In whatever nature throws at us

Wednesday was a crazy practice run.

That shit cray?

Yes, Kanye, that shit cray.

Now don’t interrupt me again. This ain’t Taylor Swift you’re pestering. Storm my stage and interrupt me and I will knock you on your arse.

We had gotten through two days of rain when I set out for the Running Room. Since I don’t do Greco in the morning on Wednesdays, I get a little stir crazy and usually head out early and grab tea at Bridgehead before the run. It also gives me a chance to hang out with Kalin for a bit before we split up into our separate clinics.

It was Kalin’s first run since the accident. She was looking forward to it. She was only able to complete one 10 minute interval before her ankle flared up, but that’s 10 more minutes than she would have done otherwise. Her history in sports has helped speed her recovery greatly. I have no doubt she will do well Ottawa Race Weekend. It might not be as well as she wanted to do before she was hit, but considering she’ll be racing just a little over a month after she was hit by a car just making it to the start line is an accomplishment.

Since her accident, we’ve been both extremely cautious pedestrians. She actually chased down a driver who almost clipped her again outside of Loblaws this week. I accosted a cyclist yesterday who seemed to think traffic signals didn’t apply to him.

By the way, as bad as the drivers are in this town, what the fuck is with the cyclists? It’s a pretty common occurrence in my neighbourhood to watch cyclists run red lights or stop signs. I had a physical altercation with such a cyclist last summer. He ran a red and almost collided with me on the crosswalk. I was on my feet in the end. He was on his ass. Then there’s the Lance Armstrong wannabes along the pathways. One was so rude to my runners one Sunday morning, Easter Sunday actually, I offered to make his bicycle seat a permanent part of his anatomy.

A month ago, I watched a cyclist almost get hit by a car just a block from my apartment building. The cyclist failed to even slow down, more or less stop at the stop sign. Luckily the car stopped and, for the driver’s trouble, he was accosted by the cyclist for not potentially killing them. I had to interject and shout, “Hey, you’re the asshole who didn’t stop at a stop sign!”

The cyclists in this town don’t think the traffic laws apply to them. Not only do they apply, so do the laws of physics. In car vs. bicycle collision, the operator of the car walks away every time.

Back to Thursday, Kalin and I were crossing Wellington St. in front of the Chateau Laurier when a cyclist, a true devotee to the religion with his spandex and helmet, failed to stop at the line for the red light. He did stop mere inches from me. “See that?” I asked pointing to the red light above me that was facing him.


“Obey it!” Maybe it was the Christian vibes from the right-to-lifers still lingering around the parliamentary precinct following the annual March for Life or the mere fact there were a couple of hundred potential witnesses who could testify at my trial, I resisted the natural temptation to demonstrate what happens when cyclist meets fist.

Pedestrians aren’t saints, either. We’re not surrounded with I’ve seen some use the segregated bike lane on Laurier as their personal sidewalk overflow. The bottom line is: obey the rules and we all get along in the shared space that is our city.

Back to the chaos of Wednesday, my half marathon clinic was doing speed drills again. We were barely done the first mile-long interval when the rain started again. It was a pounding rain, too. As we were proceeded through our drills, distant thunder grew closer. Lightning soon followed.

Once we finished the final lap of our third mile, the storm was fully upon us. Not since I ran in an F-0 tornado last year had I run in such terrible weather.  Ironically, one of the participants from the clinic that ran in that tornado was running with me Wednesday night. She’s a nice girl, but she might be a bit of a jinx.

The rain was coming down in sheets. The thunder was rumbling like a truck barrelling down the highway. Chain lightning arched a crossed the sky.

It was time to JFDI and GTFO.

I didn’t bother leading them on a walk lap after the fast mile was done.  Instead, we collected our gear and went right into our steady run back to the store. With it so miserable out, the steady run was closer to a tempo run. As you can tell from the map (click the link above), we also took a shorter route back to the store. As we ran up O’Connor, we encountered the odd pedestrian or cyclist braving the weather. One pack of hipsters took one look at us and said, “Whoa, these guys are hardcore.”

Yes, we were hardcore, but I was the only guy. Other than myself, there were only two men in my group Wednesday night and both finished early due to injuries flaring up.

