Caution: Fat Girl Running Ahead! Please avert your eyes if it offends you.

I typically let water/insults/digs/annoyances run off my back. I figure the person spewing the insult doesn’t know me nor do they have any clue to my journey.

I run – A LOT for a gal my size. Running has done a few things for me:

  1. Running makes me fit
  2. Running tones my muscles making me firmer and less jiggly – true story
  3. Running makes my skin look awesome
  4. Running clears my head
  5. Running helps me think

There are a gazillion other reasons but those are the first ones that come to me. We could talk about this all day – but that is not my point.

I was running (surprise surprise) on Sunday along Rich and Famous Blvd. This is a busy spot for lots of city runners who like to have a view of the river valley. I am one of them. I like to see different things while I run. I was at about 6km into my 10km run when I passed two moms in their lululemon’s pushing two jogging strollers. They were both carrying – what I first thought to be coffee or lattes but after we spoke I suspect to it be Hot Water and Lemon. A trick of skinny people who don’t workout. They drink it to keep full and stay thin. In my day it was called a coffee and a cigarette. I ran by them and over heard them talk about me.

Skinny1: OMG look at the size of her ASS.

Skinny2: Why doesn’t she run on a treadmill so we don’t have to look at her.

Skinny1: I know right? I would DIE of embarrassment.

Skinny2: Why didn’t she just stop eating when she got the chance.

Me: (At this point I stopped and turned around) So I hear you have some questions for me. Lets have a quicky Q&A session right now shall we? First Question: It is 4 sizes smaller and 80lbs lighter than it use to be. Question 2: I have a BRAIN TUMOUR. It isn’t cancerous but it isn’t fun. I get dizzy on the treadmill. Besides, running 10km on a treadmill is dead boring and I never would have had the opportunity to meet the likes of you. (That’s right I played the brain tumour card, I am using it to my advantage when I can. If you don’t know the story about it then please click here and no I am not dying) Most people speak before they think but that requires common sense.

Did I really say this? Yes but not that last sentence because they j-walked to get away from me. Perhaps they will keep their comments to themselves from now on.

Is this a typical day for me running? NO WAY! Luckily the world is filled with kind and supportive people who are just happy for others.

Running on Sunday at about the 5km turn-around point I met a older (than me) couple out running both of them gave me a thumbs up. Most runners wave and say hi – but occasionally I get a “Great Job”  or “Keep going”. It is a lot like being in a race with fan support. On the whole, I find Edmonton Running Community to be supportive and kind. It is a lot like the running communities I have discovered on-line. People are kind, supportive, helpful and just plain ol’ nice!

Today I ran hills at Emily Murphy Park. I was the only woman out there today. So obviously I was the only fat girl. I was surrounded by an entire phys.ed class from the University of Alberta – all of them men and all of them in fantastic shape. I got a lot of cheers and some fellows ran with me encouraging me to go just that little bit farther before I die. I didn’t die, there is something about being able to focus on shapely young calf muscles that pulled me through. After they ran off and back to class, another young fellow began his descent, running towards me. He smiled and gave me two thumbs up as he passed.

Either I look like death warmed over when I run and people are surprised I am able to breath OR people are just simply nice and encourage each other.

I have had run-ins with lots of people who are repulsed with my body type. Joking about it with your husband or friends isn’t cool. I am sure YOU have some sort of short fall that you would be mortified if I pointed it out. Obviously I am thinking of one gal in particular who happens to be just mean to everyone. I bet she even kicks the dog when no one is looking. My point being is, if it doesn’t hurt you – leave it alone. This same rule of thumb can be applied to Gay Rights and Marriage. It isn’t up to you to judge them. If it freaks you out to think of them having sex, don’t think about it. It freaks me out to think about YOU have sex too – so I just don’t think about it. If you took the time you spent being mean to others and spent it on yourself working on what makes YOU happy, then I think you wouldn’t have time to hate everyone else.

Just let it go.

Be nice, even if you don’t mean it, because one day you will be treated nice back and it feels good.

