Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Is the two week reign of chaos over?

So it's been a couple of weeks since my last blog and I have a good excuse... honest!! Umm... the dog ate my calendar? No? Kidnapped by aliens who decided Earth had a really good return policy?

Okay, none of those work, but I do have a good reason for why I haven't infected the internet with my inane ramblings. I moved house. I suppose I should be glad that it's not an international move; but frankly given the last couple of weeks, an international move seemed easy.

We were just moving down the road, from a condo to a townhouse. Seems easy. This is where the chaos set in. When you think something is easy you don't plan. BOY, did we NOT plan this move very well. I mean, what needed to be done? Throw a few things in a box, con your friends husbands into helping and hire a U-HAUL van? How hard could it be?

We failed to take into account that we would all have a horrible head colds; D would have an unsettled week; the new house has horrendously dirty and the contents our condo cupboards had been very busy in the night and multiplied. If that wasn't enough, we ended up NOT taking all furniture we should have. We didn't have enough boxes, so had to shift those after the fact and I couldn't do more than 3 hours of cleaning/shifting/packing/unpacking before being wiped out for the day. Add in Spring break, play-dates, school meetings and battling government for ASD funding. I am not sure how we managed to survive the last fortnight without some kind of murder, arson, GBH or divorce happening.

We are handing the keys of the old condo back today and I am not sure if we have sufficiently cleaned the place to get our deposit back, but frankly I don't care. At this point any money we do get back is going straight into my 'let's get drunk and forget this ever happened' fund.

It's over - after today all I have to do is try and get the townhouse sorted. This maybe a task in itself; one that might not be completed until the next time we move.

So lessons learnt? Next time, get the company to move us internationally and then they will do all of this for us! Okay, maybe a little drastic. We could buy this house and NEVER move until we die OR the bum-prints on the sofa start growing new forms of life. The other alternative involves methodical planning and organising. Think I will stick with the the bum-print-sofa-lifeforms. I'll call him 'Cecil' and we will feed him banana's.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Crazy idea's you have on a run.. Graffiti Race Shirts

I like to think of myself as a partially creative person. I say 'partially', because it is dependant on how much wine I have drunk and/or how 'zen'ed' out I am. Due to these two limitations on my creativity, wacky idea's usually come to me either on a girl's night out or a long run.

So on my long run a couple of weeks ago I had this strange idea....

Graffiti race shirts. That probably doesn't make any sense so I'll explain.

We are all coming into race season and this means quite a few things:
  • An increase in training and those associated aches and pains;
  • Planning your work time around runs, (sorry that should be planning your run's around work time- I always get those mixed up);
  • Devoting more energy planning your post-run nutrition than to your day-to-day nutrition;
  • The list could go on.
One of the characteristics of race time are the shirts. My first race is tomorrow and it's a 5K local race. As such, the shirt they provide is a printed, white cotton affair that comes in one size. Something you would wear around the house maybe and then eventually use it for dusters. It's nothing you would wear out and nothing you would necessarily take pride in wearing. This is also my friends first Road Race EVER. They have worked hard on this. This is an achievement for them, and something they should be proud of; Something they should brag about to well EVERYONE. This shirt isn't it!

Wouldn't it be great if you had one race shirt that lasted you all season? A shirt that you could catalogue ALL of your races on. One which you could write little comments about the time, the people you meet, the weather. Something that would be unique to you and would intimately remind you of your running. Every time you completed a race you would get to write your race event on the back, maybe with the time.

Think of the shirts you get at music concerts. They have all the locations and dates of the shows on the back. Well, this would be YOUR running race tour shirt. Instead of the dates of the concerts, you would get to note down the races you have run. At the end of the racing season you may have a whole list of tour dates. If you are just getting started in the running game, then you could keep the shirt over to the next season and see how long it takes you to fill the shirt.

Quite often these crazy idea's disappear in the haze of the hangover or the coffee fix at the end of the run, which is usually a good thing. However this time I actually decided to ACT upon my crazy craft idea. Trust me, alcohol was involved in the creation of the shirt, as well as $10 worth of craft paint and a couple of old tech shirts. So here are my prototypes.. as you can see *cough* I need to work on the technique a little. Hehehe..

But for your enjoyment and my humiliation is the "Gr4ffiti Race Shirt"... A hand painted race shirt that you can you use as a reminder of every race you have run. So is this idea a "runner"?.. if so let me know and all cheques made payable to the local liquor store..:)

First race of the year.. for lots of us.

So today I had my first race of the year. A local 5K race in the small city I live in. It raises funds for the local hospital. Not a big affair, but as mentioned before, this is the race where I hold a grudge.