Once at the store, I didn’t see much point in getting changed into dry clothes. It was raining so hard the running shell I brought as a jacket would be quickly soaked through, along with whatever I wore under it. I was already soaked to the bone. There wasn’t a single square inch of dry left on me. At that point, I figured it was best to just get home and get under a hot shower. Changing would have only delayed the inevitable.

I made a brief stop at Bridgehead for some tea to warm up the insides for the walk home. I should have just run home, but truth be told, I hadn’t had dinner yet so my tank was pretty empty. I walked as fast as my cold, wet, and tired legs could take me.

On the walk home, I ran into Vicky’s boss, the Honourable Rose-May Poirier. She looked at me and said, “Michael, you’re going to get soaked!”

I looked myself up and down, including my raisin-like finger tips, chuckled and replied, “With all due respect, Senator, I think I’m already there.”

By the time I got back to my apartment, my hands were so numb that I was having trouble typing text messages on my iPhone. The pruned finger tips didn’t help. I showered and ordered some dinner.

I’d like to say that I got up the next morning and, like a boss, went to my usual Extreme Lean class at Greco. I would like to say that, but I can’t. I forgot to set my alarm and woke up too late to get there. My late dinner also meant that I didn’t sleep very well. I’ve been there pretty religiously this year, so I think I can take a day.

We started off with such great weather this week. Sunday’s 18K LSD was gorgeous. The sun was out, the heat was in the low teens. Perfect running weather. The route was a nice mix concrete sidewalks, asphalt roads, and trails, both gravelled and ungravelled. We ran through the conservation area in Rockcliffe park and it’s very narrow wooded trails along Lake MacKay.

I even got my first sunburn of the year. It’s evolved into nice farmer’s tan that is dark brown until the mid-bicep where it reverts back to white. Thankfully, the same is not true for my lower half. You can imagine what my predilection for running in shorts and knee-high compression socks could generate in tan lines.

It was pretty humid Tuesday for our 6K tempo run.  It seemed to take forever for my Garmin to get a signal so I let the 2:15 and 2:30 groups go ahead. It gave my runners some early confidence boosting to pass them. I didn’t dress properly for the weather and wore a top that was too loose for the weather. Longtime readers will know what that’s a recipe for: nipple chafing.

Yep, I did it again. It was just some slight chafing and has already healed.

We pretty much ran the gamut of weather this week.  We’re ending the week as we began it, with a gloriously sunny day.

As I’ve said before and will say again, I will train in whatever nature throws at us so I can race in whatever nature throws at us.

Even if it includes cars and cyclists.



3 responses

  1. Wow I completely missed that your girlfriend was hit by a car! That’s very scary – could have been much worse. I’m glad she’s feeling better so soon – being fit doesn’t always have a bearing on recovery time (I’m a case in point ) so that’s awesome!

    Wednesday was crazy! In Kanata, the marathoners insisted on going out (just a quick 10k) but the manager brought the half marathon group in and I brought my 5k group in before we even got started really. The lightening came from far to near so quickly next thing you know it was pouring and hail-like!

    You must be excited about race weekend! I’m volunteering on the route for 5k so if I see your kalin I’ll cheer her on! I’ll be at the 14k mark (Tunney’s) at water table for marathon route – I think the half marathon follows same route there, so hopefully I’ll see you and be able to cheer you on!! 🙂

    Keep up the great work!

  2. Thanks. Kalin’s history in dance, of all things, probably spared her severe injury. The worst she suffered was some deep tissue injury to her leg, which has mostly healed. Other than that, it was minor cuts and some bruises. Very thankful it wasn’t worse.

    Yeah, it wasn’t long after we heard that first rumble that the rain hit and the lightning followed. As miserable as the weather made the trip home, I’m actually glad to have not needed to drive in that. I’ve been caught in severe thunderstorms before and they can be worse than snowstorms. I was once caught in one while driving a rural New Brunswick highway where I was literally on the edge of the storm system and the sun was out, beaming light on the rain collecting on the road. A pair of polarized sunglasses saved me that day.

    Looking forward to race day. Hope to see you at Tunney’s.

  3. […] faster than the prescribed 5:15 pace. Thankfully the weather for Wednesday was much better than last week. We’ll find out if they can keep it up as we move on to training at race pace on […]

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