Tuesday, April 29, 2008

In The After Glow

I still feel like I’m basking in the after glow of Sunday's Half Marathon!

I feel it more so today as I find standing, sitting, walking and doing stairs a little easier. I should remember from past experiences that it does get easier as the hours and days pass but yesterday I was in such denial, I felt like I would never be able to run again. Last evening the denial subsided for a short period of time...the window of opportunity was just long enough to put my money down on the 10km Mother’s Day Race on May 11th!

Is this lunacy? What about obsessive? Maybe even addiction? Some would say most definitely yes! I say it’s living a healthy lifestyle and being passionate!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Half The Distance.....

.....twice the fun! It was from the moment I arrived at the start line!

To be in the midst of an unbelievable energy level created by every single one of the 2499 members of my extended running family is so invigorating and motivating. My energy is on the verge of explosion as we have to wait an extra few minutes past 8:00 am before the race starts.

Five minutes into it, I knew my choice of shorts and a short sleeve shirt was a wise one, as others are already tying their jackets around their waists. As a running guru once told me, add ten degrees to the current temperature and dress for that.

The route was clear except for about a 45 second downhill meandering narrow tree lined path that was covered in hard packed snow and ice. If there was a place to have an incident, this was the place as two of "Our City’s Finest" monitored the area. Speaking of "Our City’s Finest", one of our not so finest (others think otherwise) "Our Mayor" was having not so fine moments at the half way point. As I approach I notice a slight wobble in his walk and as I pass I detect a grimace on his face. If anyone should be familiar with "when the going gets tough the tough get going" he should be! "Come on Mr. Mayor, get the job done!" I thought to myself!

I even had the pleasure to return home, to my true home, to my roots for a few minutes. I felt my nose turn blue, to show the true Bluenoser that I am as a troupe of bagpipers wailed their tunes to inspire us and pull us up that hill out of the Weaselhead Flats. They worked for me!

I experienced a first in my 10 years of running. Ms V; female; age category 70-75 has always crossed the finish line well ahead of me in any race we both took part in. I paced with her for a bit but as always with a couple of kms to go, I have a little extra saved to expel and I did again today. I carried on, not to see her again. Me first this time Ms V but I do want to be like you when I am in the 70-75 year old age category.

Different attitudes, different personalities, different treatments! I saw two old flames...D choose to smile brightly and say hi, B choose to cut in front of me and purposely ignore me while sporting a limp and a sour puss. They say it is good to have similar interests when it comes to dating. One drawback, you never truly part ways.

In a race of 21.1 km and you have completed 21km, when you turn the last corner with .1 to go, it’s a straight stretch, the finish line is in sight, and the thunderous supporters are doing that thing that they do so well, the emotions bubble to the surface with the realization in a few seconds all the hard work will be rewarded. Nothing worth accomplishing comes easy and today was no walk in the park! With my arms high in the air in victory, a smile so wide, I proudly cross the finish line! I receive my medal, I can’t speak, I hold back tears, I take a few minutes to process what I did and then....I CELEBRATE!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Runner Remembers

With 24 hours to go to the start of my fourth Police Half Marathon, I reminisce about the previous three! Each one has a funny story that stands out for me.

The first one, my two good running friends and I stood at the start line together with a plan to meet at the end because my pace was a bit quicker than theirs. The race happened, I crossed the finish line only to see them standing there. I did not remember my two good friends passing me, I was a bit delirious and was trying to process what I saw...both standing there with gauze patches on their knees, elbows and hands. One tripped on the train tracks at the 5km to 7km distance, knocking the other one down and those on their tails falling on top of them. Those folks got up, carried on while my two friends were treated by the EMS who were positioned at that mile marker. EMS suggested they call it a day and head home. It’s funny now but wasn’t then!

The second one, I ran on my own and the route was the same as the first one. I over hear conversations from the folks on my tail that leads me to believe it is a pace bunny leading a pack of newbies. He’s passing along advice on pace, water drinking, walk breaks etc. As we approach the 5km to 7km distance, I hear the bunny give a piece of very important information. He explains there are train tracks ahead, be careful with your footing because last year two girls tripped and those on their tails fell on top of them. I picked up the pace a bit to get away from those around me and high stepped over the tracks. I smiled and chuckled to myself because I knew he was talking about my two good running friends. My friends had a good laugh when I shared this story with them!

The third one, I did some of my long training runs with a Running Room group. One fellow in the group had an issue with me, not sure what it was, but was rude to me and always had a not so nice comment to pass along even when I would see him in my office building. He had his n_ts in a knot over something! On race day, our pace was similar but our 10 and 1s didn’t jive so there was lots of passing each other. His effort seemed more in having a comment to pass along to me then on his race. I ignored him and stayed focus at the task at hand. With a couple of kms to go, I picked up the pace, I had stored energy to spend. I did not see him anymore. Just before the finish line, I hear heavy quick foot steps coming behind me, it’s him and he crosses the finish line right in front of me, comes to an abrupt stop, leans over and losses his cookies. I have to jump to the side or I would topple on top of him, I look at him and laugh! To this day, there are no more comments from him when I see him in my building, in fact, he can’t even look at me! I still laugh at him!

