Large Pho, Large Pho we’re running to our Pho…

… And for a side of large spring rolls. Large Pho, Large Pho….

Our first run together after the Sauga half. Same run, 3 perspectives… 1 common goal. Pho Linh



8:30 AM. I woke up Saturday morning, hopeful that the rain I heard while I was asleep had cleared and made way for a glorious day of sunshine and beach volleyball. No such luck.  I turned over and decided it might still be a good idea to make good use of my early start and I began to get up. Ow. The multiple glasses of Lagavulin from last night have left its distinctive calling card on my head. A few more minutes of sleep are in order.

9:30 AM: An hour or so later, the cloudiness in my head is starting to lift, but unfortunately that’s not the case outside.  It was definitely too moist to play beach volleyball, but I was still itching to do something physical. I looked at the ground outside. It still looked dry. I remember someone suggested running on Saturday. I message Donald. It sounds like everyone wants to run. Crap! I actually don’t really feel like running. I momentarily fall back asleep.

11:00 AM. I wake up with a start and somehow within that I hour, we manage to all organize ourselves to meet at Yonge & Sheppard at 12:00 PM.

12:05 PM: I arrive last and the short jog from my house to our appointed meeting corner has already taken it out of me. This is starting to feel like a bad idea. Maybe I haven’t gotten my running legs under me yet.

12:10 PM: We start running west on Sheppard and while I feel like it must have been a moderate pace, I’m feeling a little bit faint. Jason, starts updating us on our progress. “400m”. 400m??? Oh-em-gee. This does not bode well. I tell Jason to keep it to himself. I’m in pain. It’s obvious my 4 week hiatus from the running world has taken it out of me.  I start wondering whether I had one too many glasses of scotch last night, but I start to recall more clearly that I didn’t really.

12: 15. I feel too hot. I misunderstood a message Donald had sent me earlier than morning and I somehow think it’s going to be only +1 outside so I am wearing running tights, running shorts, and two layers of shirts in 17 degree weather. We stop twice during the first 3k so that I can take off all my extra clothing, and multiple times so I can take a drink out of Donald’s camelback. I’m starting to feel like Donald is my St. Bernard. Carrying my clothes and water. Thank goodness for Donald.

4k. It suddenly hits me. My vegetarian diet. I had been trying out vegetarian diet since June started, however I didn’t particularly have a very specific approach to how I was going to get all my protein. In fact, it wasn’t really something I was monitoring closely enough and I suddenly connect the dots on my extreme fatigue and lack of energy.  This is likely as a result of my lack of protein.

5k. This is the longest freakin’ run in the world. Where the hell are we?

6k. Donald stops for a pee behind a sign. It’s not really hidden all too well from the main street, but I don’t complain since it gives me a must needed rest from the pace we’re running. Long slow distance my ass. This is a long-freakin’ fast distance.

7k. We approach Yorkdale mall. I’m ready to bail and go inside. We pass by Katz’ Deli and Donald mentions that we should go there to eat. I happily agree. He means another day. I grumble silently to myself and keep scrambling along behind them.

8k. I see buses along our route. I wonder how bad it would be if I suddenly jumped on a bus and met Donald and Jason at Pho Linh?

9k. I announce loudly that I am giving up vegetarianism. It feels like a weight being lifted off my shoulders. I really enjoyed my vegetarian diet, but I definitely do not want to feel like this again. I need to rethink how I get my protein if I choose to continue I tell myself. Thoughts of a tasty bun bo hue starts to permeate my brain and immediately lift my sprits. I momentarily feel a burst of energy. Donald and Jason probably do not notice as they are probably about 200m ahead of me. I hear them laughing jovially, still full of energy in their limbs. Bastards! They don’t look tired at all.

10k. Jason announces that we’ve finished 10k in 57 minutes – faster than my half-marathon time. Those tricksters. How is this a long SLOW distance? I’ve been fooled.

11-12 k .We start to run through some rolling hills. This is brutal. You get to take it easy as you go downhill and then you have to trudge back up hill. I grumble a little bit more loudly than before and let out a cathartic “ARRRGAHAHAHAHHAA”. I feel mildly better but startle a few pedestrians on the street.

13k. Where the f@#$ is Bloor? How come I’m only seeing Davenport ahead? How much loooonger? I start grumbling even louder. Donald and Jason hear me and try to pacify me with encouraging words. If they really wanted to be nice they would stop running at Boston pace. I continue to grumble to myself.