This is me after running:

Caution Fat Girl Feeling Great AFTER HER RUN!

And you know something? I am starting to look great too 🙂

photo (17)

 

 

 

Needy

Have you thought about the difference between want and need? I did, and it got me thinking… more than usual.

Wants are things that bring me joy.

Needs are things I will die without…literally and figuratively.

Devil and angel pulling 3d person for hands

I want to say I need Tiffany’s sparkly things draped over me. But that’s not true, I lived this long without – so far so good.

I want to say I need a regular Disney vacation and a trip to the beach to soak up the sun. Again, I can live without it but those do enhance the joy factor.

I want to say I need a library like Belle in Beauty and the Beast (Disney version) but again, that is a joy enhancement.

Wants are awesome but not life fulfilling.

Needs are. I had a couple of lengthy chats with two different, yet very great friends. Both are male and both feed a different part of my soul. One friend I can talk about fitness, family, writing and life’s ups and downs. His friendship has become a need. I feel energized after talking and I have plenty of brain food to think about.

I need Brain Food.

The other friend I talk to semi-regularly and we talk about business, ethics, values and strategy. More brain food.

I need these types of friends in my life. This is why I enjoy book club. It requires the intellect in me to discuss the books we read with insight and awakening. I enjoy the social content of the evening but the book discussion is the pinnacle for me.

I had told my friend my wish for him. I wish that he would get the things he needs to enhance his life life because we all deserve that. Needs are important. Then he said to me, so what do you need. Wow, I hesitated.

For a very long time I didn’t put my needs anywhere near where I could benefit from them. I know this is a problem for lots of women, moms in particular. Although I have learned that I am not alone, there are men who do the same thing. We are nurturers. We give because we love it, it fills us to a certain extent but then we forget to put in the plug and all kinds of goodness leaks out and the well becomes dry.

So what do I need? It is simple. Without these things I shrivel up and die. Not physically but mentally and that is worse.

1.  I need to mom. I am the mom to 2 amazing kids. I need a life that lets me put their needs ahead of mine while they are still minors. I need them to know how important they are to me and that I would move mountains for them. I need to be the dependable one, the one they know will always be there for them without judgement. The no judgement part is hard. My wish is for them to be high end achievers  but nagging them to death to study is not going to get there. I give them space to fall. I am there with a hand up or a band-aid if they require it. They rarely need a hand anymore, this fills me with pride. I see failure in their future. I want to stop it but this is how we grow, change and mature. We need failure to learn. You rarely learn from doing everything right. It will be more painful for me then it will be for them, but I will do it. I need this. I need them to know I am always in their corner.

I wanted 4 but needed only one. Two was a bonus.

2. I need to run. This means I need the time, the support (don’t nag me that I am gone again – luckily I have support!), the space and the freedom to set goals. I need the challenge of races to shoot for both in short term and long term. I need quiet when I run. Don’t talk to me. This is my meditation. If I invite you to run it is because I want your presence. If I don’t and you ask if you can come with me, the answer is yes. But don’t talk to me. Running is my communion with nature, my release, my thoughts acknowledgement and peace.

-I want to be a gazelle, but only need to move. Gazelle status will be a bonus.

3. I need intellectual stimulus. Mindless, numbing activity is deadly. It makes me create scenarios in my brain. I’d rather live outside of my brain that live in it, but I will do both if I have too. I need to be challenged. I need intellectual conversation. I need the freedom to seek this. I like being smart because the more you learn, the more you realize you know nothing. Therefore learning is a lifelong challenge.

I want to be a professional student and have long lengthy chats with other academics but having friends who challenge me is a bonus.

4. I need chocolate. Not everyday but when I need it, look out – it isn’t pretty.

-I want only great chocolate but any chocolate when I need it is a bonus.

