'It don't (always) come easy'

It doesn't matter how fit you are or how addicted you are to staying that way, it can still be tough to persuade yourself to get in your workout.

Take this past Sunday. Ernesto was dumping the last of his soggy load over central Canada. Summer, it seemed, had given way over the course of a couple of days to fall. A definite chill in the air.

It was the kind of morning that you'd hit the snooze button two, three, maybe four times before trying to decide whether the comfort of the covers trumped the growing need to head down the hall.

Actually, it was the kind of morning most sane people wouldn't bother with an alarm clock – it being the Sunday of a long weekend. And when those sane people did get up, they'd make sure they were well caffeinated before taking on anything that required the slightest effort.

But I had to get 35 kilometres in. That's what the program called for. Rain or shine. Part of the habit I've developed over the past few years. Ignore it, and my brain would conspire against my body, telling it I would not be ready for a fall marathon.

It's never easy to put in a training run of 35 kilometres. It's a little easier when you have company. Five of us were going at about the same pace for most of the distance.

When you're going long, a good way to determine that you're going at the right pace is the ability to carry on a conversation. Over 35 kilometres, you've got time to cover a lot of conversational ground.

We dealt with imploding Blue Jays, hockey signings, Tiger Woods's latest surge, Steffi Graf's legs and explosive diarrhea.

Gord and Derm got caught up on a singing contest broadcast by another network, not the one the CBC carried. But the lingering effects of a cold would soon catch up with Derm and force him to drop off the pace. A lonely runner can be easy pickings for a hungry grizzly. Fortunately, grizzlies don't prowl along the shores of Mississauga's Credit River.

By the 27th kilometre, Rob pointed out that we stopped talking. Not because we ran out of things to say, but because we were too gassed to say anything. Somebody, could've been me, grunted in agreement.

In the end, we got those 35 kilometres in. Not much the worse for wear, although a hot shower did reveal those hidden spots where chaffing had done its dirty work.

Did eventually manage to have that second, and even a third coffee, that morning. By then, getting up that early on a holiday weekend didn't seem that big a deal.