Highway to Hell…


…is most definitely a hot one.  Running at such high temperatures and humidity tested the limits of our will like never before.  Our plan was to leave at 10:30am on Sunday, but luckily we managed to get our at together and got going at about 9:45am.

The run west on Sheppard provided us with serious challenges with many daunting hills and lack of cover from the blazing sun.  We were fortunate to have overcast skies for about 75% during the whole run.  But it was still that 25% that physically drained nearly 100% of our energy.

Looking down at my GPS watch, even at about 12km, I was more than willing to call it quits, but with Donald at my side, I knew that I had to trooper on.  This partner running really does give you that mental push.  Not only that, but had he not been there, I would’ve been without gels too!

Each preceding step was 2x more labour intensive in this sweltering heat.  We were forced to drink warm water with each sip, as we could no longer afford to spit out the water waiting in the tube in anticipation of cooler liquids.  Stopping for that gatorade fix at the Esso gas station was like taking a sip from heaven.  It felt so good.

It was clearly obvious that the heat was taking its toll on us.  I kept yelling out “Slow it!” to Donald, trying to gain some composure.  I was ready to jump into the next public swimming pool.

I was more than happy to have stopped where we did, and hopefully we’ll have gained some physical and mental experience from this endeavour.  Cycling downtown to the beaches and back was certainly a feat in itself.  Kudos to a endurance-filled weekend!

Airport run
Saturday 8:30am…*ring ring* “hallo…?” “Yo man, are we running? Are you ready?” “Bleh… Its only 8:30 dude, thought we said 10?” “Yah man, you can’t wake up at 10 for a 10am run!” “Arg…ok lemme get ready” what a way to wake up after a night of partying 😦 I go downstairs, pull my water pack out of the freezer, grab a couple handfuls of cereal and walnuts, chug some water, change and pack… Crap! No ear buds! I need music! No time, I just borrow my sister’s. Crap! No sweatband! Arg! I hate not living at home. I send Jay a message, gonna be late, gotta go home to get a sweatband… A quick drive home later and I’m ready to go 9:30 🙂

I head out the door and after a short warm up run to Yonge and Finch meet up with Jay. Omg this day is going to be brutally hot! Good thing we left early. We start making our way down Yonge. “Did you bring gels?” I ask Jay, “crap! I knew I forgot something!” Its ok, I brought 3 and that should be enough to get us through this run. Jay proposes an alternate route instead of running down Yonge.st, much less crowded. Sure! Whatever works.

We hit Sheppard and start heading westbound, now the sun is really starting to come out. “Dang it! We shouldn’t of called beach! This weather is starting to look perfect for it!” Jay says. “Yeah maybe true, but look at those storm clouds, they’re looking pretty omnious if you ask me, if it starts to rain, do you think we should call it?” I ask. “Naw man, rain’ll be good for us, this heat is really beating down on us.” Jay says. Its true, the sun is really starting to come out now. We continue down Sheppard, trying to find shady spots along the way. Then I notice it, is Jay picking up the pace a little bit? I’m starting to get out of breath… Bastard! Whatever, I’ll try and keep up till I can’t take it and… “Slow down” Jay says. Sweet! He must of realised that we were going too fast, especially in this heat! He tells me that we should be taking this run at Cat pace.

We continue on our way on Sheppard past Downsview station to the part where it wraps around Downsview park. This is probably the worst part of the whole run, there is absolutely no shade and there seems to be a bunch of long gradual uphills. The sun is really beating down on us at this point, my skin feels like its on fire! As we hit the crest of the Downsview loop we see a dog kennel 🙂 I joke a bit and bark back at the dogs.

We finally finish the Downsview loop and reach Dufferin, there a long downhill and an over passing bridge, we hide under the bridge for a bit for a welcome break from the sun. Once we reach the intersection we take a quick break and share our first gel. “Let’s take the Vanilla first, it has no caffiene in it, so we won’t go too fast and burn ourselves out”. We continue and hit the second big hill, oh man… I remember this beast! I had attempted to do a large portion of this run last year, except in the opposite direction and that time I failed the run. “Taking a hill is like getting a BJ from a granny” Jay says “don’t look up”. Good advice. If you don’t look up, you don’t really know how much further you have to go and it seems to get over sooner.

