Saturday, January 29, 2005


I drove 800 kilometres in the last two days, a quick round trip to the University of the Okanagan in Kelowna to screen The Vanishing Tattoo, for the Anthropology Dept. and to speak with the audience.

I was surprised how much the long drive reminded me of running. I was out of radio reception soon after leaving Vancouver and rather than play music I was quite content to be alone with my thoughts. The weather was bright and clear for the first time in weeks and the road was bare. The miles rolled by beneath me and the scenery unraveled before me. It reminded me nothing so much as a long, slow, easy Sunday morning run. There is as much to be said for the long solitary run just as there is for the many benefits and joys that come from running with a group. It’s amazing how little time one has to be alone in this day and age. Running for me has always been a great way to sort out my day, shuffle my thoughts and mull over what is happening in my life. Right now I seem to be stuck in a bit of a rut, waiting for pots to boil and chickens to hatch.

Today I ran 9.6 miles, or 15.5K, up to the University of British Columbia from my house, near 4th Avenue and McDonald Street, in an hour and about 45 minutes. From my front door to the bottom of the hill at the end of Spanish Banks Beach, is a perfect 10K round trip, the top of the hill is exactly 12.5K and the entrance to Wreck Beach is not quite 16K. I love this run. Wreck Beach, one of the world’s foremost clothing optional beaches, would be incentive enough, but the road to UBC has the infamous ‘UBC Hill’. The hill is about a mile and a quarter from the top to the bottom. I usually run it every Friday and since I started this pattern, hills have become much easier to do in all my other training, something I’m sure most of my regular running buddies would attest to.

Looking back over the last two weeks I realize that my runs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays have slowly been turning into races. Normally I am content to run at my own pace and let everyone else do their own thing. Of course I can hear loud braying and guffaws from Seymour as I write this. But all chortling aside, this whole ‘Boston or Bust’ thing has really sharpened my competitive instincts even more than usual. And some of the people I’ve been pacing myself with are ten, fifteen and twenty years younger than me. And much, much fitter I might add. I just have to let it go and focus and concentrate on my long-term plan or I can see myself burning out long before October. Time to impose a little self-discipline.

January is almost over, and after Sunday’s long run on the 30th, I’ll summarize my first month of training to qualify for Boston. You know, mileage run, weight lost, all that good stuff I promised and have been dreading since day one of this little exercise.


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