The Future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades

Often we make friends because there are commonalities among us. We like similar things, our humor is the same or our children are friends.

Being friends because your children are friends isn’t always the best idea. When the kids fight and separate, things can become awkward between the adults if you let it. My Chatterbox had has an ongoing friendship with a gal since kindergarten. This girl’s mom and I have been friends that long as well – actually more so. We would go on girl only weekends, scrapbook together and we even share the same birthday.  Our girls no longer ‘play’ or ‘hangout’ together, and they go to different schools, but that doesn’t stop them for being Facebook friends, or speaking fondly of each other. Friendships change and evolve. I do not have the same friends from kindergarten, nor do I expect my children to have those same relationships. But I do think fondly of some of my childhood pals, and I hope my children do too.

Kindergarten

Today on Facebook, all my mom friends were posting first day of school pics and comments about their child toddling off to school. My youngest toddled off to Grade 10 this morning, running to catch the bus for fear she would be late. Her friends showed up 5 minutes later and I sent them towards the bus stop. I paused to think about my first day in High School. I stopped by to pick up a friend and we walked to school together. The weather was similar as it was today, warm and sunny, with wind blowing gently. It was a melancholy day.

To me it is just another sign that my children are growing in independence and I have less hands on time with them. To make up for this, I make sure I am available for when they seek me out to chat. I heard about her day and the comparisons that were made between her and her brother. I heard about her plans to out shine her brother in some areas and make her own mark in others. I definitely have a confident girl. (*Author’s Note: I rarely talk about The Boy, mostly because he forbids me. I respect that. It has nothing to do with favorites – because obviously I am their favorite.)

Conversations drifted from drama and the improv team to cheerleading and running. It looks like she will give the Cheer Team a pass and go out for the Cross Country Run Team.

Nice.

I have to admit to loving this idea a whole lot. (We ran together last week at a 5k race in Edmonton and are planning a girls trip to WDW together so we can run the 5k together there. It is cool for me to run with my girl, just as cool as it was for me to run with my dad.)

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When she was in grade 6 she was determined to be a cheerleader. I think it had to do with the High School Musical rage at the time. She made academic choices to head towards schools with a cheer team that was active in the competitive community, and not just about shaking pom poms for football. She enrolled in a school with a cheer team that consistently wins and travels to the US for competitions. Now that high school has arrived for my girl, she thinks she is a runner.

I like watching her run. She has that Gazelle stride I dream of having. It is something she is good at with little effort, so applying a lot of effort may have her see moderate to high success. I think its great to find something you excel at in school. I wish I had when I was her age, I was a late bloomer instead. That’s okay too.

She may decide that running isn’t for her either. Also okay. That is what high school is all about. Trying new things and figuring out the learning curve. Meeting new friends who share similar interests with you. My friend’s daughter said, “High School is for finding bridesmaids.” Isn’t that the truth! Find great friends, laugh and cry with them. Try new things and fail miserably at some stuff while you succeed at others. Take risks and play it safe, all within the same week.

ChatterBox was ready for bed at dinner time today. She managed to stay awake long enough to enjoy her evening.

It is shaping up to be a fantastic year.

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.

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.

If You’re not First, You’re Last

I came in last. I was the very last walker in the half marathon to cross the finish line. My supporters, my family and friends are all trying to make me focus on my accomplishment of FINISHING. But seriously, I am NOT BOTHERED by being last. However, I can see why they would think that. It’s me and I am VERY opinionated when it comes to athletics. Not all athletics, just the ones I care about – like Hockey or the Olympics or Hockey IN the Olympics. It’s not that I don’t enjoy other sporting events, because I do. I love sitting at a football game on a warm summer evening, or a baseball game on a Sunday afternoon. I love the atmosphere, the beer, the pile of peanut shells at me feet. But hockey is my passion and with passion comes opinions that cannot be swayed.

I don’t know if you are familiar with how tournaments work, but the final 4 teams play each other. The winners move on to play for the Gold medal. The losers play for the Bronze medal. That leaves Silver as the loser medal. Loser as in Loooooooooooooooza’. The Gold medal contenders know they both get a medal, but to “win” the Silver you must lose. That sucks. Because Bronze is a winner’s medal. When in reality, Bronze is just a nice way of saying, you suck but not as much as everyone who was eliminated before you, so here you go. It is a pity medal. Gold is for winners, Silver is for losers and Bronze is for the pity party.