The fourth one........

I wonder what tomorrow’s story will be?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Verdict is Orange

Why did they pick orange? That’s the color of the Police Half Marathon shirt this year! I picked mine up today, I could hardly wait to see it. That’s one of the exciting things about these races, the anticipation of seeing what the shirt looks like!

I checked out what orange stands for! It represents energy, warmth, sun, good health. All things you hope to feel on race day. It’s considered a color on the edge...changing leaves...setting sun. Some would consider running a half marathon living on the edge. It’s a power color that stands for determination and enthusiasm both of which get you to the start line to begin 21.1 kilometers and follow you through to the success of crossing the finish line. Success, that’s something else orange stands for along with vitality and endurance.

That’s why they picked orange! I wonder if they even knew all this!

Lady Luck’s color is orange! I will tuck her in my back pocket Sunday morning and listen to her yelling "You Go Girl"!

Monday, April 21, 2008

It Was So Long Ago......

...not really, it just seems that way!

Actually, it’s only been nine days. I have another six days to go. It’s a long time to go without a long run. I will loose everything I gained in training!

...not really, it just seems that way!

Those in the know say that’s how long it is suppose to be for your last long run before race day. They also say, that it is normal to think and feel that way.

My appetite has increased substantially the last little while and I’m satisfy the craving. I’m sleeping lots, even having weekend daytime naps. I’m even enjoying more than usual sofa time. After another six days of this, I will be like a bump on a log and have no energy or motivation come the 27th.

...not really, it just seems that way!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Eight More Sleeps

Is it too early to start counting sleeps? It seems so close but yet so far!

What if the 27th looks like today? Why should this even be a concern...the majority of my training runs were in conditions much similar to this, some even worse. I’ve been checking the long range forecast the last few days. I know it’s Calgary and the weather can change....even for the better! I’m glad I did my drive through last weekend! I’m glad all my weekend runs are done. I’m glad I only have two left to do this coming week!

I wonder if the path will be clear the whole way? I hope the Weaselhead Hill is not too tough! I hope I will sleep decent the night before!

Concerns, worries, doubts! Oh Oh the left side of the brain is trying to take control! I remember I go through this for each and every longer distance race. Is this one of those things where they say "it comes with the territory"! Sometimes I wonder why I even get myself into situations like this! I liken it to when women give birth...the reward is worth all the pain!

I know this will be tough and trying! Would you believe I even had the gall to sign up for another half marathon only three weeks after! Some would say...."you need your head examined"!

5 Instead of 6

I wimped out!
Today's Run
The Neighborhood Route
-13 Degrees Celcius
-22 Degrees Celcuis Windchill
Cloud, Snow, Wind, Ice
This was my last weekend run before the race.
My hope was for sunshine, shorts, sweat!
Ice pellets felt like sandpaper scraping my face!
The proof is on my cheeks!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Not So Private, Privates!

I have another Transit commute story to share!

Today on my bus commute home, I sat in the sideways seat at the back of the bus. A female sat directly across from me. I will call her a female because she was not lady-like, well, she did not sit lady-like. She had a black coat on, and nothing underneath covering her legs. No hose, no pants, no skirt, no dress, no socks and like I said, she did not sit lady-like. Her coat fell open to the sides of her legs as she sat with her purse on her lap. Good thing the tops of her legs were plump and game together there! Geesh! I was embarrassed for her and for myself!

At the next stop, more folks boarded the already full bus. Most of them had to stand and thank goodness a guy stood between me and the female directly across from me. He blocked my view, good thing, because you know when you should not look and you do not want to look and you try not to look, you can’t help but look! He was big, spread his legs for balance and spread his arms as he stood and faced me while he held onto the bar above. You know when you should not look and you do not want to look and you try not to look, you can’t help but look.....

.......his zipper was down!!! Geesh!!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Is It Me You’re Looking For?

It was me you were looking for and you found me!

It happened once and now it’s happening again!

The first time was in 2001 through the "Classmates" website. I had a few moments to spare at work and passed the time by checking into the Classmates website which I posted my name on not long before. Low and behold there was a message from my best friend in high school who I had not been in contact with for 26 years. WOW! What an exciting day that was and look at us now! After 26 years, we renewed our friendship and now we are already into year seven!

When we were friends in high school, I don’t believe our true values or interests were developed yet. What was important then was frivolous and silly. It was a time of just sailing along, taking each day at a time, no plans, no destinations, no passions (well maybe one, The Merb). So why was there a connection? I look back and I realize our destiny of friendship was already planned out. The road was paved, be it was a crooked one! Things got in the way, or should I say our parents got in the way.

Our lives turned out to be so different but we, ourselves, turned out to be so much alike!

She married and had three precious children. I stayed single and no children for me. I do love everyone else’s though. She stayed in Nova Scotia and I moved to the West. She’s a stay-at-home Mom running a household for five, I beat the path to work each day to support one. Our lifestyles are so different and so wonderful and right for each of us. Our values, our beliefs, our ways, our styles, our interests could not have turned out more the same. From scrap booking, cross-stitching, journaling, reading, to wine tasting, coffee in the mornings, craft stores, country drives and quiet times. Our hearts and souls are mirror images.