14k. I’m spent. I’m soooooo exhausted. Donald and Jason tell me we’re less than 2k away but I had been pushing myself since we got to 400m. I need to take a walk break. Donald and Jason continue to push on ahead. A few minutes later, a guilt trip must have hit them because I see them coming back! They’re coming back to support me! I take back what I was muttering in my heads about them when they took off on me a few minutes earlier.  I love these guys!

15k – We’re so close! And I’m super hungry! I can taste the pho in my mouth! : ) I don’t know where this comes from, but we suddenly start singing. We’re so delirious from hunger!

15.7 k – We’re here!! And there’s a line out the door!! It’s freakin’ 2:00 PM already. Why are people still eating?  Surely none of them have worked this hard to get here. Donald goes inside to assess the situation. I’m ready to beat my way into the door when Donald comes out and says we’re the next table of 4. I calm down and start stretching.

2:00 PM. We finally get a table and I wolf down my large bun bo hue in seconds. I look over at Donald and Jason’s bowl. Still half full. I’m a MONSTER!!! I slurp happily at my Vietnamese ice coffee and nibble on a spring roll. This is so good. I slowly feel the energy coming back, but the demon within hasn’t been satiated yet. I suggest we order another bowl of pho! : ) This ought to do it.

3:30 PM. One pho ga later, I’m still hungry! But thankfully we’re off to another eaterie! We stop in Little Italy for Gelato! I share a mint chocolate chip gelato with Amit. Mmmmmm.  Finally the monster starts to calm down.

4:00 PM. We’re head to the opposite side of town to little India and the eating bonanza continues. We stop in a few Indian grocery stores to pick up supplies for Donald’s chana and we end up at Lahore Tikka house for some homemade kulfi! Delicious!

What a day. I’m struck by how far this 15k run has taken us! It brought us to the most spectacular pho in the city and then lead us through quite the culinary adventure. As our long distances start to increase over the next several months, I can only imagine how much further it will take us. I can’t wait to see where it will take us next.



It was a rainy day. I had stepped out earlier to run some errands and the cold rain hit my skin with an unpleasant sting. Would this be good for running? I can never tell when I’m in caught my daily-routine state-of-mind.

There was talk of doing an LSD together, and surely enough the IMs started to fly Saturday morning. “Run?”, Donald wrote. I replied with, “rain too cold. let’s wait a bit”. I thought that would buy me some more time to check off some of my weekend errands.

It was just half and hour later when the phone rang with Donald on the other end, “The rain has stopped! Wanna go?”. Geez. Knowing full well that I had a fitness test the next day, I was very hesitant to agree, but I suppose that a true LSD couldn’t hurt. Donald told me that Cat had gone mia, but he managed to get a hold of her soon after. Double drat! Sometimes, I’m so lazy. haha. Donald sent me the proposed route, but all that mattered was that there was food at the end of the rainbow. It was lunchtime, and damnit I was hungry!

We agreed to meet at Yonge & Sheppard at 12pm. I managed to save some of my legs by walking down the entire way, and still making it there before Cat. Geez! Donald was there on time, but it looked like he had an unfortunate accident. Jokes! He jumped on the water backpack bandwagon……I gotta get on that soon too.

So Cat finally made it out and we were on our merry way. Across Sheppard we went, and to ensure that we kept it to a true LSD, we struck up light conversation to make sure that we weren’t running too quickly.

Across to Dufferin! Cat was starting to show signs of fatigue for some reason. We had not gone far, but she was saying that she wasn’t feeling well. Oh crap. This isn’t good. Perhaps it had to do with the lack of meat & protein in her body, she said. I can believe that. We continued on past Yorkdale mall, and we trucked on. Donald & I constantly reminded each other to “slow up” to maintain an LSD pace, and Cat managed the will to keep up with us.

We were treated with a refreshing rain shower every now and then, and the rolling hills were quite the challenge on the legs. Whenever we approached a diminishing green light, we both slowed down to allow the light to turn red, which allowed Cat to pace up with us. Each time this happened, we checked to make sure that her lights were still on upstairs. Thankfully, they were. 😉 We decided to stick together the entire way instead of splitting up. I was kinda worried about Cat’s condition.

We had gone a solid distance before we reduced our paces to mere cool-down walks. I was actually quite grateful for that. I didn’t want to boot it anymore than we had to.