I am often heard saying if you’re not first you’re last, or another favorite, Silver is for losers. So it is no surprise when I fist pumped my hands in the air and shouted “WOHOO I’m last!” Everyone was quick to say…”Nooooooooo you finished! It is about finishing and setting goals and yadadadada”. What they don’t realize is, the loser  – me – get’s treated like a rock star. It was AWESOME and I mean that in a serious way, not my usual sarcastic way. It took me 4:27 to finish. Why you ask when I walked 20k in 3:15? Good question, not that I am making excuses, but I shall give you all the gory details.

1. It was F’ing hot. Sure this is only by Canadian Standards. But We ( the runners and walkers) all trained in cold and rain all summer long. We were not prepared for the heat of 30C. AND There was not enough water stations…just saying.

2. I had the worst sleep I had in ages. AND 6:00 AM sucks donkey balls. It is established that I am not a morning girl…just saying.

3. The pace bunny sucked. She had a mouth on her that made my partner run away, if I could have, I would have run too. So GREAT JOB OtherNiece! I wish I had whatever juice you had. So proud and envious of you…just saying.

4. I stepped off the curb at the groat bridge and saw stars. This was 8km way from the finish. I felt like puking it hurt so bad. That F’ing Bunny was ahead of me telling the traffic cops that we were LAST, so no one didn’t notice what happened and I was not about to say “MEDIC!” No chance, I was finishing….again, just saying.

8Km left was far. AbronxTurtle wrote on my facebook wall that morning “Focus, you can do this, no fear”. So as a mantra in my head, I kept saying “focus, no fear, you got this”. I saw my partner and inspiration keep the same pace, I struggled to keep up with her, but couldn’t. So I let her go, off into the distance while I maintained a pace I could manage. Before the curb, I was on track for under 4 hours as planned. Now, the best I could hope for was under 5.

That stupid bunny walked ahead of me and would stop to wait, look at her garmin and say “your doing great, good good.” Then talk to me about stupid stuff and tell really bad Irish knock knock jokes. I am excellent at focusing inward and putting myself into the zone. I call it self reflection or meditation. It got me through  months of training solo, I needed to do that to get me through. THANK THE HEAVENS ABOVE for Sweeper Bike Guy!!!

Sweeper Bike Guy checks the course for bodies. Usually dead ones, he has a radio and can call for ambulances and hearses. He was sweet and offered his water because THERE WAS NO ENOUGH WATER STATIONS and sunscreen because IT WAS FREAKING HOT! Best of all, he talked to the Pace Bunny so I wouldn’t have too. This saved my life. My coach said to me months earlier in training, your muscles know what to do, you have trained them, it is the mental state of mind that brings you home”. She wasn’t kidding. At that point it was all mental, I no longer was aware of what was going on around me, until I made it to the 18km mark.

At 18km, that was the water station and I had made friends with a fellow who had cheered me on the way past this station the first time. He saw me and smiled and said “I’ve been waiting for you! I knew you’d be back!” Then he gave me water and Gatorade and said, “but you don’t like the Gatorade do you?” I could not believe he remembered! I replied that I needed it so he gave it to me plus more, then offered me a water bottle and some for my head and neck. All this went on while I was still walking. He walked 2 blocks with me asking me what motivated me to do this. He had only ever volunteered.

I told him my story of standing on the sidelines and cheering on everyone last year. I told him I couldn’t understand WHY people did it, but now I know. It is like I have been given the key to the secret box that lets you into the marathon. He asked me a few more questions and was so supportive, he got me through to 112 Avenue – the home stretch.

112 Avenue was closed for the race. I was the only one on it except for traffic cops, Bunny and Sweeper Bike Guy. I called them my entourage. As Bunny said she was the last, she was ALWAYS ahead of me, so I always told the traffic cops, “Clearly she is a liar, I am last because I am behind her” I managed to still joke and stopped only once. I folded over and clutched my thighs and told her I was in agony. I then told her about my injuries. The long standing MCL that was slightly pissed off that I had been walking for over 4 hours, and my new injury – the stress fracture. Her tone completely changed. Suddenly she became a normal person. We talked about where she worked, then I looked at her face – I had worked WITH her in brief circumstances for diagnostic reasons for our mutual clients. She then asked me my motivation and what kind of supports I had. By this time I could see actual marathoners running across the avenue towards the finish line. DAMN I was so close!