Our high school destiny had the way already paved but we met a fork in the road and took different paths. We took the scenic milk route instead of the express highway to reunite in friendship!

How could our parents have been so wrong about something so right! If only they could see us now!

The second time was last week through Facebook! A childhood friend came searching. Is it me your looking for? It was me and it is me! Could I be twice lucky? Time will tell!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sunny Saturday Shorts Shouldice!

That about sums it up!
Today's Run
To Shouldice Bridge and Return
-1 Degree at Start, +14 Degrees at Finish
Sunshine, No Wind
Alls well that ends well! All parts feel fine and still working!
I'm as ready as I can be!
Now for the hard part...eat, sleep, be lazy until the big day!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Last Long Run

Saturday will be my last long training run (20km is the plan)! Then I have to deal with two weeks of taper, which I am not looking forward to because I’m already having issues. I don’t know how I am going to contain myself, how I’m going to store all that energy for 14 days and 14 nights!

At last weekend’s live play, I lasted through the first act of 75 minutes with only a tad of jitter. The second act, I left my friends to enjoy the play without disruption and sat by myself in the aisle seat of the back empty row.

I was a disturbance at work on Wednesday! A co-worker said "sit still"! There was no polite asking me to or suggesting me to, it was an abrupt "sit still". I did not even realize I was being a disturbance. I guess I should have clued in when shortly before that, another co-worker said "Thumper"! I just thought she was talking to her self, maybe it was a full moon or she was surfing and saw a Bambi ad.

My answer to the "sit still" was not to sit still but go for a 30 minute walk through the Plus 15.

I look forward to my last long training run so I can freely and enjoyable spend this energy. Oh my gosh though, the two weeks after that will be rough. I realize now, my co-workers are not counting down the days with me to the race because they are supportive of my running but because then they won’t have to deal with the shaking floors and furniture!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Today’s My Friday!

So much to do! So little time!

Golden Friday’s! Flex Friday’s! Every 3rd Friday’s! Most places these days have these kinds of Friday’s as a perk, not where I work, if I want a Friday off, I have to take a vacation day. That’s what tomorrow is for me, a vacation day to make a nice long weekend.

It will be a long list, long weekend. You know, one of those weekends with plans of making lots of checkmarks. Mine will be left-handed backwards checkmarks. I saved up things to do for this weekend, knowing it would be a long list, long weekend. It will be an opportunity to deal with all those big white elephants that have been hiding in drawers. Oh! I do have fun things planned too!

So, right now, it’s Thursday and I have that Friday night feeling!
Don’t ya just love it!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Wreck This Journal

I’ve been having fun with this journal lately!

Ever since I can remember, I have had a love for journals of all kinds. From a very young age, I would print or write in diaries, notebooks, scribblers, any notebook-type thing I could find that I could fill pages with words. I always had this desire or inner need to put words on paper. (Could there be a deeper meaning to this?) For me, it was a chance to express thoughts and feelings either good or bad. I enjoyed tracking events, recording occurrences and playing with words to make them rhyme. I would pay careful attention that my penmanship was neat, that I stayed within the lines, all spelling was correct and do my best with the grammar part of it.

"Wreck This Journal" by Keri Smith, is a unique journal and like nothing I’ve ever seen before. As with all journals, this one is still an open invitation to self expression, but asks for it to be represented in a different manner. This little black book welcomes you to toss away all rules and restrictions you put on yourself when expressing in your journals. It challenges you to throw away all abandonment and let loose onto its’ pages!

It has gone snowshoeing, its accompanied me on a daily work commute or two, it has even come to bed with me! It’s not something I play with regularly, just once in awhile when I feel reckless with my thoughts!

Fog Horn Leg Worn

Legs not really worn, but they know they carried me for 18km!

Today's Run
T'was in need of a beacon of light to guide me to the start!
To Shouldice and Return
-3 Degrees Celcius
Foggy Cool to Start
Sunny Warm to Finish

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Rosebud Blossoms......

......as does my very good friend who turned 70 on March 27th! Today was our turn to celebrate with her and where is there a better place to acknowledge blossoming then at a hamlet called Rosebud.

An eight hour day, a buffet, and a live play!

Weather-wise it was not a day for blossoms but was fine for the 75 minute drive north east of Calgary. With time on our side, we visited the unique gift shops and filled a few minutes with photo opportunities. Our 11:30 buffet appointment found us sitting in a country decorated kitchen/café, being serenaded by strolling musicians as we savoured an array of delicious food.

The afternoon was topped off with an enjoyable live play put on in a small prairie-type theater located in the center of this sleepy little hamlet. After the lights come on and we stand clapping in appreciation, we walked out the door chuckling and smiling and sharing positive affirmations of the performance. What a pleasant way to spend a Saturday with my two very good friends in recognition of a special occasion! Happy Birthday my friend!

Friday, April 4, 2008