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    The Long Run

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    In case I’ve never mentioned it, my long run is my favourite run of the week.  Whether the “S” in LSD stands for “slow” or “steady” is up to you, but the Long and the Distance don’t change, and they’re my favourite parts.  Don’t get me wrong, I love running in general, and each workout for different reasons (with the notable exception of hill repeats, which I have a love-hate relationship with…or is it a hate-hate relationship?).  But there’s just something about the long run.

    Getting ready is a big deal; getting my stuff out the night before, actually eating breakfast before going, and making sure I am fully coated in Body Glide.  It means getting comfortable early because I know I will be at it for a while. It means an entirely different kind of concentration, a beautiful awareness of my environment, or a blissful unawareness.  It could be a nagging associative thought pattern (particularly if I have to go to the loo!) or a peaceful dissociation.  It is just a gorgeous state of flow where it doesn’t matter if it is a good day or a bad day, a good run or a bad run.

    I have more crazy stories about long runs than any other type of workout.  Maybe it is a simple result of the amount of time spent at it that makes that probability higher.  When running with a group, there’s the opportunity to laugh maniacally at things that by all rights are not normally funny, but in that tired state of delirium that settles in after 2 or 3 hours, they’re hysterical.  When you’re on your own there are the moments of laughing at your own stupid thoughts (or actions!).

    Of course, there is the sense of accomplishment that follows.  Later in the day when you’re out, or Monday morning at the office, when someone asks what you got up to.  I’d be lying if I said I don’t derive at least a little bit of pleasure from the shock and awe that follows a nonchalant answer to the question “Oh yeah?  How far’d ja go?”

    Then there’s the food.  Ah yes, this could be one of the reasons that this workout is my favourite.  When running in a group we talk about food early and often.  What we’d like to have.  What we will have when we get back.  And when we do finally tuck in to a cup of coffee with a plate of pancakes or waffles, a fresh bagel, or whatever it happens to be, it invariably tastes better than at any other time.

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    A runner for just over four years, Karen has already completed a marathon, two half marathons and a variety of 5k and 10k races. She describes her first marathon - the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon last September - as "a nightmare." However, she met a very interesting person in the process - a man named Sydney who was running his 152nd marathon! Although the race didn't go as well as planned for Karen or Sydney, he showed her that no matter how experienced a runner you are, you can still have a bad day. "Does that mean we shouldn't bother to prepare, or maybe just shouldn't bother at all? Of course not!" says Karen. "In the end, it is what we make it." We like her optimism!