After the long hill and some running later we approach Jane. Things are starting to look familiar. “This is where I stopped to get some water and a power bar” I tell jay, “this is where I couldn’t run anymore”, “this is where I asked some guy to fill my water bottle”… Luckily I’m feeling much better this time despite the extreme heat, the water pack definately helps.

We keep treking along and we pass the first highway, hwy 400 its a pretty decent incline, but we manage it no problem. Shortly after we see Weston road and make a left. A few kilometers later I see the bridge right before the 401, there’s a long downhill followed by a long uphill, I hear Jay groan. Lucky for him I remember that I didn’t actually run over the bridge, but over it via a side ramp, its a slight uphill, but much easier than we would of had to do if we went under. Right after the bridge we see the 401. Yes! We’re over half way there! We stop for a bit and take our second gel, this time we take the chocolate for a little more of a kick, leaving the Roctane for when we really need it. As we take the gel I ask Jay to check on my water supply, it feels like its running low, Jay confirms this I have about a cup and half left. We say that we have to stop soon to refill. we start up again, and start to cross the 401, OMG the legs feel heavy! I think we stopped too long 😦 after we cross the 401 there’s a large plaza with several fast food joints, and even a real canadian superstore! But because our legs felt so heavy still we decided to keep treking and look for a convenience store instead.

We continue down Weston road, down to St.phillips.st. I notice that there’s a park there and keep an eye out for a water fountain, no such luck 😦 we cross a bridge into a beautiful neighboorhood. All residential, no convenince stores… I start to panic a little as I’m now starting to suck up some air when I take sips of water. Then we see it, dixie.rd! Yes! We’re at the home stretch and on a road this big there HAS to be something! We keep going on our way and pass a couple strip plazas, some having dr’s offices and restaurants, even a shut down grocery store! But no convenince store. At this point my water supply is completely out. Finally about 3km down, there’s a gas station, let’s stop there! We make our stop, Powerade is on sale, 2 for $3 we grab that, I grab a liter bottle of water. We go outside and I try and fill my resevoir up, messily spilling all over the place as my body is extremely exhausted at this point. I get Jay to help me out, he shows me that in that short time he’s already finished his bottle of Powerade. We wait for the light and start treking again. WOW!!! Legs are even heavier than our last stop! 😦 this is no good, no matter we push though and hope for the best.

Soon we hit the 409, there’s a perkins there… Man I could really go for some breakfast I think to myself. The heat is starting to get bad again, and suddenly I feel it, my calf is starting to cramp again 😦 I take several big gulps of water, cramps are usually caused by dehydrated muscles. It helps a little and I keep going. Wooooshhh!!! A plane flies right over us “We’re getting close!”, but then we see it…one last hill 😦 man, we’re 22k into our run now, this is gonna hurt. We take it slow, but it definately doesn’t help my cramping calf, I try and use my thighs more, and keep drinking water. We clear the hill, and there’s the 401. We’re so close now, I can see terminal 3 off in the distance. But the cramps are starting to get worse and more frequently now, I keep drinking water, I even try and stop to stretch it out but nothings working “can’t go anymore man!” I tell Jay, “my calf is cramping”, 24k Jay says, not bad considering the conditions and our previous long run being 4k shorter. We walk the rest of the way, we see a sign that says our final destination was still about 3kms away, meaning a 27k run total, I guess its a good thing we didn’t run the whole thing, that’d be 7k more than we did last week. On the way we decide to stop over at a office building to get a nice long stretch in. We leave nice big sweat stains everywhere we sit :p I change my clothes and head over to Zets, we’re both starving. As soon as we leave the lot it starts to trickle a little “dam you! Where were you while we were running!?!” Yells Jay. We start making our way and the rain gets heavier. Dam, I knew once I changed it would rain! We run between trees the rest of the way to avoid the rain. As we get there I order the 10oz steak and eggs, mmm protein! Best meal ever.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jason on August 12, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    That was a crazy run man. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.


  2. Posted by marathonnewb on August 13, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Wow!! What a quote:
    “Taking a hill is like getting a BJ from a granny” Jay says “don’t look up”


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