Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Running into trouble

You may recall one of my posts from December, entitled 'Getting JANED,' in which I described my extraordinary ability to dart across busy streets and always emerge unscathed. I have been known to traverse roads, bridges and highways in ninja-like fashion, dodging cars so narrowly that getting 'JANED' - or 'almost hit' - has become my trademark. In the last four months, my feline-like reflexes have improved even further, having faced sleet and snow-covered roads throughout the winter and still managing to dodge cars, bikes and even wild animals (okay, they may only have been pigeons and dogs, but in Toronto that's considered wild). I would say I am becoming somewhat of a world talent in what I would call 'cautiously risky speed street crossing' and take pride in the fact that I never have to stop my watch during a 12-mile run through the streets of downtown Toronto.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, this weekend it happened: my risky street-crossing tendencies finally got me into trouble. Before you jump to any foolish conclusions, I will state that NO, I did not get hit. Obviously this would never happen. And although it may have appeared to be a close-call, in my opinion it wasn't close at all - in fact, it was one of my less risky moves that day. It just happened to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

On Saturday I meet 2Kats (Katie and Kat) for a 40k run beginning at 6:30AM. I was in no mood to dilly-dally, as my family was visiting from out of town and I had to meet them for breakfast at 10:30AM. We ran at an easy pace to Mount Pleasant Cemetery, down the Moore Park Ravine, around the cemetery some more, down the Beltline twice, through Cedarvale, past Churchill, until we had gone through every park possible in mid-town Toronto. When we finally headed back downtown we were already three hours into the run and our legs were tightening up with every pause at a stoplight. We wanted to get home, and FAST. Naturally, when I came to a red light and saw a GAPING HOLE before the next car was to come through, I dashed through it. I made it to the sidewalk without a glitch (with ample time to spare, of course) and slowed my pace so that the 2Kat's could catch up (they have some work to do in the world of traffic dodging). The next thing I know, I hear sirens wailing and a cop car pull up beside me. I kept running, thinking there was no way their stern glares were directed at me...until they roll down the window and start yelling at me to stop. Uh-oh. I stop my watch and walk over to the car and nonchalantly say hello. Perhaps they just want to chat? Unfortunately not. 'What are you thinking?' they asked incredulously. 'You were nearly hit by that car!' 'Umm…(I breathe an inaudible 'Not really' under my breath, then look up at them and respond) 'Sorry! I guess I wasn't paying attention.' Now THAT'S a great answer, I think to myself. Perhaps I should also tell them that I don't pay attention while driving, either? 'Well I know you are timing your run, but you've got to stop for the lights, or you are going to get hit. It's no joke.' 'Okay, I'm sorry,' I continue, realizing I had better start to say something that would initiate some kind of sympathy from these men. They said something about the possibility of writing me a ticket, so I continued to apologize and luckily they decided to let me run free. Perhaps I should have told them that I was delirious from running for three hours, but considering how seriously they seem to take 'reckless running', they might deem that on par with drinking and driving and actually have written me a ticket. Distance runners ARE a threat to society, I have to say...

I'm not sure what lesson I learned being stopped by the cops on a long run: that the Toronto police don't have much to do on the Saturday morning of a long weekend? Or that I should respect the rules of the road? I doubt that the latter option will stick, especially since I dodged another four cars after the incident, on the same run. Oops.

The rest of my week was pretty tame in comparison to this ultra bad-ass experience. I had a solid workout on Thursday night, consisting of 8x1k w/90s rest. Our newest Angel, Katie Snowden - who, at the young age of 25, has run 13 marathons and has a smokin' PB of 2:46 - is a great addition to the group and was a great workout partner that night. We started off at 3:43 and brought it down with each km: 3:37/3:34/3:31/3:29/3:27/3:24/3:22. I felt a little flat going into the workout, probably from the Montreal half and a semi-workout I did the night before (helping out another group...I don't normally do hard days back-to-back), but felt stronger as the workout went on. Hopefully this means I am getting into good marathon shape! After Saturday's monster run my mileage was up to 91 - I will not be doing any more than this in the final four weeks of my marathon build. Next up is the Sporting Life 10k. I have run this race three times and always have so much fun - how can you not when you're running downhill for 10k?! I just hope I don't get pulled over by the cops...

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