Thursday, February 7, 2008

Week of February 4 to 10

Wednesday:  7.14 miles (steady run) 9.42 pace, -20 (-31 wind chill).  Route 90/Sterling Lyon Parkway/Shaftsbury/ forest trail/ Grant/ Chalfont/ Corydon/ Park Boulevard/ Grant
Brrr... We ran headlong into a very strong wind for the first mile.  The gusts were overpowering in places and slowed our progress to a crawl.  Good thing I had that peanut-butter sandwich before I left... it provide just enough ballast to prevent me from becoming airborne!  As we veered west on Sterling Lyon Parkway the scrub forest off our left shoulder provided respite from said cruel wind.  We were singing along, carefree and happy until the trail became log jammed with deep finger-like snow drifts.  They were too wide to hop over and too deep to ignore so we plowed forward.  Ahhh, what the hell, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger!  Vivian had this nifty little head lamp which lit the way through the darkest of trails.  Too bad it didn't zap the drifts.  We continued on through Assiniboine Forest south of Grant.  The trail through this fairy tale-like forest was peaceful and beautifully calm... no wind, clean trails, happy runners fore and aft... what more could a guy ask for?  We joined up with Tom's 2:15 group for the last bit.  It was a good run with good company.  Bernie and George joined us on this run; nice to have them along for the ride. 
Thursday:  5.0 miles, 9.11 pace (race pace),  -9 (-17 wind chill), Running Room/ Chalfont loop.
Vivian, Sandra, Gwen.  Just the four of us this evening.  A good quick pace.  I received major flack from the group because I mistakingly told them last night that this evening's run was to be 3.5 mile not 5, and I "never mentioned anything about race pace!"  In checking the schedule I have learned I goofed... according to the schedule it should have been a steady run, not race pace. I got the 5 mile part right though.  Sorry team,  can you forgive me?  will you thank me on race day? do I still have your respect and admiration? 
It's indeed sweet to have the gentler climes return, if even for a day.  The forecast is not looking good for the weekend.  Blizzard warning with severe wind chill is in the forecast (note to friendly Vancourverites... all wind chill is severe!).  The 12.5 miler at Fort Whyte should prove to be an interesting run (i.e. read chilly).   Hopefully it won't foreshadow what's to come on race day. 
Friday: 7.24 miles, 10:36 pace, -14 (-17 wind chill), school commute, play list Michael Franti & Spearhead
Nothing new to report on this run.  It is becoming a weekly pattern, which I enjoy more each and every week. I find myself actually anticipating the run throughout the day.  I'll change up the route next time to keep it interesting and fresh.  If you're ever in Transcona on a Friday afternoon, give me a call... I know all the good routes.
Saturday: Great Grain Relay, 135.4  laps/ 2 hours (1 lap = 200 meters, 135.4 laps = 27.08 kilometers, 3.5 miles each), -25 (-42 wind chill) but who cares?... it was indoors! 
Kudos to the organizers of the Great Grain Relay. This is one fine event, and the best part, it's indoors while a wicked blizzard is howling outdoors.  The perfect storm!  It took more energy getting to the event than the actual run itself. Running outdoors today would have been out of the question even for hearty Winnipegers who give nary a thought of logging 10+ miles in -40 weather.  This was a nice break, ummm, make that a divine intervention from the same-old-same-old cold weather distance running. It was invigorating to change things up a bit from the normal routine of logging miles, logging miles, logging miles, miles, miles, miles!  Running in shorts and a light tee shirt, twas brilliant... it the little thing that count in life, the simple pleasures. Dare I say it... distant sweet memories of summer flicker and glow faintly deep in the cerebellum, awakening forgotten pleasures ... patience grasshopper, soon this will pass, soon flowers will bloom, soon birds will tweet, soon...  
Let me introduce Team Marauders (photo forthcoming)...
Mario:  eager, enthusiastic, happy and our unofficial leader.
Gill:  intelligent, fit, natural and makes dynamite cookies (recipe to follow).
Ken: inviting, content, relaxed and provided a cooler full of... water.
Deb: focussed, reflective, caring and parachuted in at the last minute to save the team.
Marilyn:  patient, dedicated, organized and counted grown adults running in circles for two hours, thus the patience moniker.
Although we logged only 3.5 miles each my old bones told me it was more like 7 or 10 miles. Sprinting is not what we normally do... we're distance runners and all those youngsters who zoomed past us probably couldn't log half the miles we do in one week.  Man, we're there ever some fast dudes and dudettes.  The collective opinion of the event is it was great fun, superbly organized, and a nice treat from our normal regime.  It's officially on my "to run" list for next year. Thanks again to the good folks who organized this fine event and the blizzard.
Sunday, 11.66 miles, 10:43 pace (with walks)  -32 (-47 wind chill) Hypothermic route.
This was officially the coldest run of the year (a close 2nd is January 21 at -41) .  As Tom said "even the buffalo thought we were crazy" to which I add "yes, and so does my wife"!  Why do we do what we do?  Especially in this kind of weather.  Our pals in Vancouver and Toronto must wonder what it's like to have faces burned by the wind or stomach blotchy with frost or derrieres chilled to the core.  I invite you to comment or send me an email explaining from your perspective why you run in these condition.  Or, if you're reading this in warmer climes, what do you think? Are we certified nut bars or extreme athletes?  Do drop a line, don't be shy.  
After yesterday's blizzard I was expecting horrible trails, but to our delight they were in stellar conditions.  Hats off to Fortwhyte staff for plowing the entire Alive Trail in difficult conditions and for opening the gate a full 2 hours early for our convenience.  Crossing the open field with the wind searing full frontal provided an image of life on Mars.  It was brutally beautiful and witnessed only be the few of us.  Yes it was horribly cold and the wind blew hard, but it was also magnificently surreal and powerfully intense.  
The breakfast, ahh the breakfast.   Fortwhyte did not disappoint.  Aside from the coffee urn running empty on occasion  it was a delicious feast and is a mere glimpse of what we can expect on race day.  And now, as promised, Gills famous Mikey approved...
Not so bad for you cookies! (printed with Gill's permission)
1 cup margarine
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar (I put in about ¾ c in all)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Then you can add 5 cups of anything, I put in
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup nuts
1 cup seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, flax, sesame
1 cup raisins and cranberries
1 cup chocolate chips (but of course I only put in ½ cup of these!)
I also put in a good handful of ground flax.  This all makes a lot of cookies but they freeze very well.  Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla and eggs and cream a bit more. Mix in dry ingredients and then add your 5 cups and mix.  Drop by tsp or however you big you want them, onto a cookie sheet, press them down a bit and bake at 350 for 10 – 12 minutes.  Enjoy!  (we will Gill, we will:>))
On a more serious matter our thoughts and prayers go out to Chris, Shelley, and family.  Get well Chris.  Take good care Shelley, Your Running Pals.
Total Week Mileage = 34.54 miles

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