Keep Running for Peace and Light Boston

Explosion_at_Bosto_2537124bThe tragic events in Boston have deeply affected me. I understand many of you are not runners and yet it is shocking to you as well.

Here is the thing that bothers me most. Running is a peaceful non contact sport for individuals and FAMILIES.

The Boston Marathon is like the Superbowl, Stanley Cup Final, The World Series, The Masters of the marathon circuit. It is the race the distance runners dream of because you just can’t enter. You have to earn it.

Boston Marathon
Qualifying Standards

(effective for 2013 race)
Age Men Women
18–34 3hrs 5min 3 hrs 35min
35–39 3hrs 10min 3 hrs 40min
40–44 3hrs 15min 3 hrs 45min
45–49 3hrs 25min 3 hrs 55min
50–54 3hrs 30min 4 hrs 0min
55–59 3hrs 40min 4 hrs 10min
60–64 3hrs 55min 4 hrs 25min
65–69 4hrs 10min 4 hrs 40min
70–74 4hrs 25min 4 hrs 55min
75–79 4hrs 40min 5 hrs 10min
80+ 4hrs 55min 5 hrs 25min

If you are 80 and older you have to run 26.2 miles or 42.195km in 4 hours and 55 minutes for men and 5 hours and 25 minutes for women.

Think about that. I am half that age and I hope to finish my first marathon in under 7 hours. Boston is a big deal. People my age are finishing that distance it what it takes me to finish HALF that distance. Sure I am slow, sure I am new to this sport but that speed is amazing.

So lets talk about how far 26.2 miles is. Let’s say you wish to start at the southeast corner of Edmonton by my neighborhood. I will come to the start line with you at 17st and Whitemud freeway. I will wish you luck, ring the cowbell, and begin worrying about you as you run west.

You will keep on the Whitemud until you get to the Anthony Henday and head north towards Hwy 16. Then head west because you are not finished yet, until you get to a new City called Spruce Grove. Don’t think you are done yet, do you? Because you are not. Run past Century road until you get to King Street. Just past King is where you can stop. This is only a half a kilometer away from Calihoo Road. Now RUN that in the corresponding time from your age group listed above.

marathon

The big question is, why do people do this? Well, it isn’t for prizes or cash or fame and fortune, it is to see what you are made of. It is as simple as that. When you train to be a distance runner, you train yourself to handle pain. We need to be clear, it hurts and it hurts regularly. Distance runners need mind control and focus. You need to be okay with being alone with your thoughts. You need to be proficient at clearing negative thoughts during your run or the wheels fall off pretty fast.

This is just what the runner goes through on race day. There are weeks and weeks of training, miles and miles put on those shoes. Those shoes wear out around 400 miles so have plenty on hand. The runner sits in ice baths after a run to reduce swelling, they eat while training to maintain energy, puke when they have pushed too far, lose toenails and fill their shoes with blood. None of these are pleasant side effects.

So why do it?

You sleep great. You breath deeper than you can possibly imagine. Your body craves running. You glow. You clear your head. You think of great things. You can plan and work out any problem. There is solidarity in running. The running community is something you have never experienced before. Someone falls, the next person along helps them finish even though it slows their own personal time. We work together to finish. We are a global team.

So why does the Boston tragedy hurt so much? Because runners and their families are a peaceful community. No one gets boos, everyone gets cheered for. The last person over the finish line is treated like a rockstar, just like the first person over the line. It isn’t a race for the win, it is a race to the finish.

Runners are a non political force. We share our space, our support and our water, protein and gels.

The question remains, WHY?

We all will speculate forever but it doesn’t change the fact that 23336 people crossed the start line. 17580 crossed the finish line. That means 5756 people didn’t finish. 5756 people didn’t complete their dream of finishing the Boston Marathon. 5756 people’s families were waiting to hear how it went, waited at the finished line, or just waited to hear a phone call that wouldn’t come.

I think about my team mates who were in Boston and who thankfully are fine. I think about how peaceful races are now forever changes. I think about my children waiting for me at the finish line and how little  Martin Richard age 8 was waiting for his dad to cross the finish line and his family will never be the same.

As a running community, I smiled when I heard the finishers ran to donate blood.

I am joining them.

If you are Canadian you go to Canadian Blood Services and fill out the info online and they will contact you. It’s simple, you save a life or 3 and you get a cookie. I’m donating blood because I am a runner and who knows, one of us may need it one day.

