Friday, October 6, 2017

What have I become?

I've talked in the past about my propensity to train later in the day, even running through the sunset and well into the night instead of being the typical up-and-at-'em runner who gets things done first thing in the morning.

Sunrise over the Grand River - not something I generally see

I have my reasons - apart from the fact I lift weights in the morning most days before work and it being more convenient for me to train either on my lunch or after work, there's physiological evidence that running in the morning is a poor idea. Body temperature is low, muscles are stiff, lung function is at its ebb, and you're generally not well fueled - all impediments to running performance, if not actually putting you at increased injury risk. 

Particularly if you get between me and a cup of coffee..

I know that races (with very few exceptions) are run in the morning, but that doesn't mean I need to sacrifice precious sleep in order to simulate race conditions. Most of the events in which I participate these days carry on well into the afternoon, and I get better heat acclimatization training between 3pm and 10pm than I would first thing in the morning. We also hit our local farmers' market every Saturday morning and then go home and have brunch, so it's typically at least mid-afternoon before I hit the trails. Sundays I just plain sleep the hell in, since it's the one day per week that I can see double digits on the clock before I have to be out of bed.

That changed significantly when we were in Alberta in late September. Because I ran both Saturday and Sunday with my sister-in-law's running group, I was out first thing in the morning despite the freezing conditions.

That tiny dot by a stalk of grass there? That's me.
Nothing like mountains to make you feel tiny and insignificant.

The trend continued into Monday morning when I ran alone, simply because it was the best time for me to make sure I got a run in down beautiful 12 Mile Coulée before we had visiting to do and a flight to catch. I figured as soon as we got home it would be business as usual again.

It was, for a couple of days...when of course I went from freezing cold weather to something like a soggier version of the surface of the sun.


Lunch runs on Tuesday and Wednesday (~3:30pm), then after work and errands on Thursday. Friday off as usual, but then Saturday we had to drop the car off for some work at the dealership. Ordinarily I ride my bike down the trails to the market and meet Tanker there, but something possessed me to run down this time. Of course, that meant leaving the house at 7:30am with a change of clothes in my pack for when I got to the market.

What witchcraft is this?
It was chilly (6c), but the morning sun was beautiful along the Grand River on the RARE Charitable Research Reserve trails. I had to break through about a million cobwebs - another advantage of running later is that they're usually all gone! - but found my spirit animal along Blair Road.

We were both a bit pokey and carrying a ridiculous amount on our backs.

I also ran past 3 separate choir groups holding practice in the woods, which was a bit surreal - the first instance was a pack of incredibly talented women singing some sort of chorale in 6-part harmony. I'd initially thought someone had brought a portable stereo into the woods to play during some kind of meditation or yoga practice: the reality was all the more surprising. I felt quite creaky and bleary-eyed, but the beauty of the trails and sunshine meant it didn't suck that much. Good thing, too, since I was back up and at it the very next morning.

Less with the beautiful, forested trail though.

It wasn't as early (I started around 9:35am), but it was even chillier and I questioned my sanity as I headed up to Mount Trashmore (McLennan Park) to run around in circles. None of this would be appealing at all if it weren't for excellent company.

Rhonda doing her first ultra distance run in months with Catherine & Clay for company

Two badass ladies and one huge dork.
Catherine and Debbie rawk!

12km later (I'd only meant to run 8k - these damn bad influences!), I was heading home for a solid brunch with Tank as I'd only had a wee bowl of oatmeal to get me going in the morning.

I'd be happy enough to leave it at that, and was back to afternoon/evening running all this week...but I'll be up early for a third Saturday in a row tomorrow!

For this little wander in the woods.
They suckered me with a hoodie!

Then I'd be more than happy to just sleep in on Sunday - after all, if I make it through tomorrow I think I'll have earned it - but there's another group run event at which I said I'd show up (even if just to hike a little) at Huron Natural Area at 9am that morning. 

At least Monday is a holiday - I've got a date with my bed!

Two dates, actually. As much as I do love to camp, I'm sincerely grateful that for the first time since May I'll actually be racing from home this weekend. I didn't need to get ALL THE THINGS done last night; I don't have a campsite to set up this evening; I can make my pre-race dinner in a proper kitchen; and I can snuggle into my own, cozy bed tonight before having to get up long before the sun. No oatmeal by headlamp tomorrow morning, either! 


That's not to say camping won't be on my mind, though. We're actually leaving next Tuesday for a few days up at Killbear, so I'll be packing after we get home from Huron on Sunday and you'll be spared my blathering and idiotic crayon art for a week. Won't that be nice?

I guess I'll find out when we're camping whether or not I truly have turned into a morning runner, or if it was simply a passing madness.

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