Saturday, July 30, 2011

Apparently I have been tagged...

Krista from 'Naked on Short Pointy Stuff' has tagged me on this strange interwebiuniverse game people have been playing.

A fellow blogger "tags" you in one of their posts.  You're it.  You then ask people to leave questions "they have always wanted to know" in your comments section and you HAVE to answer them in a blog post.  You then "tag" a fellow blogger. The madness then continues....

I am still undecided about it all. I mean there is only so much people SHOULD know about me; sanity is a rare and fragile thing, I don't want to be responsible for any emergency trips to therapists. I will not be liable for anything you find out about me!

Anyway, I will play along.  I am hoping that my internet obscurity will play a big part and I will only get a comment from a foot fetishist wanting to see a picture of my big toe.

I set the deadline to Saturday 6th August

I tag Patrick Sweeney from Bourbon Feet. Let's see if he plays.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I was driving back from dropping some letters off to a friend this morning and as I drove down the hill, I could see the Coast Mountains stretching before me.  There are some days when the light is right and the sun is in particular place and then those mountains just shine.  Today was one of those days.

I could almost see every tree of the forests that blanket the mountains.  I had three thoughts:  One, the mountains are beautiful and I am so very lucky to live here.  Secondly, those mountains are huge and some of the trails on them must be awesome. Lastly, I suck at hills.

I don't mean a little. I am lousy at hills.  Spectacularly crap!  As soon as I manage 5 mins on anything looking like a gradient, my calves cramp and my legs give out.  I then have to power-hike the rest of the mountain in a huddled "Hunchback of Notre-Dame" impression.  Because of that, I always avoid hills.  They are painful and contrary to my "run and have fun" ideology.  I know though, that the trails on the mountains are some of the best and I would have a blast IF I could go through the pain of getting to them.  Bit of a pickle really.

My Facebook Brother, Jesse, mentioned in a blog (and everyone quotes Jesse, so he must know what he is talking about), that sometimes you have to run through the pain to be able to enjoy the runs that come after.  It then hit me. I made a decision.  I WILL embrace hills.  As soon as I am up and running (literally), I will embrace those hills.   I will remember how I felt when I couldn't run and I saw those hills.  I will remember the eagerness to see the trails beyond 600ft and I will push through those leg cramps.

Even though I know trail running will probably be out for me months after I return to running, I will still embrace those road runs up the mountains because I know that at some point, it will mean eventually, in time, I will be strong enough to run trails up the mountains.

I missed most of the mountain trail running season because of my knee.  I knew then as I placed towards the back, that hills were my weakness.  Well I have 10 months before the 2012 trail season starst.  If I learn to embrace those hills I may find that the uphill runs are just as fun as the downhills.  I will be remember all of this as I am mumbling "Why the F&^(#$ am I here?"

This also leads me to something else I need to embrace.  Something a little more immediate; a little more.. well lets face it humiliating.  Pool Running and Swimming.

Honestly, who thought up Pool Running as a sport?  You don a very fetching blue float that you strap to your waist SO tightly, you get muffin-top definitions below AND above the belt.  You then proceed to move at 0.0000005 miles per hour down the leisure lane of the pool being overtaken by the overweight, asthmatic kid in water-wings. All the while you try to look as if this is the most natural thing in the world.  I always joke that my running form is similar to a duck - that wasn't an incentive for the universe to introduce water to the equation.
As for swimming?  Well that wouldn't be humiliating if you were anyone other than me.  I only learnt to swim about 18 months ago and my technique is similar to a fish with too much gas; floundering and all over the place.  No, there there are no little bubbles floating to the top... the fish and gas was just an analogy - HONEST!  Let's forget that the only swimsuit I own is 6 years old, poo-coloured, saggy and two sizes to big.  My friend had to take emergency action this morning and she dragged me to the swimsuit store of the mall and insisted I buy another one.  Supposedly swimsuits are meant to tight-fitting and not SO baggy they can actually collect water like those cloth buckets you have for hiking. Huh, who knew?