I am lucky, I have my needs met. Now – on to the wants…lets start with that vacation to NYC…

15th Anniversary of the beginning of Harry? I suddenly feel very old and melancholy.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

15 years ago the J.K. Rowling released the first of her epic series of Harry Potter Books. I know the first one as Harry and the Philosopher’s Stone, the Americans know it to be the Sorcerer’s Stone. Why? I don’t know, something to do with it being more marketable in the USA. I HATE it when they do that to books.Publishers did it with The Book of Negroes in the rest of the world and Someone knows my Name in the USA. Anyways…

I became a Harry Potter fan by accident. I needed to find a story book to engage my young son in so he would want to become a reader. Books that girls would like to read seemed easier to find. I picked up this book in the Scholastic Book Club Flyer and decided it would be the bed-time story for the next few weeks. By the time we had caught up on the series, we were waiting for The Goblet of Fire to come out. We dressed up and went to the book launch at the local book store, picked up the book and went home. I read the first chapter to him for bed-time as was our usual routine. I then took the book to MY room and finished reading by 4:00 AM. This became a trend for me. Taking the book and reading it in one go, then preceding to read it my son.

By the time we had reached the (near) end of the series, my son was reading novels on his own. He preferred adventure stories but would never read Harry Potter on his own, that was reserved for me. He would watch me read the book through with tears rolling down my face, or so caught up in adventure I couldn’t hear what was going on around me. The advantage to reading first was I knew when a good time to stop the book for the night. Chapters aren’t always a good break in the story.

Rowling isn’t the worlds greatest literary author, but who cares. She made children readers because they finally understood that a book can transport you away to another time and place and lets you spend time with characters who might resemble you and your friends. Better yet, they might show flaws that make you feel normal. I knew Harry had an impact on my son when, as a 16 year old, he came home from a School Trip to California sporting a wand, 11 inches long, made of holly and had a phoenix feather core. It made me smile. The movies were fine, but both of us agree the books had that extra detail that became important to the characters and their lives.

They were important to me, because it gave me some extra cuddle time past the age when your mom reading to you at bed-time was not so cool. Those books were important to him too and set the stage for the future us to discuss books, movies and other geeky things we both find so fascinating. Even now, both my kids like it when I read to them occasionally  I take advantage of every second because these times are growing few and far between. One day it will be me and my grandkids cuddling up to read new adventures.

I’ll leave Harry Potter for the future grandkid’s dad to share with them because that needs to be a special time between a parent and child to let the tradition continue.

Question: what is your existential crisis right now ? Seriously – I’m good, nothing to look at here. Keep moving.

Existentialism in Calvin and Hobbes
Existentialism in Calvin and Hobbes (Photo credit: Lst1984)

I had a message in my twitter feed last week that asked me this:

Question: what is your existential crisis right now ?

I looked at it and thought about it. I understood what it meant, Wikipedia explains it as this:

An existential crisis is a moment at which an individual questions the very foundations of his or her life: whether his or her life has any meaning, purpose or value.[1] This issue of the meaning and purpose of existence is the topic of the philosophical school of existentialism.

I was immediately offended. Why would someone think that my life doesn’t have purpose. Or anyone’s life for that matter? We all have a purpose, good, bad or indifferent. It doesn’t have to be job related, it could be relational. The fact of the matter is it is personal. Not something that needs to be shared – unless of course THAT is the purpose!

My answer to this question was simple:

I don’t question it. I know my life has meaning and purpose.

Some-days it is more obvious to me than other days, but purpose is there and I don’t have to look very hard. I know this question was meant to be well meaning and a conversation started on a philosophical level, but dude, I no longer need to analyze everything to death. It’s okay not to know the answer to every question. The hard part is accepting that. That could be your current purpose.

Once it boils down, we are all the same

one-and-the-same1

I woke up this morning to a barrage of email that kept me quite busy for the better part of an hour. One of those notes was from a long lost cousin of mine who lives south of me. A while back, I wrote about my Grand Uncle and his mother, my beloved Great Grandmother. Since that post, I have been fortunate enough to connect, or reconnect with countless family members from ‘that side’ of the family. Through many conversations and mini reunions, I have learned – or rather reaffirmed – We are all more similar than different.

