Wednesday, August 19

Distillation

It was hot during the warm-up, a bright sun with no shade. Prior to leaving the house, Tom Allen, host of CBC Radio had given a brief weather update. It was 25C and with the humidity over 60% it felt closer to 30C.


He jogged leisurely down the trail, allowing his legs ample time to warm-up for what lay ahead. The canopy above providing little cover, it wasn’t long before beads of perspiration followed the contours of his face and eventually hung precariously from his chin.


The session was simple, 12k at marathon pace and the only real workout of the week. He stopped under the shadow of a giant maple, traced a line in the dirt, paused for a moment and then set off down the tunnel of possibility.


The loop was perfect, 3-kilomters of flat, fast trail before turning back on itself following the road along the Blenkinsop Valley. The backside was interrupted by a gradual mile long climb, before descending steadily and looping back to the trailhead; in total 7-kilometres of compassion. By the time he crossed the 2k marker he had already shed his singlet, the opening section passing in 3:46 and 3:44.


Out onto the road he ran, the heat causing a mirage in the distance. The sky burned. He leant into the hill driving hard with each foot strike, the effort too much, but the pace sustainable, just.


Sweat poured. His achilles a dull ache, but nothing out of the usual. He used the downhill to conserve energy, keeping the pace consistent. Passing through kilometres eight and nine in 3:46 and 3:47 respectively, he was comfortable, and yet in a parade of pain. Sustained tempo does that, like Australian John Farrington said, “Marathoning is like cutting yourself unexpectedly. You dip into the pain so gradually that the damage is done before you are aware of it. Unfortunately, when awareness comes, it is excruciating."


Only on this day it was welcomed, it was his birthday and each stride an awareness of being alive.


Training:

Monday: easy 21:05

Tuesday: 1:26:34 with 12k at MP (45:16, average 3:46km/pace)

Wednesday: easy/undulating 1:00:44

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Michael!!!

J and H

Thomas said...

Happy Birthday.
Nice write up.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike! Happy birthday!! We missed you on Friday! Mar

Brad Cunningham said...

Dood. You gots to tell people. Happy Bday! Looking forward to a run this weekend?

Grellan said...

Happy Birthday Michael. I could feel that 12k MP workout, albeit at a slower pace.

rumon said...

Hey brother. Really love seeing you get creative with the writing to enjoyable result.

Also, I'm a hopeless fuckwit for not calling on your actual day. Please accept my apology. And my beer - perhaps tomorrow at lunch?

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