I went to the run

I went to the run today.

That sentence may not sound particularly impressive to many, but to those who know me well, it’s a revelation. I never go to the run. I really, really, really hate running. It’s the bane of my life, that out of all the dragon boat teams I could have joined in Toronto, I happened to join New Dragons Running Club.

Every Sunday morning throughout the winter, NDRC has an approximately 7.4 km run around High Park, which is two laps around the park (one top loop and one bottom loop count as one lap). In the three years I’ve been on the team, I’ve only been to the run once. And I didn’t even do the full two laps. In my first year of trying out, for the first run of the year, we only did one lap for some reason, so that’s all I did, and then I never went again.

To be fair, I’ve never just decided not to go to the run for no real reason. In my first year, I didn’t go mostly because I was studying for my qualification exam and many runs were cancelled due to the weather. In my second year, I just got really lucky with weather cancellations and not being in the province for several weekends.

Until today.

This year, I’ve been lucky so far in that I tried to be good and was doing the prescribed workout runs, but, likely due to being unused to that sort of volume along with terrible running form (heel striking and loosely-tied shoes that are too big for me), I got shin splints. Now, you may not think that shin splints are a good thing, but they were definitely a good thing because they meant that I had to rest for a while and not run. PERFECT EXCUSE. I did go to the hill runs, though, because uphill is lower impact than flat ground running. Unfortunately, they healed by Christmas and though I was out of the province again for the first run of the year, today I ran out of reasons to miss it.

So today…I went to the run.

I stuck with Seb as my running buddy. Linh originally said he’d run with us, but he’s way faster, even though he denies it, so we soon lost him. Ted also said he’d run with us, but fell off after the first loop (he has knee problems, being an old man). I was very grateful for a running buddy, particularly since my sense of direction sucks and I would get lost otherwise. I even called Seb out once when he tried to cut a corner (I guess he felt bad because he ended up going around it properly), though it might have been my fault since I apparently didn’t give him enough room around the poles.

At the end of the bottom loop, there’s a steep hill about 100 m in length. I died going up. At the top, I completely lost all will to live and started walking. Seb powered on and left me behind so I had to muster up the willpower to catch up to him again (EDIT: note that he waited for me to catch up by going slowly, so that was very nice of him). I kept with him for the first half of the second loop after which he stopped because of his hamstrings (he’s also an old man). Now here, I admit that I could have continued and done the second bottom loop myself but I am extremely not confident in my sense of direction (Chris will tell you that it sucks) and was quite sure I would get lost on my own, so I also decided to stop. I will also admit that I really did not want to continue. It was my first time, give me a break. It’s also a little disheartening to finish 1.5 laps after most people have already finished two. I hope Seb and Ted aren’t offended when I call them old men, because I myself have the fitness of a 40-year old man so really, we’re all in the same boat (disclaimer: neither of them is actually 40 yet).

No way out of it for next time, maybe I’ll try the full two laps. But only if I have a running buddy. Seb, I’m counting on you.

P.S. André apparently set a new record today, beating Ben’s old record by a second. Ben ought to buy André breakfast to commemorate the fact.

P.P.S. Unfortunately, André mentioned my blog to the rest of NDRC so now that they’ve found out about it, I’m preparing myself to be made fun of.

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