My distant cousin wrote this:

I am finding myself astounded from many of your posts on your blog.  So many things you have written about, sound so similar to my interests and experiences.

She wrote many other things that compared our lives, but that is her personal journey, mine is written here. Yes we are similar, so you can surmise what she is like. Another distant cousin on Canada’s East Coast also seems very familiar to me. We had never met, but our interests and life experiences have that same raw familiarity of people who have been through war together. Our wars were separate, yet so familiar and a destruction of trust. Both of these women are people I want to spend time with, get to know what they are like in person and not just in print. I can see myself enjoying them as sisters or the very least friends.

When I first began my Edmonton Tourist Journey in 2010, it was because I was unhappy and felt alone. I set out to change things in my life and have new experiences. This quest has introduced to countless people, all who are so incredibly different than myself, yet we all have one thing in common. We are the same. I am not sure if it is where I am in my life that keeps attracting these people to me, or if it is because there is a global inner drive that requires people to keep searching for ‘it’, but I do know we are more the same than different. Maybe I am wrong and you aren’t the same as me, here is my list of 4 things I think we have in common:

  1. We all want to be loved by someone – kissed, hugged or hair ruffled by someone who cares about you. You want to feel that connected energy. If you aren’t feeling it, perhaps you are not recognizing it. It doesn’t always come in the form of a ‘soulmate’ or great romantic love, it could be from your pup Sparky or your grandma. Still, we all need that feeling of belonging to someone.
  2. We all want to feel good and by good I mean healthy  No want wants to walk around feeling like they are tired or sick all the time. The difference between those who want to feel it and those who do feel it is some of us have figured out the secret. It’s not a big secret, it is more of a knowing. Eat less, move more. Simple formula. Eat real food, not chemical filled. You are  natural, healthy and organic. That means your fuel of choice should be the same. Harder than it sounds, but yet so simple. Move your body. We are biped beings. Walk more, sit less. The more you do it, the better you will feel.
  3. We want the best for the people we love. It doesn’t matter if you are a parent, sibling or child. If you love someone, you want the best for them. When you hear happy news, don’t be jealous or envious, smile and bask in their happiness. It becomes contagious.
  4. We all want to understand. The biggest human nature driving force is ‘WHY’. ‘WHY’ is the reason we get up and experience or try things. ‘WHY’ is the reason we strive for more. Learn the answer to WHY to satisfy you curiosity. Read, experience, and listen to learn the answer to WHY. Try all 3 or the learning method that works for you.

Are we the same? I think so.

 

Reaching for the Worthwhile

I belong to a fledgling book club – all women and lots of wine. We read books that challenge our comfort zone. We take turns choosing the book of the month and host the meeting in perspective homes. Last night was meeting number 2. I know 2 of the ladies quite well, one moderately well and the other two gals are new to my life. We come from different backgrounds, our children are at different ages and stages, our careers are massively different. Yet we all have 2 things in common:

  1. We love to read
  2. We strive for inner growth and change.

I have been reading 419 by Wil Ferguson. There was a single passage near the beginning of the book that made me catch my breath, the character had the task of compiling information for an obituary:

There were never entries for “memory,” or “regrets,” or even “love,” in the lowercase.
It was always “Education (post-secondary)” or “Awards (see also:Best Debut R&B Country CD by a Female Artist, Solo).” Indexes never seemed to get to the heart of the matter. There was never
a heading for hope or fear. Or dreams, recalled. Smiles, remembered. Anger. Beauty. Or even images that lingered, glimpses of something that had made an impression. A doorway. A window. A reflection on glass. The smell of rain. Never any of that. Just a tally of proper nouns and famous names. And why only one life? Why not the web of other lives that define us? What of their indexes”

This made me think. An obituary is typically a list of accomplishments. I remember reading the Toronto paper and remember thinking this people are success driven, there was very little about love and life and endless lists of job related activities and education. Compared to the obituaries I have read in the Edmonton Paper, it was incredibly different. Edmonton Obituaries are typically a laundry list of who died first and who has survived. It seems to be more of a disaster survival list rather than a compilation of words that describe the person. Rarely do you get a glimpse of the deceased’s passions, hobbies or loves. Ferguson makes the same observation. What are our beliefs and how do we define ourselves?

