If the miles behind me could be put into words before you, you would feel my efforts, my struggles, my desires. Most of all you would see my joy. Watch me from afar run the trails and hills and miles upon miles and you will see ...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Simon Fraser University has always reminded me of three things:
1) Carrie got her degree from there
2) about fifteen years ago I used to play floor hockey at the school with some buddies who were going there at the time.
3) doing hill repeats on the bike over and over and over when training for triathlon.

I can now add a fourth - trail running up and down the mountain. Over the last few years I would use the hill as a Spring bike strength training tool, usually adding a repeat every week for three or four weeks. I always knew there were trails off to the side but never really had the time to explore them. Where I park there is a map of the routes and they didn't look too bad. Finally a few days ago I made the trek there for the sole purpose of checking them out.

It wasn't the best start to a run because I lost my car key. I take it off the key ring so I have just the one in the pocket of my bottle holder (less weight, you know). I've always had bad visions of losing it and trying to figure out how I would get home. This happens especially when I'm in Bellingham as it would be hours before someone could get down there.
I started running about two minutes when I realized I forgot my Garmin. Back to the car I went got the Garmin, and put my gear bag in the truck for security. I ran to the trailhead and the gps hadn't picked up the satellites yet so I waited and thought I'd look at the little map I brought to double-check where I was going. I go to put the map back and, sure enough, the key was not there. A quick look on the ground revealed nothing. The fourth look through the tiny pocket did the same. I walked back to the car, scanning the ground and seeing dozens of "keys" because every stick, twig, and leaf now resembled it in some way. At the car I thought I may have left it in a door lock or on the roof or on the ground, but nothing. Maybe it was in the trunk where I put my bag? Crap. So back I went along the same path with the same result. At this point I'm thinking who should I phone to come out here? Where is the nearest phone? If Carrie comes it'll be after school, what do I do with the kids? A nightmare was unfolding.

Back at the trailhead I stopped where I stopped before and gave the ground a thorough staredown. I was looking for a key on it's side with the shiny side shouting to me "here I am!!!" so I was amazed when I spotted it in some rough leaves and grass with just the black end sticking up. I guess it had fallen like an arrowhead and landed that way in the thick stuff. Not sure if I could repeat that again as it was like a needle in a haystack. Whew, that killed a bunch of time running but it was a learning experience.

The trails were good with lots of steep technical hiking routes but a fair amount of hard-packed areas that are the Trans Canada Trail. It isn't the biggest area to run in but my thoughts are, next Spring, to come back and do some six to eight hour runs around the University. I figure it would be a good spot to go around dinnertime, get a couple 10 or 12km loops in before dark, then do another four or so in the dark to get used to running with the light through the trails for Western States (hopefully) and others I plan to do.

Eleven days and counting until the lottery. 

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