Vacation Running

Running while on vacation presents its own challenges, not the least of which is motivation. We are finishing up a week at our cabin that my husband and dad have been building since last fall. I am currently sitting on our dock on a beautiful lake on a perfect day. Later, I’ll go find the magic spot in the cabin where I can get online (sometimes) and see if I can post this to the blog. But for now I am pretty comfortable writing my thoughts and enjoying the stunning view.

I have managed to get in two runs while here. It is not an easy place to run though for a few reasons. The obvious reason is of course I have to get off the dock or our covered porch, in other words I have to quite literally get off my butt. Then there are the hills. In this rural/cottage area of Quebec there seems to be no such thing as a flat road. Running hills just can’t be avoided here. There are few stretches of straight roads either, so you are either watching for cars coming over a hill or from around a bend. I wouldn’t even think of listening to music on a run here for fear of missing the sound of a car I have not yet seen. To top it off, I get the sense that drivers here aren’t really expecting to see a runner in their space. I have never once seen another runner in the area and the cars that have passed me seem quite comfortable maintaining their speed and pressing me into the poison ivy that lines the roads like carpet.

Despite all this I did go do hills earlier in the week. I chose a steep but short hill and did 10 repeats. My marathon training schedule said to do five, but I figured I needed to make up for the fact that the hill was only half the length it should have been.

Yesterday I went for another run, but this time decided to head to the nearest town, Maniwaki. Like the rural area, the town is also all hills, some quite steep. I decided to approach the run as a vacation run. I have been feeling like this marathon training thing is too serious, not to mention a little too time consuming! The race last Saturday reminded me that running can be fun and doesn’t have to be all about numbers. I knew there was no way I was going to do my 26k LSD in Maniwaki. Too many hills, too small of a town, too little knowledge of the area. So it became an “I’m on vacation, I’ll do whatever I want” run. I know I ran fast for a while and I know the last half was a slow “tourist” run. I know I did about 14.5k, any other details I’ll have to check on my Garmin later.

Being on vacation, I decided to have treat at the end of my run. I figured a McDonald’s smoothie and some fries would be just the thing. Maniwaki is of course very French. I am, well, very much not French. I wish I was bilingual, but I grew up in Southern Ontario where even if you took French every year, you really only picked up the basics. So I know my French is bad but…

I proudly ordered my medium strawberry banana smoothie and small fries in my best French, even remembering a please. The girl behind the cash looked at me like I had two heads. She apparently was not able to decipher a word I said. I assured myself that I probably had not been loud enough and she simply couldn’t hear me in the busy store. So I tried again, with what I thought was even clearer pronunciation. Apparently not. Now, can I just note here that the word “smoothie” is the same in English and French, so I am feeling pretty confident I did not screw that word up. Finally another worker seemed to understand me and repeated it for the girl taking the order. The smoothie and fries were great but the experience of getting them did nothing to build my confidence in speaking in another language!

By the time I returned to the cabin I figured I was already in sweaty clothes, why not another run? So I took my 10 year old, Evan, for a 3 k training run to help him prepare for his upcoming 5k Army Run in September. Upon returning to the cabin we picked up my 8 year old, Luke, and one of our dogs and went for a 1.5k run. So in the end, I covered 19k, not all of it at once, not all of it quickly, but it felt like a vacation run.

There will be lots of time to get serious about training again next week. Actually, I really have no choice but to get serious, only ten weeks to go!

One thought on “Vacation Running

  1. Rebecca

    Haha – I’m from southern Ontario too, and like you my French is horrible. you know that 1664 or whatever that French beer is called’s commercial where they are speaking in gibberish French – that’s the extent of my French!

    I’m going camping next week so I hoping to get some runs in!


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