This topic came up in a round about way at Book Club. A few of us are attending a Belief Re-patterning workshop. From what I understand, we have a set of beliefs that we live by. Good/Bad/Indifferent. It is these beliefs that push us forward or hold us back. The point of all this is to discover what it is we truly belive and then taking steps to re-pattern our habits and thoughts to achieve goals.

The conversation then turned to what is it that we would like to change about ourselves. Good question, where do I start? Standing in the middle of me – I find it hard to see what I am, the real deep me. My friends see it. So then what is my belief and what I am striving for?

Then it hit me…after my friend hit me with it. I want to be accepted as I am and I want EVERYBODY to accept me. I want to be perceived as smart and have it all going on. I like being the star of the Robyn Show! Is it happening for me? No, not really. I see my self taking on tons in an effort to show – I have no idea who, perhaps the world, perhaps my mother – and get the recognition I crave. DING DING – Oprah calls this an “A HA” moment, I call it the lightbulb moment.

I see myself discounting rejection, in both my personal and professional life. If I change then maybe you won’t reject me. Sad isn’t it? In some ways it is very liberating. The point isn’t to dig up all the issues of my past, the point is to recognize the pattern and restructure it. One friend hopes this will be a miracle cure, when I see it as more hard work.

If my life is summed up by an obituary or a funeral what do I hope for? My friend wants a balance between family and work. I have a pretty good idea what I would like, the trick is achieving it. I don’t want to look back over my life and say “I should have taken that path”.

I want to look back and think my life was worthwhile.

“We read to know that we are not alone.” ― William Nicholson

 

“We read to know that we are not alone.”
William Nicholson

 

I just came off a weekend reading frenzy. I love those kind of weekends. You know the type, lay around in comfy clothes, snacking instead of eating meals and reading 3 books that had me a Page 1.

The first book was J.K. Rowling’s A Causal Vacancy. This was my least favorite of the 3 books this weekend. The story line was just fine, there were a couple of characters I really enjoyed. I loved reading about Krystal’s family and I really liked Andrew. The rest of the town was just overloading me on not caring very much. There was something about this book that made me wade through the crappy bits to get to the climax. Rowling is a master of creating excitement and building to a big finish. That was obvious from reading all her previous works. A Casual Vacancy also had a big build up. I LOVE that in a book. It was unfortunate that this story line was less than interesting. Even with the big build up to the end, I was left with disappointment in her plot line. It was just a regular little town with regular weird residents that resemble people I know. I have to admit of being sucked in by the author’s name. I will likely read her next book but am still holding out hope she will create a Marauders series. Her small town book was dull….except for the end. I rated this book 3 out of 5 on Goodreads.

After I read that book, I immediately picked up A Dog’s Purpose. My friend and bookclub mate The Reader suggested it to me. Our taste in books is very similar, so I figured I would likely enjoy this one too. Did I ever love this book! You don’t need to be a dog lover to enjoy it. The story is from the perspective of the dog, who reincarnates 4 times and has memory of his previous lives. The interesting part for me was how this pup would learn from lessons taught in each life and bring it forward to the next one knowing he has a purpose and must fulfill it. I read this book in a couple of hours and was enchanted right from the time he was Toby until the end of the book as Buddy. I rated this book 5 out of 5 on Goodreads. Love, love, loved it!