A year ago, this was the race I ran in which I broke two bones in my ankle. This race is personal. It's also personal for another reason. Today was the first race for the friends I was coaching. It meant a lot to me and them. My Son, D, was also running his first ever race today. A 1K that took place about 30 mins before the 5K.

D, was fantastic. For his first race, he showed the qualities a runner should. When he fell down, he picked himself up and carried on. When he was winded, he slowed down, but he never stopped. I am so proud of him. He has never run this type of distance before and not once did he complain. Not once did he say he wanted to give up and he was grinning and laughing the whole way. He may not be a sprinter in the years to come, but I can see that if he wanted to, he would make a great distance runner.

I blogged before that I wanted to run this race, but I also wanted to run it with my friends. Well, I managed both. One of my friends (T) was late for the race. So it was decided about 2 mins into the event, that I would run and then come back for them both on the home straight. The friend that was waiting, (L), would keep an eye out for T and then run/walk with her.

I saw them twice on the course and we gave the usual high-5's as we passed. They were still running and I was so happy that they could run together and without me hassling them.

It wasn't the ideal situation, but it did mean I was able to accomplish two goals today. I did run the race - I crossed the line as the clock turned 29 mins 2 secs, which as I know I was at least 1-2 minutes behind the gun would give give me an overall time of about 27-28 mins. Unfortunately, the race organisers couldn't get Champion chip on board, so the race results had to be done the old fashioned way (by hand). Still waiting on those.

So as I crossed the finish line, I handed in my bib tag and then went straight back out on the course to find my friends. I managed to catch them up at about 1.5K from the end; just at the last turning point. They had run so much further than I realised and I was a little surprised to see how far they had managed. It

My friends managed the race in 47 mins, but as they were over six minutes late to start, meant that they had an overall time of about 40-41 minutes. This is absolutely fantastic and I am so proud of them. I always knew they could do it, but they ran so well.

So as we got to the post-run snacks, we basked in our triumph. We hung around long enough that we were still about when the draw prizes were handed out. As if we didn't need anything else to make the day better, L won a $50 voucher from the running store and I won a duffle bag. Combined with good coffee and muffins, who could ask for more?

So what next? Well L is already planning a 10K and I think she will drag T along for the ride. Who knew the running bug was so catching?

Monday, March 8, 2010

My doorstep trail

A few days ago I posted that I am very lucky to run a beautiful trail almost every day. It's part of the 'Trans Canadian trail' and I tend to run this section in a loop (so a 6K run). I can happily go up and down this trail all day as it is constantly changing due to the seasons, weather or daylight.

Well this morning I thought I would take my trusty old point and click digital camera and take a few photo's on my 10K. All of these photo's are places I see on my little 3K trail.

It probably won't look like this tomorrow. As the winter olympics have finished and the spring blooms are out, we are of course scheduled to have snow!

Enjoy.... (BTW - I managed the slowest 10K I have run in a while. About 70 minutes... I wonder why?)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The things you learn on your long run.

Went on my long run this morning. A 12 miler, and the longest I have run since my half-marathon in November. I am getting to the point that the runs are long enough, that I am becoming so chilled out that I am developing revelations.

Here are a few I found today:
  1. My trail is the most beautiful trail to run. I am very lucky to live here and have this 6km loop on my doorstep. I can run this loop 3-4 times in a row and never get bored.
  2. It's great that this trail passes a bike loop in 6-7 different places. I can alternate between trail and road at any point. I can have whatever road/trail ratio I like.
  3. March is still way too early for cherry and apple blossom. Especially in the frozen north. However I will take it any day.
  4. That today the stones were out to get me. Occassionally I may hit a stone on the trail and will get a stone bruise. However, for some reason the stones had declared war on me. I think I ended up with about 5 stone bruises before accepting defeat and changing the road/trail ratio.
  5. Stones declaring war on a minimalist/barefoot runner do not have little helmets or guns... like Ninja's they are deadly just by being there.
  6. Even at 9 am them there is a stupid amount of parents/kids groups out on the trail. Therefore I shouldn't swear at the aforementioned tones with words that would make a sailor blush.
  7. If I decide to sing along to the songs on my iPod whilst I run, I maybe should edit them for offensive or sexually suggestive language.
  8. In relation to point 7; Groups of older women DO NOT appreciate you shouting "Take that M**th*r-F*ck*r" at the top of your lungs as you accidentally bump into them around the corner. (Line from 'Tribute' by Tenacious D)
  9. In relation to point 7: Teenage boys DO appreciate you singing "You only like me when I am on my knees" as you accidentally meet them around the corner. (It was a line from 'Should I stay or should I go' by The Clash)
  10. I have a very eclectic running playlist on my Ipod.
  11. There about 26 different ways to scare a squirrel whilst minimalist running on the trail.
  12. On reflection Popcorn is STILL the packing material of choice if I decide to mail myself to Grand Rapids. This was a follow on from the surreal thoughts I had during my zen-like swim at the lap-pool yesterday.
  13. A small pack of Gummies you swiped from the left over'Halloween hoard' and a 7 oz flash of Iskiate make an excellent mid run snack.
  14. The pack of Gummies and Iskiate do produce a fantastic burp about 2 km later. Discovered this as I hit the very large group of kayakers at the peer.
  15. People from the boat club seem to double in density when they put on their life jackets at the pier.
  16. There are so many different coloured whistles attached to life jackets.
  17. Bob is the best name for the breed of runner called 'Inadvertent pacer'.
  18. There are times when your 12 mile run looks like it be a hard 10 miler then 'Bob' turns up and keeps you going.
  19. Even at the end of your 12 miler, it's a good feeling that you are still faster than the veteran tri-athlete who is at the end of his 9 mile run.
  20. Coffee is GOOD....
  21. Now that I am increasing my long-runs I think it is a good time to investigate if Ice baths work.
  22. Going out for a full day with kids and kids friends is NOT a good way to cool-down after a long run
  23. Red wine IS.
Saying that I think I had better see if an additional glass of wine will help my post-run regime!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympics in Vancouver - like a very strange Christmas.