Our final destination was not far off, and to pay tribute to our watering appetites, Donald deliriously broke off into song.

Once we reached the restaurant, even though we were forced to wait for a table, we were actually handed a great opportunity for a post-run stretch. (I’ll have to admit that I was disappointed that the restaurant was so full…at first) But as they said, it’s a good sign if there’s a lineup to get in.

Spicy!!!….was first my thought when the spoonful of soup hit my lips. I had some serious afterburn the night after. Next time, I’ll definitely stick to the special. And a next time there will be! 🙂



Its around 9am. Last night ended around 2am and included a lot of boozing. It had been raining all night, so beach volleyball is out of the question, its over cast, but its not really raining, more just spitting. I get to my computer and Cat messages me “Are we running?” Hmm.. good question, what time do you want to go? No reply…. Jason comes online… Hey Jay you want to run? Sure! Cat?… still no reply… dang it, guess she’s back asleep. Ok, Jay maybe we’ll run later. I decide that I could probably fit in a climb before the run… all the sudden “Hello!” its Cat! She must of woken up. “Are we doing this run?” Hmm… its stopped raining, ok maybe this is possible, and I can try my new pack. I call Jason up, and we’re off. We’re meeting at the starting point at 12:00pm. I start packing my stuff, I fill my new water pack and notice that the cap won’t go on all the way so its leaking… hm… what’s doing on? I tighten as tight as possible, warp in a bag and towel and hope for the best… By the time I reached the meeting point my entire back was soaked, the back of my pants all the way down were soaked. Jay and I unpacked everything, Jay has a look at the water pack, and notices that there’s 2 rings on the opening and I could lower the first one. Shoot! We lower both and the water no longer leaks! Excellent! Cat arrives, and we’re (me still soggy) on our way. We ran a very relaxed pace so that Cat could keep up, which was good for me too, because it was really humid and I could hardly breath. The water pack worked very well, and now that I know how to tighten it, I will definitely use it again. But the last 13 km, my legs were pretty burnt out, first run in a while…. We finally arrive at our final destination. Pho Linh, and it was worth every step.

Run addendum
We’re off, our first LSD since Suaga. Right off the bat Jason start calling out the distance “400 meters!” Haha only 15km to go. We hear Cat grumble something behind us. After a bit of discussion we agree that its a bad idea to keep calling out our distances as we go along. I really don’t care, at this point I’m more concerned about the water soaking my entire back and just hoping that it’ll dry off soon, otherwise there’s gonna be some epic chafe-age. As we approach Bathurst, Sheppard drops down to cross over a ravine, which means MASSIVE HILL! I’m so glad that we get these out of the way early, instead of how I did it last year, when I ran similar routes, stating from the other end. I try and cross the street in preparation for making the left onto Bathurst later, Jay says that he prefers to stay on the right hand side because cars look your way when they’re making a turn, which means less of a chance of getting hit.

Putt putt putt we head along Sheppard. At this point Cat really looks like she’s hurting, so we slow down and make sure she’s ok. Apparently she forgot the 7 when I told her earlier on that it was going to be +17, I guess telling her to bring a toque threw her off, my reasoning was just in case it rained, it would be good to have something on your head. She takes off her warm up jacket, and takes a sip of my water. We ask her if she also wants to take off her tights, yes, but only when we find a washroom to do so in. We continue on our way and at Bathurst and Wilson we see it, a Starbucks. “Do you want to stop here?” We yell to Cat off in the distance, “yes!” So we make a stop, and rest a little while Cat changes her pants… All the sudden I feel it, a trickle. 😮 oh no! Rain! Just as my back just started to dry a little bit, its gonna rain? Cat gets out, and we continue on our way across Wilson, we come across a light, and I have the sudden urge to pee! The attempt to catch up on hydration cause of the night before has caught up to me. I could hold it for a bit, but when I go over the remainder of our route, there’s no where that I could hide away and go, and it just so happens that there’s a construction site with some boards up that obstructs the main traffic.

We continue on our way, and soon we reach Dufferin and the longest leg of our journey. As we turn the corner I notice a Guanese, Chinese buffet, interesting! I kinda want to give it a try, but run and more importantly Pho Linh have priority so I just take note and continue along. Later on we also see Katz deli, we all say we should try it out…. For the next run.