The last book I read was the Book of Negroes by Canadian Author Lawrence Hill. It won the Canada Reads award and is a book that everyone should read. I rated it 5 out of 5 on goodreads. For some reason, it is called Someone Knows My Name in the USA.  Which is a shame because of the historical importance of the book entitled The Book Of Negroes (a log kept by the British military to keep track of the slaves, endentured slaves and people freed from slavery who were transplanted to the British colonies in Nova scotia and New Brunswick). It was the story of an 11 year old girl who was captured by the slave traders in Africa. It talked about her 3 month journey to the coast where she was branded and sent on a slave ship to Sullivan Island where she was sold. The story moves throughout her amazing, yet tragic life and the 7 different places she lived. She was more fortunate than most but her life was tragic none the less. I was shocked and shamed to learn about Nova Scotia’s part in the slave trade. The underlying message from this book was timely. It stressed the importance of educating women,especially after Malala Yousafzai was shot for being an activist for girls right to education. Shining Hope for Communities is an organization that combats gender inequality and extreme poverty in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya, by linking tuition free schools for girls to accessible social services for all. Studies show that by educating women, poverty can be reduced and violence is lessened. Women who are educated and well read tend to are less fearful. People shouldn’t have to live in fear.

The Dali Lama said this today on his facebook page:

Comparing the 20th century to now there are many hopeful signs. Look at the way people view war. These days many people challenge the need for it, they question why we have to resort to it. In the early twentieth century there was no talk about protecting the environment, yet now everyone is aware of it. Our perceptions are coming closer to reality; humanity is becoming more mature and I am optimistic about the future.

I think we are making gains. Keep Reading people!

Mindful Running


I crawled into bed last night and my muscles complained. I am starting to feel like I am 100.

I am not 100, I am 45. I cannot remember a time in recent memory (since I started this mo journey Jan,’11) that some muscle wasn’t upset about something I did. Secretly, I really like this feeling. I like when my belly aches from planks or swimming, I like when my legs burn from running. I like how tired I am at night.

At some point this week I reached the half way point of the C25k training program. So yesterday I ran the very first route I did  day one. I am not the person who will run the same route day in and day out. I need to switch it up. I do this for a couple of reason.

  1. Because running the same route is too boring for words. I am not running with music because I like to get out of my head, be mindful of what I am doing and I use it as a meditation. I have spent far too much of my life imagining and daydreaming about something else, this has been a fantastic experience of learning to run and I have not missed one painful, dreadful, wonderful moment. I need variety, different things to look at and new experiences. Apparently new experiences makes you smarter and Lord knows I could benefit from being smarter.
  2. Switching up the camber is a injury preventive strategy. My knee has reached the point where I do not even think about it when I run. I do not need to create a new injury in the process. Even when I run the same route for a week, I will head out in alternate directions for each run. Meaning I run a loop. One day I start on the right and go west, the the next day I run left and go east. I think this has really helped because I cannot avoid hills this way. Sure I want to, but I get to it eventually.

So, I reached the mid-way point of my training. I ran the original path I did on my first day. The first day of the C25k was 45 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes with 5 minutes on either end of walking to warm up and cool down. Between you and me, this was hard. I had the stamina and conditioning from swimming but the muscles were different. I was really concerned about running for 20 minutes because that day was going to happen soonish. I am a goal nazi. I have crazy intense focus when I set a goal. So even when I didn’t feel up to running, I did it anyway. I have set my 5k race goal for the first week of December. I gave myself lots of time because I want to have lots of practice and conditioning for my first 5k race. I want to feel like it isn’t hard. I also knew I needed time just in case my knee complained mightily. So here I am half way.

Yesterday I re-ran my first path. I live on the prairies and in the burbs. I love the big sky. My neighborhood, which is great for my kids, is DULL as dishwater for running enthusiasts. There is a running trail/dogrun/power-line corridor the flows north to south behind the local school. It takes you into the creek and up over the bank to the other burbish neighborhoods. I ran this.

I did it at first because it was asphalt, and that is better than concrete for my joints. If I am honest, it is also because there is no traffic and no one could see me. The first day I ran/walked less than a kilometer. I didn’t quite make it to pass the walkway to Kitlitz park. The first couple of weeks I didn’t get very far. Even the 5 minute warm up wasn’t that far from my house. I never quite made it into the park and had to start running on the road when my beeper went off.

