Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Tale of a Tortuous Tour of St. Andrews, NB

I have now run every square inch of St. Andrews, NB Canada.

What started as mere passive intervention, an early effort at preventing backsliding, ended in a punishing tour of every beach, cove, fairway, flashing light, green, highway, hill, island, path, rock, street, trail, wood, and maintenence shed to be found in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.


You must remember, (how can you not?) Mike's shocking comment about the benefits of not running weekly 20 milers:

I think there is something to be said for not doing back to back weekend 20+ long runs. - Mike
I get chills just typing it.  I sensed something amiss. The slack coming from across the bay was palpable, brass, and saucy.

Here were the warning signs:

1. Wife unaccountably invokes a curfew.
2. He somehow hurts himself while brushing his teeth.
3. He starts running routes mysteriously similar to Irish artwork.
4. And begins talking airily about having 'no plan'.
5. Blatantly declares cutting the long run short on a blog read by millions

Action Plan

This was an emergency! I immediately invited myself to his town for the long run. He accepted - but with a sinister plan that was to unfold.

I left before dawn's early light and made my way to the border where:

"No, I am not carrying a firearm." "Yes, I will pay all taxes while visiting. " "No, I am not leaving anything in Canada." "Yes, I will stay only for the day." "No, it's not too early to go for a run. " "Yes, it should be a fine day". "Thank you, I will."

(Coming to America was only slightly different: "Yes, I am an American." "No, I have no one with me." "Yes, you may look in the trunk for people." "No, I was running." "Yes, it was a nice run." "Thank you, I will.")

I rocketed along the darkened Maritime highways at brilliant speeds (measured in km/hr) and arrived at Mike's house just in time. And we were off.

The Run

Mike was kind enough to let our first mile be 9:30 as I take awhile to get the engines going. By the end we averaged around 8:34 per mile.

I don't think there is a neighborhood in St. Andrews that Mike did not have me run through. We went up and down every blessed street, through town, around town, along the shore, and through hill and dale. At one point, he had me running on a sand bar (better to be named "rock bar" it hurt my feet so much) to Ministers Island. We reached the island only to turn around and retrace our footprints across the rocky pile of debris left by an errant glacier. (As an aside, you can't run there at high tide. Actually come to think of it, you shouldn't run there at any time.)

What beauty! We did see an amazing sunrise as we puffed up hills that resembled skyscrapers. Then to the golf course! Mike lets the town use this golf course in the summer. He reclaims it beginning in the autumn. Up, down, across, zig, zag. You name it. At one point, I was lost in some thoughts and off he turns without a 'Hey Andy, let's turn here.' I happened to look and there he was bolting away across a green. I think he was trying to shake me.

Oh, and the trail. We were running on a perfectly fine road that I thought led back to his house. I had drained the last drop of water I was carrying 20 minutes ago and I needed a refill. But nooooooo. It was cross country time! Up through the woods and round and round a path with frost, twigs, and low branches that whipped your face. Surprisingly, this little jaunt through the woods (that led to the golf course again [surprise!]) gave some new life to the legs after the tortuous tour thus far.

As I staggered to the house for life sustaining water, he announces 'only four miles to go'. And this time it's the hilly highway. We made it though and another 20 miler is in the log - both mine and Mike's.

Thank goodness.

So after a Fig Newton and tour of his pond, I headed back to the good old USA, satisfied that I had done my duty as a friend. He can't possibly skip out next week - Marc will be here and we can't run without the entire crew, can we?


Blogger Love2Run said...

My eyes are watering! My side hurts!! You didn't mention that we snuck up on all the hills!!! Next week for sure, oh my!

11/26/2006 9:47 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

And? Did you convince him to switch to Lydiard training?

11/27/2006 7:36 AM  
Blogger UMaine Cooperative Extension said...

Classic post! What a great read.

I am a little leary about coming up next weekend - I am getting a little worried about you and Mike...

11/27/2006 1:47 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

That was some hilarious reading. Way to go getting your bud on track.

11/27/2006 2:07 PM  
Blogger D said...

What an adventurous run!

11/27/2006 3:40 PM  

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