I rounded the corner and saw my Chatterbox! That made me cry a bit. She waved and took pictures. Then I saw Genetic Offspring sitting in the shade with my dad. I waved and cried a bit more. I was then shown the way into the chute. There was the finish line. DAMN it was so freaking far away still!! My kids walked along the barrier with me. I cannot tell you how much this meant to me. I saw my time approaching and there was no way I was finishing under 5, I was going for under 4:30 – so I picked it up a notch and Bunny hung back so I could go ahead of her – thanks Bunny. All I remember is My name being announced as I crossed the finish line. I saw the medal dude and took my hat off and leaned forward to accept it. I saw Honey, my coach and my niece along the fence. My coach hugged me and told me how proud she was. Then I heard my mom call me. I turned and she had roses. She hugged me and told me how proud she was. That was when I lost it. I cried like a baby. All kids, no matter how old or young they are, live for the moment when their parent tells them how proud they are. Somehow I magically was sitting on a bench surrounded by my family. My Coach came by again and for the life of me I cannot tell you what was said. I remember everyone leaving and saying they loved me. That made me cry again

I recall being helped to the car by Honey and Genetic Offspring…that is all I can remember. I am not sure how I got home or how I made it upstairs to my room, or how I ended up sleeping in the bath. I do remember the celebration afterwards… That I’ll save for tomorrow.

You see being last doesn’t bother me. I know what it took to get there.

Please Don’t Tell Me Anything, My Brain is Already Full.

A chimpanzee brain at the Science Museum London
Image via Wikipedia

Today was one of those “bone weary” days. I know you get them. The kind where your joints and muscles ache, your skin hurts, and your eyes hurt to look at stuff. I brought it all on myself.

I had the intention of going to bed early-ish last night. Early for me is between 10:oo and 11:00 pm. I am a night owl. I feel recharged after dark and do not understand the need for early-risers to be so chipper ( yes honey this means you). Life got in the way last night, between writing letters to political members and watching Craig Ferguson, I procrastinated long enough that I went to bed 15 minutes before the pumpkin hour.

The stress is starting to build in my new Tourist Life. You know how I can tell? I cannot remember a single thing I am supposed to do. My brain fell out. If I didn’t know any better I’d swear I have pregnancy brain. I don’t, there is no way I am pregnant. If I was I would give the baby to my sister for Christmas. No, that is not the problem, but I think I know what is.

My Brain is Full.

Who knew there was a capacity? I thought there was a potential for infinite learning! So the question now is, how do I let go of the stuff I don’t need? My dad calls it a fountain of useless knowledge. I know a lot of crazy and obscure facts. Like…Who holds the record for the longest Goal Scoring streak on the Edmonton Oilers?

A> Wayne Gretzky?

B> Dave Lumely?

C>Ryan Smythe?

D> Paul Coffee?

Nope you are wrong – except my friend from Jr. High who knows this stuff too. B> Dave Lumely. Or this one, It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open. Or did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci invented scissors. If you are playing trivial pursuit, you want me on your team. I caution you, I am very competitive and wont let you answer a thing, but we will win.

I use to remember everything from all the data reports I needed for team meetings, my kids schedules, my husbands schedule, school volunteer events and dates, every birthday of every person I know, my telephone number and bank money transactions. Now I can’t even tell you what my favorite colour is! I thank Steve Jobs everyday that I have an iPhone and I know how to use it! It is so simple to use, I don’t need to remember how, it just happens. PHEW! Because without the calendar,  notes, email and contact list I would be curled up in the corner weeping uncontrollably. A friend and colleague at work today said the brain works differently with a hormone fluctuation. Well, I AM getting old, and hormones work differently, but I don’t think that is it. My Brain is full and I need to do something about it because school work and day work needs to fit in there. Hopefully one day my brain will be back in top-notch shape

So here is the plan, I am not going to take responsibility for non-essentials anymore. If you need to get to volleyball practice, set your alarm or tell your dad. If you need to plan a baby shower for a friend, email me what I need to bring. If you don’t, I won’t remember and you will be disappointed. If you are unsure how to operate the data bases at work , look it up in the manual on the black shelf, everything you need to know is in that book , no in the white one. If you need me to buy groceries, sorry I can’t. I walk in and just stand there looking at the pretty colours and forget why I am there. Email me if you need something. edmtourist@gmail.com If I have it in my phone, I can do it.

Other wise, forget it, my brain is full.

I Promised Mess I Wouldn’t Cry

Today I stood curbside at Floden Park to cheer on runners for the Canadian Derby Marathon in Edmonton. All I can say is, unbelievable!