Yesterday I did the same route. This time my warm up got me into the park and near the bottom of the incline to join the main path. I ran south for 5 minutes walked one then ran 8 minutes. I more than tripled my distance for the “out” portion. The sun was hot for September and I was running at 5:00pm heat peak. Keep in mind this is EDMONTON so the air was cool-ish but the sun was intense. I loved the long shadows that provided shade. This time of day tons of women were out. This struck me because in the morning I only see men run. Never any women. Apparently us girls are too busy getting families ready to start the day and wait until after work to run or walk the pooches. I also was keenly aware of the smell of fall. The leaves are turning and there is a distinct smell that goes with that. I had a friend who thought it smelled of gym socks, but rotting leaves is a warm musty smell that I love. I saw berries on the path and a middle aged dude sitting in the shade talking on the phone. I assumed it was a secret clandestined phone call. I had long passed my original turn around point and forgot to take note of it, but soon I was reaching the crest of the hill that would lead me down into the creek. At the top of the crest, I remembered the gravel turn off that I used to get extra miles in when I was training for the half marathon when I walked. I then looked to my left and saw the flood waters had subsided from the spring when I came through here and had to walk through 4 inches of water and soaked my shoes. The downhill portion was laid out in front of me and I checked my timer, I was only 2 minutes into my 8 minute run. WOW! I knew I was getting faster. The midway point of the hill brought me to the crosswalk. I scanned the road ready to pause my timer in case I had to wait for traffic. No such luck. I had to keep running because the road was free from traffic. I ran across the sidewalk and onto the cross walk. I was immediately struck by the resistance of the concrete. I didn’t suspect I would notice it, but it was noticeably harder.

Once I crossed the road, I was trying to decided should I turn right and follow the creek or just run over the bridge at the bottom of the path. The hill was getting steeper and i knew I would have to run back up. Just before I reached the point where I would need to decide, my running app voice said “half way”. I replied out loud, “OKAY!” and I pulled a U-ie on the path and started to make my way up the steep hill. A gal who was running behind me, one of those gazelles with a beautiful stride (ONE DAY THAT WILL BE ME!) smiles and said “GREAT JOB!” Thanks running gazelle! I looked at my timer and it was 3:55 into my 8 minute run. So up I climbed and scanned the road once again for traffic. This hill nonsense is stupid and I felt the burn of my calves and my heels and ankles swore at me a bit. Too bad so sad and I kept climbing. I was counting out power-lines and figured the 3rd set should be about right for stopping. I set my sights on the third set and then changed my focus once again. I was thinking about that cute pup who didn’t listen and wanted to keep playing. I looked at the blue sky and thought about how beautiful it is in the fall but not as beautiful as a winter sky. Then I was checking out the berries on the bushes and thought there wasn’t very many. Maybe it will be a mild winter! WOHOO! I then realized I was running past the third tower of my count off. WOW! I am faster! I checked my phone and I has another 42 seconds to go. So I ran.

By the time the beep went off and running app voice said “Walk”, I was nearly at the point of my very first turnaround on my very first day. I walked the 2 minutes and then was told to run again. I had 5 minutes left. I ran all the way to the walkway the would lead me home. I needed a 5 minute cool down still. I walked along my street home. By the time I reached my front porch running app voice said “workout complete”. Never had I gone this far or completed so close to home. I was pretty proud and happy. I stopped on my porch to stretch out. The running stretches I have read about and remember from my basketball days are good for a start, but I always finish up with some yoga poses. Those feel heavenly.

I looked ahead to my next running plan on my app and saw it was run 8 walk 1 run 10. That is for Sunday’s long run. It’s not really a long run. Last year my Sundays were filled with walks that were about 14-18kms, so this doesn’t seem like a big deal in terms of distance. But muscle endurance is a different thing. I then thought about my plan for running my first half marathon. It might sound odd that I have a plan for a half when I haven’t even run a 5km yet, but I am a planner. I plan to run 10 and 1s. Run 10 minutes walk 1 minute. I also told myself that there is no shame in walking if I have to.