Peace Boston.

Ode to AbronxTurtle: The 59th Street Mount Sonofabitchs song, or Not Feeling so Groovy.

Today my friend abronxturtle ran his 12th marathon in a year in an effort to raise money for the Dream Team. A group of runners who raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation. He posted this on his facebook page:577801_4993828286128_1137167856_n

22 in. And here’s Mount Sonofabitch. 59th street bridge. – J. Kolinsky

What is remarkable to me is not that fact that he ran well over 314.4 miles this year. It was way more than that this year because he trained, ran half marathons, 5 and 10ks, and did numerous fun runs. I am not amazed that he ran 3 marathons ALONE without help, support, fan cheering or anyone to meet him at the finish line (okay, that’s a lie I am COMPLETELY AMAZED!). What is remarkable to me is he just decided to to this incredible task and so he did it.

Lots of people make New Years Resolutions and peter out around January 2. They lose momentum. Joe didn’t. He kept going. During these past 12 races he lost a tooth, sprained an ankle, ran with the Elvis’, defeated by Hurricane Sandy, ran hills like a roller coaster, bled, was bruised and batter, yet he still did it. He ran all those marathons just like he said he would. He never quit and if anyone had the right to it was him. He kept going because he told his daughter he would and he doesn’t like to let her down.

I have learned a lot from him over the years I have known him. I have learned from his mistakes and his success.

So Joe, now that you have ran 12 marathons in 12 months, what are you going to do? Oh right…going to Walt Disney World to run the Goofy. Congratulations my friend, you deserve a vacation in Walt Disney World, a medal and all the best.

You deserve to feel groovy.

Learning to run because I can walk – on the Wild side

Perhaps by now I’d come far enough that I had enough guts to be afraid.

~ Cheryl Strayed

I just finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed. That girl now as it figured it out. Mo does too. Intellectually I do too.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I have been at this journey for well over a year. Last year it was about setting goals that were insane for me, achieving them and celebrating them. I then fell into a goal setter let down…

I couldn’t find my focus. I was tired. Not so much physically, but mentally. I let go of some serious things, serious people, toxic things and toxic people. Where does that leave me to date?

I smiled spontaneously this week for the first time in I have no idea how long. I smile a lot. I have the wrinkles and laugh lines to prove it. Smiling because you feel JOY is a whole other smile. It comes from a place of peace.

I found it. I have no idea how long it will last but I am enjoying the ride while I am on it.

Because I felt JOY, I was able to sit down and make some goals that had to do with wants. This is different than last year. Last years goals were about proving myself to people. I finally figured out that I don’t need to prove myself to others, I really needed to prove myself to me.

Things I have learned;

I am smart.

I am strong physically and mentally. I am almost strong emotionally. Baby steps.

I like me. I like spending time alone with me.

I have skills that can save my life in the wilderness, in an urban environment and in a recreation environment. How many people can say that?In an effort to find myself I tried a billion different activities and have weeded out the ones that I do not enjoy. If it is for pleasure, then do pleasurable things.

The quote at the top has deep meaning for me. I now have a healthy fear of life. I respect it. I know how to proceed with caution and not reckless abandon. This is a huge growth for me. I walked a half marathon thinking, pfffff I can do that easy. It was not easy. It was 99% mental and 1% physical. I could have and likely SHOULD have done things differently. Being the smart girl I am, I have taken what I have learned, and am applying it to my next set of goals.

In October 2010, I was in Germany. I was walking back from the camp showers late at night to the caravan. It was dark and damp. I slipped on some muddy grass and tore my MCL on my left leg. I saw stars, I howled, I cried and I needed help getting into the caravan. I hit rock bottom physically. Mentally that was about to happen much later…

My Doctor encouraged me to walk and he is the type of guy who doesn’t want to tell someone not to exercise. I was just suppose to listen to my knee and not push it. What the hell does that mean? I walked the Half a year later, I swam 1.5 hours 4 times a week and walked 40k a week….that was a lot. My knee hated me but I told it to feck off.

I started training for the Calgary half in January. my knee hated me more than anyone could possibly appreciate. I was stronger than ever. My heart and lungs could take me to new heights and I could walk fast enough to pass runners on the track. Once I hit 45 minutes, my knee said…that is IT, I HATE you and I quit.

And it did.

