Monday, October 09, 2006

Just like Chelle, who is a few notches ahead of me as a runner, it's all going down for me next weekend. Unlike Chelle, who will be running in Ohio in about 10-15-degree temperatures, the forecast for Saturday's ZooRun is a high of 4, a low of 1 and winds of 25 km/h, but I'm happier than she is. Now, the 12-week training program that I've been loosely following culminates on Saturday and I'm trying to run the 10 km race in less than 38 minutes. However, there's nothing I love more than a big race in cold weather, preferably with hills thrown in.

Almost on cue, I'm informed that the Toronto Zoo supposedly features many rolling hills, though personally I just can't figure out how they've got the land (710 acres worth) to stage a 10 km race. This maze-like course map sheds some light on the matter. If you can figure out when I go by the ostriches, let me know. At any rate, I'm grateful to be running on Saturday given the frigid weather and too grateful to be running a (moderately) tough race in (hopefully) bad weather to really care too much about the time so long as it's faster than my current best of 38:40.

A love for running in cold weather is something I picked up in high school cross country. When the weather turned ugly and the temperature approached freezing in late October was when the biggest races took place. I can't also discount having grown up on a steady diet of football, in which late season and playoff games took place against the backdrop of cold weather. In fact, I think I went to do something else if the game on television was set in, oh, I don't know, Miami as opposed to Foxboro or Green Bay. I'd say that there's something definitely primal about struggling against the weather as well as yourself and your opponents, but that would just be a vain sociopsychological explanation. I think that throwing out paces, splits and arbitrary time goals means that you just run instead, and run as hard as you can at that. This is the the purest form of the sport that exists, a reminder and a return to what it's all about. I have a bit of a knee problem and I will be both fasting and going for broke; hopefully I'll puke afterwards.

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