In 10 days, I run a 25 km trail race at Sulphur Springs. Let’s be clear: I’m a swimmer, not a runner. I am not a natural land animal, and would much rather bob along in freezing water than lug my guts across an arid, rocky course. I blame my friend Mel, the one on the right, who will be tackling the 100-mile race that day (at least 24 hours of solid running) and Tina, on the left, who completed the 100-miler last year and is going for it again. I am in awe of both of them, but I still blame Mel for talking me into this. Years ago I ran (not well) and enjoyed it, but that was in high school. I have no illusions about this — I won’t mind coming in last. At least, that’s what I tell myself. (Kim raises an eyebrow at that one. After 15 years of living with me, I guess she’d know.) The point is, I decided to take Paula’s advice and run a “fast” 10 km, 10 days before the race, in order to improve my performance at the big event. Paula is a runner extraordinaire, who routinely makes the podium and does super-woman feats, like qualify for the Boston Marathon. Paula will be there too, running the 25 km with me. (When I say with me, I mean she will be a flash of fast-drying fabric at the starting line, as she whips past me to join the lead pack.) Since today is the magic 10 day marker, I decided what the hell, I need all the help I can get. This morning I ran my “fast” 10 km at the Beaches and was shocked to find my time shaved by nine minutes. Either I got the start time wrong, which is entirely possible, or I have literally been dragging my ass since training began in January, which is entirely probable. Hell, Paula can probably run 10 km in nine minutes. At any rate, according to Paula’s math, I’m as good as I can hope to get before the race. And while I am looking forward to the run, and especially to cheering on Mel and Tina, I am more impatient for Lake Ontario to warm up so I can start swimming again. I’m toying with the idea of going for the 10 km open water race in Welland this August. I’m not really sure why.