I had to stop walking, swimming and strenuous yoga. I felt soft and gooey. Gross…

When I went back to my Doc and walked up 3 flights of stairs without my knee weeping, I figured I could swim again. So I did. This time I took it easy. I swam 30 minutes for my short swims and 45 for my long. I was faster than before. I couldn’t belive it. I felt strong, healthy and focused.

I still felt squishy. I knew I needed weight baring exercise. I want to run like a gazelle. I see and hear stories of men who were fat and chunky running and then they became these fit Adonis’. Why can’t I do that? Truthfully, there is no reason why I cannot.

I started reading John Stanton. He is a local hero who was a chubby guy, started running then became the go to guy in Edmonton for all things running. He branched out. He is now the go to guy in Canada and owns a string of Running Room stores. I figured this guy knew what he was talking about.

This is what I know. I HATE LEARN TO RUN CLASSES. When I have a goal I turn inward. I prefer the silence and solitude to pull me through. I have an inner drive and focus that will amaze the strongest man. I get this from my dad. When I swim I use this focus. This is why I can swim for 1 1/2 hours. I only stop because I am hungry and have no energy left. Mentally I could go for days.

I did some research and discovered that I should start my learn to run classes at a 3Km. Running for 20 minutes non stop. I don’t want to be surrounded by people when I do this. Perhaps it is because I talk for a living – but I don’t want to chit chat when I run, walk or swim. I just want to go. It feels like flying when I am alone in my head.

Saturday I did my first session alone at Wildrose Park. I ran 1 minute and walked 2 minutes x6. This took me 19 minutes. I went a distance of 2.07km. My heart and lungs laughed their heads off. It was easy for me. It was EASY for me. The fat girl RAN and it was EASY. I can walk 26km.

When I got home what struck me as I walked in the house was, wow it feels good to not be so tired I want to sleep. I felt energized.

I need to repeat 1 and 2s for the rest of the week. Stanton says to do it every other day. Awesome, that is easy enough to do. I did yoga today. Tomorrow I will run 1 and 2 for a total of 19 minutes. I will then swim after work for 30 minutes. I swim to de-stress and to change eating habits of eating while stressed out. Here is my challenge for the week…

It is no secret that I am a night owl. Mornings are for the birds and the sunrise. To get my runs in this week, I will need to run in the morning before work. Holy Hell that sucks the big one.

That will be the challenge. Not the running, not the swimming – but running in the MORNING for crying out loud. I will do it. Laying out my clothes tonight will help motivate me. I can do this because this is the MENTAL challenge. I kick-ass at mental challenges. Morning run? I accept that challenge!

Besides it has me excited. I am anxious to run 3k without stopping.

I plan on doing that for my birthday. Happy birthday to me on Dead Elvis Day! August 16 incase you want to come cheer me on at Wild Rose park.

Goal #2 5k in the same fashion. I will start at the beginning and work every week until I can run 5km with out stopping. I plan to have that goal achieved by October. Then I will be a 5 k runner and do the Santa shuffle in December, run at the indoor track and perhaps outside if I can figure out the not falling on ice part.

Goal #3 will be to run the Canada Day 10Km.

Goal #4 will be the Donald Half in WDW. I want that medal so bad I can taste it. I will run the 5 k fun the day before.

Doing this slow to re-build the muscles around my knee will be the key. It is hard not to skip to the end. But that is the goal – slow and steady.

I completely get Cheryl Strayed. Her journey made perfect sense to me because in many ways it is my journey. One step in front of the other. I can’t jump ahead to the end and neither did she.

Wake up call at 6:00AM – good grief… I’ve got this.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There’s Signs

I’ve started paying attention to signs. Not just road signs, but clues or meanings that trigger directions for me to follow or messages I am suppose to be aware of. Usually they are verbal but every now and then they are words I read. Over the past 7 days the message I have received loud and clear is, if you want something bad enough, say it out loud. Tell people you desire this.

It all started last week in my Qualitative and Quantitative Research class. My Professor gave me an article she found on LinkedIn. It is called,

Four Ways Women Stunt Their Careers Unintentionally  by Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath, and Mary Davis Holt, you can read the blog here.

Essentially, The article tells women to be proud of their accomplishments and say so. Don’t assume the people in power know what you are capable of, tell them. Be assertive. Men typically do this all the time. When women do it, they are looked at as bossy or pushy. Have you ever heard the old adage, the squeaky wheel gets the grease? Well, it’s true.

