What’s the deal with that hill?

I bought my current home just over 6 years ago. The house being close to the trails in the Don Valley was a huge part of the decision as well I got lucky finding an affordable home anywhere in Downtown Toronto. We all know those days are forever gone. I live on a quiet street very close to the top of the Pottery Road hill, infamous for its grade and the DQ at the top. Nearly every run begins with a reluctant decent into the valley and over the tracks and on to the trails. For every run that begins that way, each will end with the climb back up the hill. It can be a trudge, a sludge, a race, a grind, a hard one, an easy one, a one step in front of the other or a “ man I flew up it today “ kind of thing. I have many runner friends who would kill for a hill like this. Cyclists come from far and wide, well from somewhere, to do repeats on this hill and it’s cousin which goes up to the Loblaws from the intersection of Bayview and Pottery Rd.

So knowing what lies at the end of every run requires a certain mindset to get up it everyday.  My main go to is the “ make a deal with the hill “method. On particularly tough days, super long run type of day, I make a deal with this hill. As the idea of running up the hill enters my consciousness, probably about 5K from the hill, I tell myself “ today you don’t have to run the hill, you will have done enough”. Yesterday was one of those days, a 32 K run with heat and not much rest from Wednesday’s tough trail group. I extend my long run each time out by going further and further south of Pottery Rd and yesterday I went past Riverdale Park. By the time I returned and crested the small hill after the trestle bridge I was was done. I had made the deal 30 minutes ago, no hill today. And yet, but, maybe, well ok and here we go. Up I went, never fails, I break the no hill deal every time. Someday I get extra motivation from the few dollars in my pocket which will buy me a grape soda or two.

A freind recently showed me a trail option for the Pottery Rd hill. Adds about 500 metres I am guessing and much steeper but quieter, shadier and nobody else there.

My deal with my hill is always a broken promise but I feel pretty each time I get to the top.



The Last Year

I have not added a new post in almost a year though I have continued to run pretty much every day on the trails. I have not written anything for this blog even though I did three trail sessions last fall and I am doing two more starting in the next couple weeks. I want to thank everyone who has been part of Toronto TRUE Running and to the many of you who continue to be a part. Your friendship and support during the last year has been so great. About a year ago, almost exactly, something happened to me. I started hearing a ringing sound in my head. At first it was intermittent and quite variable. Coming and going, changing in pitch and intensity but after the first month or so the noise became somewhat permanent. At first running, especially on the trails was a wonderful refuge and the noise disappeared as soon as I entered the woods. That lasted only for a short time when the sound in my head joined me there as well.

For the last 10 months or so, the sound has intensified and is ever present. After many ENT visits and several  trips to the hearing clinic at Sunnybrook along with many tests including one for Lyme disease I arrived at Tinnitus. Although all tinnitus is much the same, the user perceives the sound differently. In my case I hear the high pitched ringing sound in both ears almost continuously and it usually is very loud. It is particularly bad at night and I sleep very poorly as a result. This is the case for many people who have tinitus. The treatment is learning to live with it and teach your brain it is not an important sound, let it be the train that runs beside your home that as a resident you never hear. This was actually the case when I was child.

So this is where I am. I told only a few people. I tried to power through it. Another challenge, another race to run, no problem. Things are better now at times but often not. Part of my job is continue to be engaged in the things that let me focus away from the noise. Running, travel, drawing, the work with Don’t Mess with the Don, playing guitar poorly and yes resuming this blog, are all healthy pursuits I must make time for. Engagement with life keeps the train in the background but not in the station.

Thanks so much to all. Nancy, Kate, friends, runners and everyone who helps me find peace, a few minutes or hours at a time.




Fall trail running sessions start September 4, 5 and 6

Hi Everyone

Toronto TRUE Running’s fall sessions start soon. The sessions are close to being sold out. There are 2 spots left in the intermediate Wednesday nights and a couple spots left in the Tuesday and Thursday beginners group. We meet at 6:30 each night for 8 weeks. Improve your running and explore the amazing Don trail single track system. Trail Running is a great variation and addition to your road running and the trails are at their best in the Fall. Cool comfortable weather and fall foliage.


Visit http://www.torontotruerunning.com for all the details