Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .

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Rave Run – Beach running in Manzanita, Oregon

Running on the edge

Manzanita, Oregon, two hours from Portland and a three-night stay with three morning runs. Manzanita, Manzanita, let me count the ways I love beach running. I am a daily runner so any place that has great running makes for a great start to my day as a tourist. We stayed at the the wonderful Inn at Manzanita  just a block from the beach. Two years ago we spent eight days in Tofino, British Columbia on Cox Bay which I thought quite heavenly with its cozy and quiet 3/4 mile beach. The beach at Manzanita is billed variously as being as little as four miles but up to eight miles long.

The north end of Manzanita Beach

South end of Manzanita beach, nearly 6 miles later

My experience was that it is close to six miles long. I guess it depends on the time and tide. By Tofino standards it is a very quiet beach, even on the morning of Independence Day. My goal was to run to the farthest point of the beach but I fell short by about 200 meters. I got a bit spooked (I hope my mom is not reading this) by being the only person on the beach for the final mile or so. Over the prior two miles, I saw three people. I ran a beautiful, dreamy 9 miles which helped me get to 40 miles for the week. Fantastic!  This beach gets a perfect 10 out of 10. The only not-so-perfect thing about the run was to be without my husband’s company. He now limits himself to three miles, three times a week due to his torn meniscus. It makes me sad to enjoy such a beautiful run without him but as he says, “You have to run for the two two of us now.”

Turnaround point of three miler with my husband


Consistency is Made of Runs Like This

While sipping my coffee just after 4 a.m. yesterday morning, I wondered if the only smart choice for a 15 mile run was on the treadmill.  Nonetheless, I decided to stick to my plan and left home at 5:47 a.m. just 2 minutes behind schedule. The temperature was 27C with 79% humidity, said to to feel like 38C on a day being billed as one of the hottest of the decades. As the day evolved the same-day temperature record was broken with a 37.5C and notably for me, with my early start, the all-time highest, minimum temperature record of 27C  was broken at 6 a.m.

Sunrise on Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario 6:00 a.m. July 21, 2011 - A record minimum temperature at 6:00 a.m.

How did it feel to run in these conditions? Thanks to a 20K breeze off the cooling waters of Lake Ontario it was not too bad. I ran at a very slow pace but since most of my run was along the lake shore, with sun on the horizon and not overhead, I survived quite nicely. For the first time since my December marathon I wore my most pared down running gear, the type of outfit that my son once referred to as my bathing suit.  This added to my comfort level.

Humber river park

Cooling breezes off the lake on Humber River spit at mile 9 of 15.

I’ve never seen so many shirtless men of all ages, walking, cycling and running. This was not a day to be self-conscious and I said to myself, “Good for you!” when spotting a senior man going topless.  On my part, I admit to being grateful that I resumed my planking routine given that I was exposing my belly for the first time in a while. A notable sighting was group of 25-30 twenty-something rowers with their bare backs to the lake, listening attentively to a coach.  I think we would be happy to have this group holding the fort.

I received a couple of comments commiserating about hot weather running, a blogger from Florida and one from Chicago.  This led me to check out temperatures at 6 a.m. in these cities.

Toronto 27C 38C 20K 79%
Miami 27C 39C 0 84%
Chicago 28C 39C 17K 74%

I think Miami were the worst off with not a breeze to be found. The two hottest races of my life have taken place in Chicago. The windy city, in my experience is even muggier than Toronto. I ran the Chicago Distance Classic 20K more than a decade ago and then a 5K. That 5K was brutally hot. I recall feeling as that the last kilometer was one of the longest ever, more grueling than the last kilometer of a marathon.

In 2006 I ran Chicago on a nice cool day and placed first in my age category of 50-54 with a 3:13. My participation was strategic in that it was the only time in recent memory that the race was held in the third week of October, a couple of weeks later than usual. Early October in Chicago  involves the risk of running a marathon in what for me are less than ideal conditions.  The famous scorching conditions of the following year bore out my fears with headlines like 2007 Chicago Marathon: One Dead, Hundreds Treated, What Went Wrong?

At the end of the hottest July 21st ever, I felt great for sticking to my program of running 15 miles as I head towards a 50 mile week. Yes, consistency may seem like a mundane concept but for the marathoner, achieving it involves a few battles with the elements.

Battle Number One on the road to NYC – WIN!


Running in the Heat – Plan A & Plan B

For various reasons, tomorrow is the day that I must do my long run. A day that is forecast to be one of the hottest days of the decade. The predicted high is 38C and it will feel like 48C.  The sun will rise around 5:55 a.m. and I plan to be out the door earlier than that timing my run so I can see the sunrise on Lake Ontario. I had hoped to do 15 miles but I think I will have to see how it goes and moderate my ambitions. That is Plan A. Plan B is to head to the gym and jump on a treadmill if the heat is hideous although today, there was about 15 degrees difference between the high and the low temperature. I’m hopeful . . . sigh.

Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario, March 14, 2011

I’m working a half-day tomorrow due to some evening and weekend work and I plan to take a nap before heading to work. Running in heat is most exhausting and I also have to stay awake for a fairly demanding evening, three hours of non-stop Adobe Illustrator instruction.

Hot as it is, I maintain that it is not quite as bad as some of those high humidity days with lower temperatures. I had considered running at the U of T Athletic Centre but discovered that it is closed for renovations.

My mileage goal for the week which starts on Mondays is 50. So far I’ve run, 8, 4 and 6. Even though I’m about 16 weeks out from the NYC marathon, this will be one of the more challenging training weeks.

I shouldn’t have trouble waking up early as I woke today at 2:45 a.m. Can’t figure that one out having come home from Alberta but it works well with my running plan.  I’ll be heading to bed shortly i.e. 7:30’ish and aiming to rise around 4 a.m. so I have a bit of time to relax before my run.  I guess my training tip for hot weather running is get out the door as early as possible.

Sweet dreams!