My mom and I had a sit down the other day talking about selling yourself. My mom is likely the best sales person on the planet. She can sell ice to Inuit. She maintains that if you can’t sell yourself to a company you want to work for, than how can you be expected to sell anything once you work for them?

Good point mom. I also know if I sell myself too hard, than I risk being shown the door. I’m okay with that. I am confident enough in my own ability that finding a new opportunity down the road is possible. The bottom line is, I know what I want, I can see it clearly. I am taking steps that put me in that direction. I have told people what I want and I am 3/4 of the way done in terms of furthering my education to get me that position. Today I had three separate conversations that pointed back to that sign.

The first conversation was with a person who just finished the very same degree that I am currently working on. We were chatting about the Master’s program, when she commented about my skill and mentioned that I may be a good candidate for a future endeavor. I replied, that’s the plan Stan! I told her I think it’s important to share your plans. She agreed, she said no one gets ahead by staying quiet about their intentions. EXACTLY!

The second conversation was with a new employee who has her eyes set on a brass ring. I can see the hunger in her eyes. She also is telling everyone who will listen her ambition. Good for her, I like her tenacity.

The third conversation was with a dear sweet friend. We were talking about personal goals, not work related ones. She had mentioned that she was interested in running the half marathon with me next August. I said it’s a date! Meanwhile, I mentioned that I had hoped to run the Donald Duck half marathon January 6, 2012. I was currently training for it and if all went well, I would be there because it is the 15th anniversary of the race. I was told there would be a bit of fan fare surrounding it! She asked me what was holding me back. I replied, CASH. School is expensive and that is my priority right now. She reached into her bag and gave me $5.00! She said if everyone who read my blog gave me $1 than I could go easily. She is right,and I would have money left over for a big donation to Make-A-Wish too. Before I left, another friend over heard our conversation. She gave me $5.00 too. So now I have $10.00 towards my flight! I have taken some Face Painting jobs this Christmas, so that will cover half my flight. This no longer sounds crazy! Okay, it sounds crazy, even to me.

I do however, come with a set of beliefs and values. I believe that no good deed goes undone. So… I am not going to ask you for a donation to send me to Walt Disney World in January. If you would like to contribute, THANK YOU!! But that sounds selfish. I am going to ask you to think about giving $1.00 to your charity of choice instead of me. I am not a charity – as much as I like to think I am – but I do believe in giving of yourself and money.

I will be optimistic and say WHEN you donate to a favorite charity because you read THIS blog, please tell me and I will write the amount on a piece of paper and put it in my fund. You can email me: edmtourist@gmail.com

you can tweet me: @edmontontourist

You can Facebook me: The Edmonton Tourist

AND of course you can comment below!

I want to see the generosity of people, of my readers. I want to know how much – I’m asking that you give $1, your morning coffee costs more…just saying, and where you give it.

As for my fund, If I don’t raise enough for 2012 marathon it’s okay, I KNOW I will raise enough for the 2013. Any extra will go to the charity I will run for, Make-A-Wish foundation. I will run for them, because I have been lucky enough to have my wish come true, Make-A-Wish gives kids a chance to have their wish come true. Dreams that come true are the second best feeling, making someone elses dream come true is the best feeling.

Thanks Laurie xoxo

There was a Celebration? Was I there?

The Celebration! What for you might ask? Mostly the event on Sunday afternoon was to celebrate the accomplishment of those foolish mortals who chose to participate and finish the Canadian Derby Marathon and Half marathon. The Marathon finishers were too dead to attend the celebration. Quite frankly, so was I.

As it stands, I am still exhausted. I feel like I have extreme jetlag. I can be talking to you one mine and then need a nap the next. This is the craziest I have ever felt. My muscles aren’t tired, nothing is sore – except my MCL injury and my stress fracture. BUT MAN, if I didn’t have to be places I would still be in bed sleeping. Clearly 4.5 hours of exercise was too much for my body to cope with. All I want to do is eat steak and sleep. It’s funny for those who know me, steak is not something I ever want. Beef is not a food that is anywhere near my list of favorites. I am a bean and lentil kind of girl. However, if there was a cow walking by my window right now, I would eat it. I have been invited to a steakhouse for dinner, and all I can say is YES! Bring it on, I want a steak starter, a steak dinner and for dessert, STEAK! And did I mention to say how thirsty I am? It is a constant need for water. I need a camelback to satisfy my thirst. Apparently this is normalish, or so my dietician warned me. So I have been alowing the sleep to come as needed and have taken out a loan to pay the water utility. I have gone to the gym twice this week, once to stretch out my tired muscles and once to swim. I shouldn’t have gone swimming. It made me MORE tired if that is even possible.