So the 2010 Winter Olympics have shut up shop and everyone has disappeared like ... umm... I suppose like sports fans who came here for the Winter Olympics and then left. (???)

(As a side note: The 2010 Winter Olympics haven't actually finished. There are still two weeks of the ParaOlympics to go and although they won't get the publicity, they SHOULD get the acknowledgement).

So what was it like actually living in Vancouver during the Winter Olympics? Amazing, bewildering, uneventful? Actually it was a LOT like Christmas. Let me explain..

As with every holiday season there is a pattern. On reflection today, I realised that this pattern had a parallel to the Vancouver Olympics.

Firstly you get the hype and publicity. Banners go up. Shops start selling related items. Everything starts getting tailored to the whole event. It builds slowly until you can't escape a mall visit without being bombarded. As usual this starts way before it should.

In response you ignore it. You don't pay attention until it is way upon you. People start asking you: where you are going? what are you doing? Planning anything special? To which you nod aimlessly and make some mumbled comments that you haven't really thought about it. It occurs to you, that if everyone is getting set-up then you should to. At this point the mad panic sets in. You start hunting down those 'must-have' items only to find out that they are all gone. You spend hours looking for 'THOSE' mittens, determined not to buy anything else, only to come back with 3 bags full of 'Stuff' you can't actually remember buying.

Then the logistics of the event set in. Transport, people, travel, expense and you begin entering the 'Humbug' phase. Everything set around the event sets your teeth on edge and you are flatly refuse to get involved, until...

after the first few days into the whole event. You realise that it's not as bad as it seems. All those things you dreaded happening... umm...haven't and actually, you can start to see some good things happening. People are smiling. They are decorating their houses. Stupid adverts on TV start to make you smile. People seem excited. Like a slow burning yule-log, (or Olympic cauldron), the warmth of the event seeps into your veins.

Then a few days before the whole event finishes, you 'get it'. You understand what all the fuss was about. You get caught up in it. You want to party and cheer and wear stupid costumes. You go around to your friends houses, drink beer, watch hockey and have a good time. You actually begin to enjoy yourself.

Then it's over. But, that's okay. People ask you if you went out? Did you have a good time? You smile, agree and the lingering warmth is still there. You pat yourself on the back because you got out there and DID something. You are still in that cheerful calm that keeps you happy a week after life has returned to normal...

That's where we are now. Post Party bliss! It's great. You still get a tingle when you remember all the things you saw and did. Trying to burn them into your memory as you firmly believe that THIS was the best ever. But of course, there comes the time..

You realise that you ate too much, you drank too much and you should really remember more of the 'holiday' than you do. The credit card statements come in. You realise that you spent more than you should; or in this case the whole of the BC province has the bill and VANOC spent more than they should. You realise that you will need to diet, both fiscally and ummm... literally. You brace yourself and you try to remember the joy you felt as reality sets in.

Usually at this point you start looking forward. If it is Christmas you usually only have another 10 months to wait. However, with the Olympics we know that we won't go through this again. Next time, it is someone else's turn. (It will be Sochi, Russia). I suppose despite everything that is yet to come, (the obligitory dieting, the fiscal pain the local government will put use through) that is a bit of a shame.