I have also found it's impossible to be able to do any of the above activities laughing.  Pool running, or more correctly "deep aquafit" produces a look ... well, I can only describe it as a cross between giving birth and having a big poo.  My tongue even pops out of my mouth in that "I am 6 and trying to tie my shoe-laces" kind of way.  When it comes to swimming, laughing is just too dangerous.  For example, two days ago I was swimming and my (now redundant) poo-coloured, saggy swimsuit gave me a wedgie. A big, butt-creasing, show a whole bum-cheek wedgie.  Normal people would be horrified, however, I have never been called normal - okay, maybe once, but the guy was drunk - and I started laughing.  Mid-stroke, in the fast lane (we have very slow swimmers in my area), is not a place to have the giggles.  I eventually came up to the surface, spluttering, with a concerned life-guard ready to dive in. Swimming Smiley is hazardous to your health.  Where is the fun in that?!

However, I will embrace the pool running and the swimming.  Pool running and swimming are just temporary conduits to the NYC Barefoot run in September.  The are a pre-cursor to the mountain runs I have planned.  The are just an adjunct to embracing those hills.

So I WILL EMBRACE, I WILL EMBRACE ... do you think if I say it often enough I may actually make it happen? Umm.. watch this space.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I need to be less competative.. apparently..

Well according to the Orthopedic surgeon I saw on Wednesday, "The problem with competitive people is that they like to run, regardless.."

I felt it was inappropriate to laugh.  I really wanted to.  The snot rockets were close to being launched.  I could feel the hysterical laughing building.

This guy did not understand me at all...

Yes, I was consistently asking when I could run again. Yes, I did break myself running head-long, unbidden down a 20% down-hill ascent like a lunatic.  Yes, I think I did mention I had some new running shoes coming in the post.  Yes, I did keep mentioning that I had this race I really need to be in at the end of September.

However, all I could do was nod at his assumptions.  Hold in the uncontrollable laughter.  Put on a serious face and pretend that I was this "typical runner".  I had to, because.. well if they knew the truth - this is not how a 30 *cough* someone should act.

So why was I SO eager to run in September.  Was it to be first? Was it to impress people? Did I want the accolades Me? Heck No.

I am a mediocre runner at best.  Okay, I am not back of the pack, but I am not the front.  I am not dedicated, I am not strong-minded enough to be any better.  I always wonder how good I would be if I actually DID train.  Then the thought lapses as I realise that sort of notion requires effort and organisation.

So why was I pestering the surgeon about when I could run again?  Two reasons.

Firstly, I LOVE running.  I get excited about it.  Even now, when I know I can't run for another 4 weeks at least, I am not sad, just excited to get back to it.  The thought of running that first half mile - well I feel like a 6 year old who has just eaten Thanksgiving turkey and realised that the next holiday is Christmas.  I am planning it in my head - just looking forward to the joy I'll get.  I won't care if it's roads or slow or well.. just 5 minutes. I just want to get back there.  I don't need to - I just want to.

Secondly, I have been given a fantastic opportunity to run the New York Barefoot Run in September; with no real expense to myself (Thanks Merrell).  This may be the first weekend I can run and I want to experience it all.  I want to meet all of my friends (old, new and currently non-existant), go to all of the clinics, try out new things and most importantly meet people who don't think I am a local freak.  I also get to see (although meet and talk is optimistic) some of the big players in barefoot and minimalist running.  Do you think I can go to an event like that and NOT run?  It's like taking a kid with braces to a candy store and telling them everything is off the menu.  So yes, I want to know when it's safe to run.

I have no idea where these "other" pre-conceptions come about.  [ Note: Okay, re-reading the first couple of paragraphs, I can see why the Doctors were confused].  In the last few weeks Doctors have called me athletic and competitive... as if I take this stuff seriously.  They mention Sports Doctors and Surgeons.  They look knowingly at me, yet fail to see.  I am a middle-age (ish) woman, who has a normal BMI and a tummy that my son lovingly calls "a comfy pillow".  I am not fast, I am not elite, I do not run exceedingly long distances in stupidly quick times.  I am and never will be a Boston/Western States graduate.

