12.10.09 w9 d1

It is a Rest Day.  This is a good thing as it is a travel day as well.  After a very nice visit with my mom for thanksgiving, we are up and on the road early in order to catch the 12:30 ferry back to PE.

13.10.09 w9 d2

After a long weekend of too much good food, excess wine, wonderful running in Cape Breton, and a truly nice visit with my mom, I am rolling out of bed in the dark to again run my familiar route.  It is only a 5k which is required of me today. Psyklawps seems quite willing to be my partner.

We head down the driveway in the dark.  It is an overcast early morning, only a couple of degrees above freezing and I am warmly dressed.  The darkness wraps around me, gently.  My first steps are, as usual, tentative because i am not a runner.  Quickly though I find a stride, a rhythm, a pattern.  My cardiovascular system begins to synchronize with my respiratory system.  My muscular system and skeletal system weave themselves into an arrangement which is rich in complexity.  My nervous system aligns with my endocrine system aligns with my integumentary system.  I am, at once, syncopating and expanding.  I am condensed.  I am amplified.  I exist is multiple possibilities.   I am running.

I am running.  And I do this until it is time to stop.  It is a strong, assured run which ends with pleasure, satisfaction, humility, contentment.

14.10.09 w9 d3

I wake up in Ottawa.  I fumble for the off button on an unfamiliar alarm clock in the hotel room.   I force my way into some running gear while I wait for a weather report to fill my computer screen.  It is just below freezing, so I pull on a hat, grab my gloves and put my hotel key into my pocket. It is time for a 40 minute tempo run.

At the front desk I ask if I should turn right or left out the front door for Rideau Street and I am off.  I take a right onto Rideau from Nicholas and I become just another moving shadow under the street lights.  Some shadows are long, slow and slumped as they head homeward, tired, at the end of another night shift.  Some move with energy, heading into the morning darkness, the early openers of city life, perking the caffeine and turning back the bolts of the daily grind.  One shadow is the running stranger.  Gazing downward for sidewalk heaves, while gazing upward for crossing signals, scoping interesting dining possibilities and marking return run landmarks.

I run into the Ottawa-Carlton district and Vanier section of the city.  I spy familiar locations — a Chinese buffet restaurant where I once dined with friends now lost, a corner where I caught a cab to the Hard Rock Cafe.  There are many memories here, in the capital city, where I once traveled regularly in my former life with SOS Children’s Villages.

I reach a 20 minute turnaround point at the corner of Montreal Road and Begin Street; I like the name of this street.  As I return to the hotel, the city yawns and stretches and begins its day.  People wait at corners for buses and beetle along sidewalks in the chill morning air.  I tumble into the shower and head down for a great breakfast with a group of truly great women from across this country.

15.10.09 w9 d4

My second training run in Ottawa, and it comes after a late night at the Empire Grill where 30 of us shared great food, an ever expanding collection of emptied wine bottles, stories and great laughs.  (As an aside, one of the workshop facilitators disclosed her familial relationship to Stompin’ Tom Connors and was sufficiently relaxed, shall we say, to demonstrate some fine stompin’ herself.)

running by Parliament Hill

running by parliament hill

I manage to pull myself together around 6:00am. It is about 5 degrees below zero; the chilly morning air bites through my gloves and stings my nose and jawline.  It wakes me quickly.

Today I head the other dirction on Rideau so I can run along Parliament Hill and in some familiar parts of downtown.  I have always liked Ottawa; it is the only place I have visited where the back alleys are clean and tidy.  I don’t run the alleys today, though I have before.  Rather I shuffle amidst other sunshine deprived folks who hunch inside their jackets and cross against the lights in the sparse traffic of this hour.

The run is invigorating.  I estimate 5k based on my time and am thankful for starting the day in such a head-clearing way.

16.10.09 w9 d5

I have officially finished my 10k training.  Today and tomorrow are both Rest Days before the event on Sunday.  I will do some yoga this evening and pick up my race kit as well.  Tomorrow I will also do yoga and, if I manage my time really well, a bit of a walk.

I am truly thankful for this coming-to-an-end-ness as I have just about come to the limit of my early morning darkness and ever-decreasing temperatures tolerance.  The current forecast for Sunday is a mix of sun and cloud with a high of 10.  I hope this remains the case though it surely remains to be seen.

My goal for Sunday is to break 70minutes in completing the 10k.  When I embarked upon this training schedule I am assured I could not have met this goal.  Today I am confident of my ability to do so, given friendly weather conditions on October 18th.

Perhaps there is a shooting star for every fallen not a runner…

10k training is finished

10k training is finished