In 2001, I sat curbside to watch the marathon for the World Track and Field Games in Edmonton. That was surreal. My kids were small, and I brought noise makers and face tattoos and fun things to play with that would support the athletes as they ran by.We were very excited! Suddenly, we could see the elite runners  in the distance! Then…. zooooooooooom… they ran past us at light speed. We saw them run by for maybe 45 seconds. HUGELY anticlimactic! But today was different. We stood curbside at the wall. From my understanding, the wall is where the runner reaches complete fatigue.

Wikipedia explains is like this:

Carbohydrates that a person eats are converted by the liver and muscles into glycogen for storage. Glycogen burns quickly to provide quick energy. Runners can store about 8 MJ or 2,000 kcal worth of glycogen in their bodies, enough for about 30 km/18–20 miles of running. Many runners report that running becomes noticeably more difficult at that point. When glycogen runs low, the body must then burn stored fat for energy, which does not burn as readily. When this happens, the runner will experience dramatic fatigue and is said to “hit the wall“.

We cheered and yelled! You could see the looks of determination on some faces and appreciation on others. Some runners thanked us as said they really appreciated our support and that it made a difference. We arrived after the elite runners had finished the race ( Brendan Lunty of Camrose, AB 2:33:17). We figured it was the middle of the pack and the back of the packers who needed our support the most. I saw people who could barely walk keep moving, people older than my father keep moving, (not that you are old DAD!) and people who just thought they would give it a “go” keep moving. What drives someone to run/walk or crawl 42km?

My dad is amazing. Everyday he runs 10km because:

A) he likes to

B) it keeps him fit

C) it feels good.

What the?!?!?! It feels good? My mom, is a walker/cycler. She will walk everywhere for HOURS because:

A) she likes to

B) it keeps her fit

C) it feels good.

I hear that a lot.  It feels so good.  I have NEVER experienced athletic euphoria. I use to cycle great long distances. I like the feeling of speed and wind in my face. But that was pretty much it. I takes major drive and commitment to be an athlete.

Drive and Commitment. I don’t think I have those. My sister does. Well, maybe it is more ambition then drive, or maybe you need one to achieve the other.

I am a huge hockey fan. During the 80’s the Edmonton Oiler’s were THE TEAM TO BEAT. The league even made a new rule to help the other teams try to beat the Edmonton Oiler’s. Together they won 5 Stanley Cups. A Dynasty to be reckoned with. There was a core group on that team that really had drive and commitment.  Others came and went. Mark Messier really lead team in spite of all you Wayne fans, it was always Messier’s leadership on and off the ice that led the team. This was evident when Wayne left, cried because he would never see another team so amazing in his career, and Mark led the team to yet another cup.  The man had a focus that you could see in his eyes. He willed the impossible to happen. I suspect, Mark Messier believed that you wanted something bad enough, you made it happen. Anything less was inadequate. I can just imagine what it was like to be Steve Smith. He scored on his own net during the playoffs and the Oil lost. Mess likely didn’t say a thing. Just let Smith wallow in it for the rest of the very long summer. He brought his “A” game the next season. I am sure Mess had a lot to do with that.

How do I get that kind of drive? I want that kind of focus. I want to see the brass ring and not just reach for it but grab on to it and hold it in my hands. I want to know what that feels like. I chose what I do for a living because it was easy. It is something I am good at and it comes easy to me. I was too afraid to reach for what I wanted so I chose the easy path. Thursday I register for University. This is not the easy path. The easy one is to stay in a position where I can assert myself and do more, but I am not able to move forward. I am held back by the constraints of my education even though I know I am capable of so much more. It frustrates me that I am capable of doing what is required of others, yet unable to step into that role. I refuse to be held back any longer. When I spoke to my adviser in regards to my class load, she suggested I start with one class. It will have 4 major projects, and 60 hours or so of class work/studying etc. My first thought was “I can handle a full class load easily!” But then I thought, well – hmm, It has been years since I have done this, I still need to be a parent and help out with homework etc ( although this angers me a woman, maybe a great topic for another blog) plus, my family still needs me to bring in a paycheck so I will need to continue my full-time job. Contrary to popular opinion, I am not independently wealthy! I still want to volunteer on the Parent Advisory Council at my children’s school. Then there is family stuff!! Wow, I am tired just looking at this.  But I am digging deep. If Messier could guarantee a win for the Rangers so they could go on to win the Cup, then I can do this. Who are we kidding, my goal is harder than Messier’s. He just had to win a game.

I guess I do have drive and focus.

Here we go, the next travel stop on my journey as a tourist and I promised Mess I wouldn’t cry.