First of all I want to say thanks to everyone who came out to the celebration on Sunday afternoon. It was a fantastic time…I think. Was I there? Is there proof?I really don’t remember any of it. I remember kissing 2 babies, hobbling around on crutches, eating Granny’s marshmallow caramel rice crispy rolls – well call the crack crispies because they are an instant addiction. I remember lots of flowers – THANK YOU – and gift cards for coffee – THANK YOU – and drinking water. There was beer there, but I needed WATER thank you very much! A friend came all the way from Thailand for the party – well that isn’t strictly true, his mom said he was there to see her finish the half, but she may be delusional, I am SURE he was there for me.

But that is all I remember. I am horrified by this. I have a fantabulous memory. I can remember details that will amaze you. However, Sunday is pretty much blank. So if I agreed to do anything or said anything that is expecting results, please let me know. The last time I was this tired I had a newborn baby and a 2 year old. I don’t remember that year either.

I do have a few picture to prove I was there.

This is me and my Nurse Practitioner. She came! She is my angel. The unfailing support I receiver from her has changed my life. I was thrilled she came!

The finishers. We don’t look very tired. It’s called faking. Like the sandals? The feet needed a break.

I have a couple of great pictures of the friends and family who came, but I need to protect their privacy. The picture of my Yoga instructor is too hot to post ever.

Once again thank you for all the support and love shown to get me through. I appreciate it more than you will ever understand. Don’t worry, the next blog will go back to the regular scheduled programing.

ET.

These Boots are Made for Walkin’

BOOTS Nancy Sinatra's all-time hits
Image by Nesster via Flickr

No I am not singing the Jessica Simpson version. I have the Nancy Sinatra version with her kick a$$ white gogo boots in my head! I have been thinking about distances since I blogged late last night.

My dad has always been a record breaker, he writes down every book he reads to see how many he can read in a year, then tries to break that record. He keeps track of how far he runs so he can break that record. I am going to take a page out of his book and give it a go!

I am planning on walking/swimming to Tiffany & Co, located on 5th Avenue, New York City. I google mapped it and if I walk a half marathon every day, I would get there in 181 days. I am not sure what pace google thinks I should do it in tho. If I include swimming, I could make it there in 35 days. Maybe add a few more for sight seeing.

Google warns me the route has toll roads and a ferry and worst of all, it crosses through Canada! Well Google, how else do I get out of Canada if I don’t walk across it? True, you would make me walk through hanis parts of Canada called Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just flat. Flat that goes on forever in a flat non interesting way. Once I cross the border in Manitoba and into Minnesota, I imagine it looks similar. I can’t remember, it’s been a while. I would take the ferry across Lake Michigan, or I could swim. But I think that lake is colder than most glacier fed lakes that I have been in, so I will rest my bone weary feet and take the ferry. Which reminds me…

I will need to budget for new shoes. Apparently I need to replace my shoes ever 400km. That means I would need 10 pairs of shoes x $189 = $1890!!! AND THERE IS NO RED SOLES?!?! That isn’t taking into account the toll roads…screw that, I will walk in the ditch and save me some coin. I would carry a sleeping bag and sleep in Wal-Marts across North America! Or some farmer’s field along the way. I will live off the land eating berries, muskrat and the odd gopher or two. I have enough Facebook and Blogger Friends, I am sure I can bunk in their goat house or balcony along the way.

So far I have walked 125km since April 19th when I started training for the half marathon. I have swam 138km so far this year that makes 263km since I started my fitness journey. That number seems so small compared to the soreness I feel in my muscles. Okay, I am officially depressed!!! CRAP this is going to take me a while.

263km means I have walked to Marsden, Saskatchewan. All I saw was a couple of moose and a billion mosquitos. It has taken me 12 .5 days. I think 181 days is more accurate.

The reality is, I am not walking a half marathon a day. So maybe it might take me a year, but I am going to keep track. I will let you know when I get there.

Ready Boots? Staaaaaaaaaaaaaaart walkin’!