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
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 and 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.
Tuesday: with 12k at MP (45:16, average km/pace)