In which I return to Halifax and run

I know, I know: All of you are expecting a Sunday Read. Well, you’re all spoiled.


Seriously (for a second), I’m sorry, folks: but I’m in the middle of moving cities and it’s been hectic. I expect by this time next week I’ll be blogging on my regular schedule. But for now this training report will just have to suffice.


La la la…I can’t hear you!

After nearly three years away, I returned to Halifax and joined the city’s running club for their regular Sunday jaunt. I have to say, it was swell. Really, it was.

Now, I know many of my readers (like Noortje, just to name one) expect to hear how I ran hills only slightly smaller than Everest, suffered the blistering pace of pro marathoners and ultimately had to flag down a semi-trailer and make it return me to my starting destination – all of that is true, but besides the point.

I joined five of the club runners on the Bluenose half marathon route, which traverses the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge and pushes you through a rolling course in Dartmouth. A shaded path along Lake Banook offers a nice break before the climb up through the grave yard and then up over the bridge again.

I was running with Nova Scotia’s Chief Deputy Medical Officer, who takes his job very seriously because in the back end of the run he began to push the pace. I accepted the punishment silently, wondering what I’d done to deserve this rich run.

Coming up and over the bridge, we were running in the low 4:20/km range and then as we hit the flat along the waterfront, Frank dropped the hammer and we stayed between 4:20/km and 4:12.

Gamely, I tried to cover up the horrendous wheezing issuing from my lungs.

“Great day,” Frank chatted.

“Uh-HUH!” I managed in pained agreement.

The pace increased.

Frank began to go on about this, that and the other thing.

Every now and again I’d gasp in quiet agreement.

Frank continued to prattle on while notching up the speed.

Wouldn’t the man ever shut up?

“Oh for mercy’s sake!” I blurted.

Startled, Frank glanced at me.

“No, no, it’s fine,” I reassured.

“Just an exclamation of joy over today’s run,” I managed before huffing for breath again.

Finally, just as I felt my legs would break off and I’d sink weeping onto the asphalt, Frank broke the brutal pace.

Back at the club, he modestly informed the others of the wonderful time we’d spent together. “I crushed Charles like a worm,” he said, generously. “He was weeping most of the way, the old softy. He begged, but I was relentless.”

The other club members rejoiced at my return. “You will have to re-undergo the initiation, of course,” Andrew L. said.

Added Darcy: “We have the tools. Are you circumcised?”

Yup. Great to be back home.

About subthree

A multiple award-winning journalist, I'm currently a contributing editor with both Canadian Running and Canadian Cycling magazines. My articles have appeared in Explore, Canadian Geographic, enRoute, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and many other magazines and newspapers. Formerly a competitive cross-country mountain biker, I switched to running in 2006. I've run seven marathons, qualifying for Boston five times (and which I've run once). Generally, I've placed or won in my age group in races, in distances ranging from five and 10 kms to half and full marathons. I've also taught spin classes at a number of leading Eastern Canadian gyms. Sub-three was a 2012 #Runchat finalist for Best Overall Blog.
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10 Responses to In which I return to Halifax and run

  1. Rob Jackson says:

    Hilarious! Maybe your best yet. Sounds like the makings of a book …

  2. Matt Tibbits says:

    Comon man… you can run a sub 3 minute pace 🙂 I’ve seen it

  3. Ian cordner says:

    Good entry Charles. It’s been almost 36 years since this Montrealer, now Frederictonian made it to Halifax. When I ran with the UNB “Red Harriers” back in 1972 or 3, and continued a 4 year winning streak at the Atlantic CIAU’s in Mt. Pleasant Park. I’d like to get back there this summer or next though.

  4. Chris Murphy says:

    They changed the half marathon route for the Bluenose this year, it no longer crosses over to Dartmouth, which is a shame because the bridge is a deceptively tough, fun portion of the run.

    • subthree says:

      That is a shame, Chris. The bridge offers runners, particularly those from outside of Halifax, spectacular views. And, yes, particularly climbing back from Dartmouth, it’s a tough hill. Thanks for reading.

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