The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

23K... check.

Brooks Ghost2
The wind was howling, I heard the garbage cans rolling around outside. The rain ticked against the side of the house. I was certain it was falling as sleet. We had just "Sprung" forward, and although the clock clearly said 8 AM, my body surely still said 7. I got up still, knowing what lay ahead was to be a milestone in my running career. A new benchmark: 23 kilometers. Damn this marathon training plan.

I peeked through a crack in the blinds. "It's probably icy out there - if you want to go later I don't mind." -- the voice of an angel, Guylaine, my first reprieve of the day.

"You're probably right, well if you don't mind then..." and with that I hit the pillow again.

The clock said 9 AM. The kids, after a long day previously, were now up and jumping up and down on our bed. One small victory in the time-warp of Daylight savings: sixty extra minutes of peace and quiet from the energizer-bunny duo we so affectionately refer to as The Kids.

"Can we set up my fish tank now? Can we, can we, can we, please, please, please." Begged an anxious Andrew. Consumed with desire that only an eleven year old with a new fish-tank bought the day before can be consumed with first thing in the morning.

"Excellent," I thought to myself, at least another hour of procrastination.

Alas, for better of for worse, around 10:30, I was heading out for the run. I needed to pick a route that would take me 11 and half out, and thus 11 and a half back. There was no chance I was going to do two 10 k loops, for I knew I would want to pack it in after the first loop. In order to manage this distance, I needed to have to run half the distance out forcing me to run the same distance back home. The GPS unit in my head seemed to recall the Marleau > Tyotown > Rae Road > Montreal loop would be about the right distance. So off I went.

Did I mention the wind? It was without a doubt, the windiest day I have ever run in. Fortunately I was running directly into the wind on the way out. The merits of which I debated: was it really better to have the wind at your back on the way home at the expense of wasting extra energy at the start fighting the wind?

The first k, clicked off at 5:40. I was surprised with that. Must be the new shoes.

WHAT- are you telling me that you ran 23 K in a brand new pair of unbroken in shoes?

Yes. Brooks Ghost2. My last pair were Brooks Ghost. More or less the same shoe, I rationalized. I highly don't recommend this reasoning. But 2 days later and I'm still not feeling any ill-effects of my decision. I figured it was the lesser of 2 evils. 23K on new shoes or 23K on dead shoes with over 650K.

I digress.

Did I mention the hills? Again, for some reason, I figured that since I was going to go far, I may as well make it as challenging as possible, so I chose the hilliest route. Running uphill into the wind could only mean running downhill with the wind at my back on the way home. It more-or-less worked out ok.

Anyhoo, as I was on the home stretch, I realized I was going to be 5K short. I managed to talk myself out of bailing on the last 5K, and added an extra cross-town jaunt. 2 hours and 15 minutes later I was in front of my house. 22.75 km. Damn my need for precision: I ran up and down the street to top me up. 22.96. Shoot - I ran a 20meter circle a couple of times in front of my drive way. 23K. Finished.

As I was running, something really impressed me : 1 Marathon training is way harder than I expected. It's very difficult to "slip" in a 2-and-half hour run in the middle of regular family life. I was feeling particularly selfish for the last 60 minutes - and all I could think of was the looming 32K run.