We pass Lawrence, Eglinton, approach St.clair… Then in the distance we hear it, horns honking, drums beating, and the general sound of people cheering, the closer we got the louder it gets, soon we see seas of blue and white, what flag is that? Is it Greece? Portugal? I’m tempted to ditch the run and join the party, but I’m sure my stinkiness would not bode well.

After St.Clair we get to the hardest part of our run, a series of 5 or 6 rolling hills. “Look! Its heartbreak hill!” I exclaim, in reference to the 7 progressively larger hills, culminating to 1 giant 1km uphill to finish the Boston marathon, but I don’t think either of them get it. At this point Jason starts to speed it, “its easier to go with the hill, than fight it and try and slow down” he says. I just smile and nod and hope that we didn’t leave Cat too far behind. Once we pass the hills, there it is We’re approaching the home stretch! We let Cat catch up a bit, we see she’s not lookin too good. “Come on Cat! We’re almost there!” She curses something at us and tells us she’s about ready to start walking. We give her a few word of encouragement, we’re almost there, come on, you can do it! And we head on, Cat drops back super quick. Jay and I decide to try running at Boston pace for the last little bit. Big mistake! At this point my legs were already burnt out, and the humidity didn’t help much either, we make it about 700m and I give up. How the heck are we supposed to do this for 42.2km?!? We turn around to make sure that we haven’t  left Cat too far in the dust… Uh oh, we can’t even see her anymore! We lightly jog back to get her… We see a speck in the distance and… She’s walking?! AND on the phone?!? Whaaa!? As we get her she tells us that she’s phoning Amit to come get her, and he should be driving by any min. I snicker a little.

After walking with her a bit, she decides that she’s ready and we’re gonna run the last km or so. I tell her a few Pho jokes to get her mind off the pain. “This pho is going to be.. Pho-nominal!”… “Wasn’t this run Pho-un?”… “Why are you laughing? Don’t you think my jokes are Pho-nny?” To which she replies “No, they’re Pho-king horrible!” I get the idea and instead start singing “large pho, large pho…. ” To the tune of hi ho hi ho, to make fun of the fact that our pace at this point is almost a march. Jason over hears and joins in as well, Cat also joins in, even adding a verse of her own “and for our side, we’ll have spring rolls, large pho, large pho…”

Then we see it College! We have arrived! We turn the corner and what do we see? Line! Dang it! And we’re starved! I go inside to scope out what kinda time we’re looking at, they tell me there’s only 1 other table of 8 before us. I report, and we agree that we’re gonna wait, and start to stretch. Cat runs off the change behind a bush. A short while later we’re called in. 3 large bun bo hues, 3 spring rolls, 2 viet coffees and a shake, we don’t even have to look at the menu. Within seconds the food arrives, thank God! We’re starved! Cat scarfs her’s down, omg! Did she even stop to breath? Lol. Jay and I try to do the same, but are impeded by spiciness. I go through several napkins as I sweat up a storm. Half way though, I realize this probably won’t be enough, and Jay and Amit haven’t tried the Pho here, so we decide to split a small portion. Unfortunately we ordered the Pho Ga by accident, but no worries its equally as delicious!

after the meal we debate ordering a second viet coffee, but instead decide that we’re going for ice cream again. So we head to little Italy to pick up some delicious gelato from Dolce… But wait its not over yet. We then head to little India to pick up some ingredients for my Chana, AND get some delicious Kulfi! 😀 I love it! As my friend pointed out on a woman’s shirt last year during the Scotia marathon last year “iRun so I can eat” soooo true! 🙂 the best part about running is that after burning hundreds of calories, your body screams at you to refill them, and you can eat almost anything you want, guilt free! Can’t wait till the next LSD 😀

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by marathonnewb on June 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Donald! Your post is so short! Almost your whole story happens before we start running! : )


    • Hahaha… yeah, for me the most memorable part of the run was the leaky bottle all over my pants = ( and the food! = D

      I will try and add more later.


  2. Posted by flimbs on June 14, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Boooooooooooo short.


  3. There! Done! Lol, long enough for you?


  4. Posted by flimbs on June 16, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    I’m glad you didn’t re-hash the rude Italian gelato server…..makes my blood boil…never going back there again! 😛

    I didn’t hear you say heartbreak hill… But if we even get a CHANCE to run the bloody thing, I’ll sure be happy. Boston pace here we come!

    Nice addendum. Let’s plan out our next meal….I mean, run…


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