Spring Arrives... Routines and Rituals Part II

In part II of this post, I look at rituals, those personal practices to mark the spring equinox and mentally ground oneself in advance of race season.  Last week, I talked about routines, which are focused tasks to get ready for the work ahead.


Pause to appreciate the changing landscape - Each spring, the yard of a particular home on one of my regular running routes through Rosedale erupts in blue, seemingly spontaneously becoming blanketed in scilla, tiny blue ground flowers.  I make a point to stop running, pause my Garmin and appreciate the beauty.

Embrace the shorts and t-shirt - It almost goes without saying that as the mercury rises, we we all appreciate our early runs in shorts and t-shirts.  This year, if you don't count a freak warm spell in February, one of my earliest and warmest runs took place in Manitoba on April 8th.  Rob took me on a relaxing jog through west end Winnipeg, visiting the various schools he attended as a child and youth.  This wasn't about pace, but instead, enjoying the sunshine and taking a trip down memory lane. 

Race the Boston Marathon - Okay, so I haven't done that, but like many runners, I'll follow the mass pilgrimage vicariously through Twitter.

Pound the pavement - Certain events mean that warmer weather is on its way.  They also let me benchmark my fitness at the start of the year.  The Achilles St. Patrick's Day 5 km is a new tradition that I began just last year.  This time around, the weather turned frosty and we were greeted with -4C temperatures.  I didn't reach my goal of beating my personal best, but I did crank out a 18:32 (chip) finish time.  Not bad, considering minimal speed work over the winter and that extra glass (or two) of pinot grigio I had at a dinner party the night prior.

Achilles - and we're off! 

Post-race at Achilles.  Much warmer and happier.  

A long time spring race tradition in our household is the Canada Running Series Race Roster Spring Run-Off in High Park.  I've often described that event as a reunion for the running community, when athletes of all ages and abilities emerge from hibernation and shed layers of clothing to dash through the tree-lined roads of this beautiful urban park.  Sadly, I missed it this year following the death of a family member, but I'll be back next year.

My final springtime ritual is connecting with fellow runners and duathletes to compare our calendars, in hopes that we'll get to race together in the months to come.  In many ways, running and duathlon can be solitary sports, but to me, I wouldn't be so passionate about them if it weren't for the camaraderie.

Looking forward to seeing many of you this season!