Monday, August 25, 2008

There's no place like home

I have had the privelige of running in several places over the years but there is something to be said for running at home. It just seems easier to stick to a routine and also to improvise when you run on home turf. For example, this past weekend, I ran my last long run prior to the taper for the Montreal marathon. I wanted to cover my usual route but I knew I couldn't be late getting back home because I had to watch the kids while my spouse went to another engagement. My regular route was a loop around Hudson followed by a loop around St-Lazare, I knew it would be about 36 km, maybe a bit more. At 18 km, I checked my watch and knew that my first split was slow so I would have to pick up the pace for the second half. If I stuck to my route, I might end up covering more ground and had no way to shorten the loop so I decided to take a smaller loop and add an out-and-back to bring my total to 36 as planned. This flexibility, to change my route on the fly, is extremely helpful and could only be done if you know the neighborhood well.

A few weeks ago, I was running while on a vacation in Florida. While I was familiar with the area, I was far from being comfortable with the distances and road network. Each run was an exploration of out-and-back jaunts along different routes to make sure I went far enough but didn't put myself in a situation where I ended up on a much longer run than expected (I learned this the hard way on the first day there...). This made my long runs a bit less interesting than my regular loops at home because I basically just ran the same out and back several times. I did this for another reason as well - it is damn hot in Florida in August and I didn't have a fuel belt with me. I simply pre-positioned several bottles at the start and switched out the bottle I was carrying at the end of each out and back. This way I didn't have to carry all that fluid with me and I ensured to stay hydrated. The price to pay was a limited circuit to run which could get monotonous.

Running on familiar turf is also easy on the mind. I seem to go into coast mode when I run at home. I know all the road intersections, the busy spots, the potholes and blind corners, etc. This makes it easier for my mind to wander and to reach that semi-meditative state. Unlike running in unfamiliar territory where I become pre-occupied with the surroundings. When the surroundings are worth seeing, I take in the scenery but my mind doesn't really wander off as much. It is really a different running experience.

I do enjoy exploring routes and taking in the scenery when I visit new places to run. It certainly is a unique way to really experience a new location and it provides a persepective that can never be gained by just driving through. However, it is extremely comforting to come home and to hit the trails and/or pavement in familiar surroundings. I never get bored of my runs at home - I think the key is to have that built in flexibility to mix it up whenever I want. Happy trails.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Calling all runner/writers!

Time to start my next project...

Are you a runner and a writer? I want to hear from you.

Are you interested in getting your work published? Over the next 12 months or so, I will be compiling works of various authors to publish a book about running. It will be called irun, a collection of thoughts, poems and stories.

Net proceeds of the book will be going to charity.

I am also looking for a publishing house to help me with this project so if you are interested, let me know...