Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Company on the trail...

Okay, I'll get the heat story over with. It was 27C when I stepped out of the door at 6 a.m. Humidex is crazy today as it hit 36C or 47 humidex, which is supposed to feel like 116F. Crap that's hot. Us Canadians melt in this temperature!

Anyways, this little shot from Google Earth shows the area from which I start my lone run every day. My condo is at the start point and you see where all the boats are docked, beside the beautiful garden. If it looks familiar to those with music training, then you're right, it's inspired by Bach and Yo-Yo Ma helped design the garden based on Bach's music.. On this morning, like every morning, I wait for the Garmin to pick up a signal, stretch, and watch the runners on the trail go by as I am about to join them.

I started my run behind an older man, someone i've seen on the trail before. By the end of the run, I had found a kindred spirit. He was sorta limping, but keeping up a strong pace, about 5:30kms. It was hot and my calves were tight, so I happily paced off him and ran about 15 metres behind him, seeing my heart rate was at the perfect zone. By the time we hit the 5K mark, we were going downhill, and I caught up to him. With all the heat, I didn't feel like pushing it past him, so there we were, running side by side for 30 metres, when we started the conversation.

I can't remember the last time I ran with a running partner. Actually, since I document all my runs, it ... let me check.... June 3 with Jelly. Suffice it to say, I've done my marathon training alone, and am happy to do so. So I don't really do the run and talk test. Today, I was running at a good pace to do so.

Me: "How long you running today?"

Him: "To the pool and back to my condo... "

Me: "I'm doing 8 miles."

Turns out, he's 68, has been running for 50 years, and is doing his own 8 miler. He usually does two runs a day, speedwork in the evenings. Then he splits out a number that knocks me off my feet: 'Yes, I usually run about 100 miles a week'..

Oh.. My.. God..

Anyways, we split up when he reaches the pool, he says 'thanks for the company,' and I nod the same, and I keep on going. I then turn back and a few kms later, enounter him again. He's talking to another runner but picks up the run as I approach. 'You get to know the regulars,' he says as he nods to another passing runner. Another woman, he tells me after he says 'good morning to her', is getting better at her walking, going farther and farther. I feel like I'm running with the Godfather of the Martin Goodman Trail.

We run the 4K home together. He tells me he has been in Toronto for 14 years, have lived in New York and London. He runs 3 hours on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. He's injured right now and has a bad hamstring. He doesn't drink during runs but can list every single water fountain in a 10K radius ('I run with people who stop at water fountains,' he explains).

He doesn't do marathons any more, but does 10K and 5K. I'm scared to ask his time, knowing that he's a speed demon and I'm not. He imparts more advice: 'If you want to lose weight, run twice a day'

We then talk about the trail. Our favourite runs. The races we've done. We're both year-round outside runners and, on this hot day, we talk about running on this same trail, about how in the late fall it empties of spring and summer runners, about treading on snow and about winter cleats. As the Ks go by, I forget about the creeping heat, the breathing and the tightness leaves my calves as I adjust to our slower pace.

With a few kilometres to go, he says "My name is Dennis'" I go "My name is Kenny, good to meet you."

And as we reach the music garden, the sun getting to a full rise, I bid farewell to Dennis. I'm sure i'll see him again soon, as I do from time to time. Next time, I'll say hello, and maybe, if we're going the same way, we'll run for a few kms.

13K (8 miles) in 1:13, with average pace of 5:37


Triseverance said...

Cool story, I enjoy company while running as well and sadly don't have enough running partners.

Dave said...

One of the reasons I love running is the camaraderie, though sometimes unspoken.I typically run my weekday runs alone but try to get a running partner for long runs. It makes a world of difference - especially on tough days.

yumke said...

Yeah, I usually run alone but i always wave to passing runners.. Feel like i'm cheering them on as they do for me..