It's just that people seem to see me as competitive because surely that is the only reason you do something.  Running, is still not seen as something you do for fun.  The goal is still seen as the end and the numbers but not the journey.  You are not allowed to run because you love the kid-like feeling it gives you.  I am old enough to know better.  Life is serious; exercise is serious; running is serious. (Apparently).

So, I laughed inwardly and let the Doctors place their label.  Secretly I knew inside the real reason I was pestering to run.  The reason we all should have in our hearts when we think of running...

I am being taken on a free-trip to a race to see super cool people, I get free beer, I can hang out with my super-hip  friends and I am liable to make such a fool of myself when people realise I am NOT what they expected, that I am unlikely to be invited back.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, of course I don't want to let a little thing like a broken knee mess things up.

Is there honestly any other reason? ;)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Still Running Smiley - just minus the running

Yep, I am still not running...

Four weeks ago I injured my knee running a local trail race.  Since then I have had examinations, scans, tests and everything else that goes along with being injured.  I have had suspected causes, vague guesses and hints about when I can go back to running.

And yet the jury is still out.  I have finally received my MRI results and in some ways the news is good and some ways it's bad.  I haven't damaged the cartilage, I haven't torn any ligaments, it appears I won't need surgery. YEA!!! Let's bounce up and down in rejoice. This is what my physiotherapist suspected and I was hopeful that it could mean a speedy return to running.  My knee has been feeling pretty good. It twinges, it aches, but I have been walking about, I can put weight on it, I have even been doing some light training on the elliptical and a load of physiotherapy at home.

But, oh, okay, small undisplaced fracture of medial tibial plateau.  That doesn't sound so good.  Even so, that could be just a stress fracture - I have had those before and this is mild compared to that.  Then I make the mistake of "googling" it on the interweb thingie.  WHY did they decide to invite the medical community onto the internet?  It's like those books hypochondriacs buy to discover they are dying of a rare disease when all they have is a case of indigestion. It does no good.

The more I looked the more I wish I hadn't.  Knee casts/braces for up to 16 weeks.  Yeah, right, like that is going to happen.  I have a 6 year old and 8 weeks of summer camps and activities. No weight bearing, crutches *swear violently* ... This is when I decided to walk away from the computer and adopt the technique I have been adopting lately; ignorance and alcohol!  I await what the Orthopaedic surgeon says -well whenever I manage to get in to see him, this is Canada after all.

I have been carrying along just fine over the last few weeks; I am still relatively chilled out and relaxed.  I have had enough to occupy myself and I have taken the rest from running as a gift.  Like a heat-filled vacation in the sun -except summer is skipping Vancouver it seems and we have had very little sun or warmth so far.  I have used the time catching up on things. Spending time with D who is now off school, seeing all of the wonderful things coming out of the "Run Smiley Collective", sleep, you know the simple things in life.

I find (at the moment) I am still running smiley, I am just not doing the running bit.  I am still finding the small things in life to rejoice in.  Although I can't run through the woods, it doesn't stop me walking through them (well until the Orthopeadic surgeon decides otherwise that is).  It doesn't stop me planning what is still to come.

My virtual Facebook brother Jesse, wrote:
 "You can't have good without bad. You can't have hard without easy. You can't feel elation if you never know pain. The care free feeling of an easy run is amazing- you coast down the sidewalk or trail, floating under your own power, feeling like you could go on for hours. You smile at neighbors, stop to play with dogs, and take in the views. [...] On the other side, there's a joy in the hard run that is almost beyond words".

This is my hard run. This is the challenge I have to go through to truly appreciate what it will feel like at the other side.  I have so many exciting things happening with my running that are yet to come, that I am enjoying this hard road.  I know my running may now be a long time coming (well longer than I hoped), but that first mile of running under my own power will be so much sweeter.

So I am still Running Smiley, it just happens to be that my race involves no running what-so-ever.  I am just living Smiley, Chilling-smiley, just, well... smiley

(Saying that.. come back to me in 4 weeks time when I am ready to scrape the wallpaper off the walls and I snarl if you come in a 50 mile radius).