My plan this year will get me to become a comfortable runner for a 10km. I will then become comfortable at running a regular 10k. Then the distance training will begin. It’s hard not to get ahead of myself. But I can clearly see the 1/2 marathon medal being place around my neck. I will earn it because I will have ran it in less time than I walked the original one.

I can’t WAIT! Roll on Sunday, I need to feel what a 10 minute run feels like because it is all part of my plan.

 

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9/11

Today was one of the days that felt like a week. It made me tired in the back of my eyes. I told my team I was leaving the room to visit the bathroom and if anyone was going to offer me a job between my classroom and the ladies room, I was taking it.

No one did, so I guess I go back to the same routine tomorrow.

My drive home today I was listening to CBC radio – that’s right I have become THAT person, the old crotchety non-NDPer (non- New Democratic Party) who listens to CBC radio. Why? It’s calm and unusual. They played k.d. Lang and interviewed Laurie Greenwood from Greenwoods Books. I love hearing about new books I might want to read. Today she talked about The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. It is  Longlisted  for the Man Booker Prize. I want to read it.

It is about a fellow in England who retires and has nothing to do. He sits in his chair while his bitter wife does the chores and he wonders what is he going to do with the rest of his like. He gets a letter from an old friend he hasn’t seen or thought of in 20 years. The note says the this friends was dying from cancer and she wanted to say good bye. He writes a note and goes to the post office to mail it. He decides to go to the next post office instead. He ends up several post offices away and stops at a gas station for a cup of coffee. He meets a punk-rocker and tells her his story. She tells him the power of thought can heal. So Harold decides to send a postcard to his friend saying he is coming for a visit and just wait for him. Harold then begins to walk 600 miles across England, to meet his friend thinking this might heal them.

Sounds like an amazing journey. It made me think about other journeys and stories I have heard. I know several New Yorkers who have shared with me their story of 9/11 11 years ago. That made me think of the journey of the survivors and the victim’s loved ones. That made me think about the millions of people in New York. Then I thought about Harold Fry and his metaphoric journey.

I remember this day, 11 years ago very clearly. I was still in bed listening to the news when the unthinkable happened. A plane hit one of the towers. I got up and turned on CNN. I then watched the second plane hit the second tower. I couldn’t process what I was seeing. I went to work and my brother was listening to the news, eager to hear what was going on. Were we at war? What was going to happen?

I drove out past the airport to make deliveries for our business. These were the days of still working in the family owned business. I had stopped teaching for a while. I looked at the hundreds of airplanes that were parked at the airport. Flights had been re-routed from the States and brought to Canada. The passengers where sheltered and nurtured here in Canada while they worried frantically about their country, friends and family.

Eventually the world got back to business and airplanes went back into the sky. Travel became a hassle and people began to complain about the pain in the ass travel had become. Life went back to normal and people hated their jobs, their lives, their situation once again.

I remember thinking, I need to be more intentional about gratitude.

I also am on a journey. Mine is not the same as Harold, I am not walking 600 miles to see a dying friend. My journey is simply to understand why I am not satisfied with fine. I feel an inner pull leading somewhere and I have no idea where it is taking me. I don’t understand it, I am frustrated with it, yet I follow that pull as it leads me to destinations unknown. I think it is called faith. I have faith that I will figure it out at the end, since I haven’t figured it out yet, I can’t possibly be at the end. I have faith things will work out the way they are suppose to. In the mean time I feel the pull pushing me into finishing my degree, I feel the pull pushing outside to run, I feel the pull to be compassionate and understanding, and I feel the pull to help pick up the pieces and put them back together to support those who need the help.

I need to remember that this is my journey and excess body fluids may be part of it. I don’t have to like it, but I have to keep moving forward. Perhaps I will end  up walking 600 miles to meet my friend who needs me. But I am lucky, because I am here being needed, unlike the thousands of people who went to work that day 11 years ago and never went home to finish their journey.

I need to remember to be grateful.