Friday, March 2, 2007

Hatless joggler heads into storm


Yesterday's joggling mileage: 10 miles (into a 50 km/h headwind, ice pellets and a foot of snow on the ground)

Equivalent number of miles based on effort: 3,642

It was a dark and stormy night...

And The Joggler was determined to complete his training run.

A big winter storm hit Toronto yesterday. It made news headlines, some of which I wrote myself at work (as a news editor for Captivate Network). After work, I was training a client in the west end, then I planned to joggle home through the downtown core and into the east end where I live.

In the afternoon, my wife called me and strongly urged me not to run home. My client called asking if our session was still on. I was ready to train and ready to run, but little did I know that this would be one of the most difficult joggles ever.

After the training session, I put on my backpack, took out my beanbags and set out for home. As luck would have it, I was heading directly into a 50 km/h headwind with ice pellets and blowing snow, and sometimes a foot of snow on the ground. I had wrongly assumed that shops and restaurants would have ploughed their sidewalks.

With the slippery terrain, I felt like I was running the wrong way on one of those moving platforms you see at airports. Every step forward took me three-quarters of a step back. The wind felt like a sumo wrestler was continually pushing me backward. Plus, the stacks of wet snow on the ground meant the footing was roughly equivalent to running on piles of lumpy, day-old oatmeal mixed with carpenter glue. My feet were juggling as much as my arms.

It took all the concentration in the world to keep juggling. Often I had to jump one way as I reached in the other direction to grab an errant beanbag that was swept up in a sudden gust of wind. I could barely keep my eyes open because of the ice pellets and snow, but just managed to make out the yellow balls being tossed around by the wind.

To make matters worse, I had no hat. Two days earlier, my trusty toque had fallen into a muddy puddle and I hadn't washed it yet.

As I ran across the Bloor Street Viaduct – a bridge that spans Toronto's Don Valley – the street lights went dark. A car on the other side of the road drove through such a big puddle that the water sprayed all the way across two lanes of traffic and hit me in the side of the head where my hat should have been.

Over the edge of the bridge, I saw an endless line of cars sitting bumper-to-bumper on the Don Valley Parkway. Despite being partially soaked by the passing car and struggling to move forward as I juggled into the wind, I was very, very happy to not be sitting in a car stuck in a traffic jam. I felt liberated. I also felt kind of insane.

Back at home I got Dianne to snap the picture (above) of me joggling down our street. I needed photo documentation of this run – it was a joggle for the ages.

7 comments:

Renay said...

I too crossed the Bloor viaduct bridge to get home from work yesterday. But unlike you, I was in the warmth of my toasty car.

As i sat in deep frustration bumper to bumper as you describe, I caught myself gazing outside thinking how tough yet incredible it would be to run in this weather. That was a very fleeting thought. I then felt better about being stuck in traffic in the warmth of my car and cranked up the tunes.

Very inspirational story! Thanks for sharing and sending the pic!

Renay

Fran said...

Thanks for visting my blog. I actually have pictures of you and Perry when you both ran Scotiabank.

http://r-cane.blogspot.com/2006/09/scotiabank-marathon-pictures.html

Good luck with the training for ATB and Salt Lake!

Perry said...

Great story!

It sounds just like training in Chicago during the winter. I find this weather makes me a lot slower. You too right? And how about the drop frequency? Mine isn't really affected that much. Guess wind gusts and snow help you focus more.

Steve said...

Wow... I can't believe you went out in that weather!

The Joggler said...

I did have a few more drops than usual and a few times I almost lost a beanbag in the snow.

I should have been using a set of my larger, heavier beanbags, but my backpack was too full in the morning to fit them.

Renay, I hope you weren't the one who splashed me on the Bloor viaduct!

Fran, those are great pictures. Were you up on a bridge?

Fran said...

Yeah I was on the bridge that crosses over Lakeshore that leads to Ontario place. I remember that there was a big pizza pizza sign that I was using to block the horrible wind.

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