My good buddy Peter had skype-d me earlier this week about a run. Now that he works in a different part of town, he doesn't get to the Rideau Canal pathways much, and this was a good opportunity for him. We met up just before 7am and ventured off.
Peter's been plagued with colds and injuries this year, and he was just getting over yet another cold. He thought 10k would be sufficient, but once we got talking, we completely lost track of where we were going. After 7.5k out we reset our heads and each asked "Where the hell are we?" My HRM showed the distance, we realized we were near Hog's Back Road (where the Canal merges with Mooney's Bay), and Peter decided that we'd just do the whole loop, but cross over to run through the Arbouretum and Dow's Lake to return. Not a bad return-to-running run for Peter (who's also 53, by the way - puts me to shame!).
We managed to keep our pace slower than a 6min km, which was perfectly fine by me. I kept my HR in the aerobic range for the entire run - and trust me this is a feat in itself. I'm actually expecting lightning to strike soon. The weather was warm at 17C, very humid and quite misty as leftovers of rain held on. But the sun never came out, and the entire experience was very enjoyable. It felt like I was at the lake.
And with the recent rain, the pathways were absolutely beautiful. Lush greenery everywhere. Tulips, daisies, daffodils, and countless other flowers in city-maintained beds were in perfect condition. The water on the Canal was as smooth as glass. It was a 17km postcard picture. It's exactly what I needed to remember just how beautiful it is to train that early in the morning (hopefully I'll remember that the next time I set my alarm for 4.30am).
Perhaps the funniest moment was at the end of the run. Peter had parked his car under a tree, and all of a sudden a branch snapped and fell hitting the back of his car with a resounding thump. It was odd, considering that the branch was quite small. Then we saw the grey squirrel that was on it - it vigorously shook its head, snapped itself up and darted back into the tree. It was the poor animal that made that thump, and not the branch, and you could actually see the "WTF?!?" moment on its face! Sorry Mr. Squirrel, but it was kinda funny!