopefully I feel a little bit more like myself tomorrow.

Social Distances

Sunday Runday, and that familiar epic-tired-queezy feeling is settling in for the afternoon, and I don’t remember if it’s a good thing or the part of the long runs that I didn’t like.

I hadn’t run more than a dozen kilometers in the better part of a year, certainly not over the winter, and during the heights of restrictions I was dutifully cranking out a ten klick run to keep up the milage, but last week we topped out at sixteen and this morning someone suggested adding a few more onto that.

Nineteen kilometers of river valley trail later, I’ve showered, eaten lunch, and am sipping at a big glass of ice water, but still: Epic-tired. Queezy. So familiar.

The restrictions opened up a little more this past week and we were able to be even a little more social running these longer distances, gathering in as big of a group of friends as I’ve been around in months, even if it was just ten of us in a parking lot lacing up for a long trot through the trails and trees, across bridges, and down winding, root-tangled dirt paths.

Those kinds of distances evoke post-run feelings that I haven’t felt in almost a year. I have these people back again to urge me further and faster. So we do.

But right now I think I might need a nap.

One Part Perspiration, One Part Inspiration

It’s Sunday Runday and I slogged out another solo ten kilometer run this morning as I await the official lifting of a few of those pandemic restrictions later this week.

And though I should have spent yesterday afternoon running twenty-five klicks through some local trails, I found I struggled more than usual this morning just knocking off ten.

All my training, it turns out, is as much about inspiration as it is about the actual mileage.

How to Get Inspired To Run

Set a Race Goal

And even though there is not much left of this racing season save for a long list of virtual competitions, I find myself wondering if I might have been to hasty in declaring my reluctance to enter any of these. In fact, my next door neighbour (someone who is not generally a runner) stuck her nose over my fence last week to let me know that she’d signed up for the our city‘s annual ten kilometer run, and all weekend she has been logging some of her own solo mileage around the neighbourhood. She’s probably logged more than me, to be honest. A race goal marks a very specific X on the calendar with a clear objective. Virtual or not, this gets a lot of people off the couch and onto the paths.

Set a Mega Goal

Back when I wrote a more personal blog I used to try to give some additional context to my readers (mostly friends and family) about the kinds of distances I was clocking. I called these my mega-goals, as in I was going to run from Edmonton to Vancouver, a distance of about eleven hundred and fifty kilometers. I was going to do this “on paper” as in, I would incrementally log my distances day by day and week by week, plotting them out on a map and updating my blog readers with posts, maps, and explanations of how far I’d run. It was also a huge personal inspiration, knowing that I was only twenty klicks away from crossing that border or five klicks away from such and such a town.

Of course, you can combine this with a virtual race such as a couple of my friends did recently competing in the Great Canadian Crossing each logging a mega fourty-eight hundred kilometers over the last twelve months.

Write it Down

Or post it. Or blog it. Or Instagram it. I put all my runs on Strava which is a great big fitness social media network for athletes of all ability. I also previously posted a spreadsheet that I use to track all that stuff. It works. Accountability to a formalized accounting of all those numbers can inspire us to do all sorts of things whether we do it to log a streak, get the virtual badge or not be left out of showing up on the activity feed on a Sunday morning.

Run with Friends

And last, but definitely not least, the one that keeps me most inspired is having others to run with. Just this last week I was sitting at my desk feeling sorry for myself as work was wrapping up for the day. My phone chimed and one of my run crew’s name showed up on my phone with a “I’m working in your neighbourhood. Up for a short run?” I replied in the affirmative and had my gear on ten minutes later. He got off work. I got off work. We ran a solid seven klicks before supper, and probably seven klicks neither of us would have run alone that evening. I often say one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life is take up this running sport, but half the reason I say that is because of the people I’ve met signing up with a running crew. I’ve run a multitude of races, logged thousands or tens of thousands of kilometers, and kept in great shape. A year of solo-ish running has made me realize that’s in no small part to having other people to inspire me onward.