Friday, May 28, 2010

The 'Before' Bucket List, and the 'After' Bucket List

Let's talk about death for a minute or two. Don't like talking about death? Does it make you uncomfortable? If so, you might want to wait for tomorrow's post then.

Alright, is the room clear of those who are hoping we all live forever and/or those who don't want to think about the fact that we don't?

Good. Let's go then.

We were driving on the highway to my parents' house today and on that highway were crosses marking places where people have died in various accidents over the years. My friend Tommy's memory is commemorated on that highway by a cross. The 7th anniversary of his death was last month. He was one of the best people I'd ever known, bar none.

The crosses on the highway got me thinking. I'm not the least bit afraid of dying, not even a little bit. I think there are lots of great things to look forward to after I kick the bucket. We should be making 'Before' bucket lists, and 'After' bucket lists. It also made me realize that even in death, I'm going to be a bit particular about what I want:

1. If I die in an accident on a highway, I DO NOT want anyone to place a cross where I passed to commemorate my memory. I think that it is fine for those who have done that for a family member that has passed, but I don't want anyone doing it for me. I don't want those who love me to be forever reminded of where I took my last breath on this earth. I also don't want anyone to have to care for this "monument" so that it doesn't lose it's luster over the years. And in all honesty, it would hurt my feelings even in death to watch the monument diminish over time because no one still cares for it.

2. When I die, I would like my body to be used in the best way possible, all of it. If the death of my body can breathe new life into someone else's, I think that's a wonderful thing. Imagine all of the lives that can be changed that way, and the ripple effect. It's just phenomenal. I'll smile down from Heaven at that. Oh, and you can just cremate whatever is left over.

3. If you'd like to cry when I die, I'm not going to tell you not too. I think that's completely unreasonable. I think it's important to cry. I mean, think about how many people get messed up because they weren't allowed to cry, or were told not to cry. I'm not contributing to that kind of emotional catastrophe. That nastiness can seep into generations of non-emotionally-traumatized people.

4. I'd really like to have a say in what will be served at my funeral reception. Typically, where I'm from, this includes a myriad of little sandwiches and pickles, followed by little cookies and tea. I'm OK with a lot of that, since I know this is pretty customary. At the very least though, I'd like the following sandwiches to be served: asparagus, ham and cheese, and PB and jam. And funeral pickles - gherkins. That's what I'd like if we have to stick to the customary stuff.

If I really had my choice of food at my funeral reception, we'd eat the following: corn on the cob with blue cheese butter, grilled eggplant sandwiches with goat cheese on rye, cheese paninis, margherita pizza, smores, and cake and ice cream. All in copious amounts. Among other things. Food is just too delicious to be limited, especially if it's the meal AFTER your last meal.

So there, now you know. Don't you think about your death?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Foods and Their Stupid Sounds

Holy monkey, I'm ornery today. For no obvious reason though. Isn't that always the way?

There's something you should know about me. The thing that drives me the most batty in the universe is having to listen to someone else eat. I can't stand the chewing sounds. Usually at lunch time, I have to get away from the other eaters, for fear of having to listen to them crunch and smack and spit their way to fullness.

I just can't listen to the sounds - my neighbour continually scraping the bottom of his yogurt container for the last little stripe of creamy goodness at the bottom; the granola bar wrapper that someone refuses to take their whole granola bar out of, but instead chooses to take one piece out at a time, over the course of what seems like 7 hours, so I get to listen to every single crinkle that wrapper makes; slurping of hot coffee; the person next door who crunches 17 pounds of raw vegetables between the hours of 1pm and 4pm.

Gah!

Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, slurp <-- my co-worker eating an apple
Slurp, slurp, thump <-- another co-worker drinking coffee and putting down their mug
Scrape, scrape, scrape, scrape, scrape, *pause*, scrape, scrape, scrape, *pause*, scrape, scrape, scrape <-- isn't that freakin' yogurt gone yet?!?

Today, things that normally don't bother me are driving me insane. Yeah, I know we all gotta eat - I get it. I eat too.

There it is again, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, slurp, thump.

Is it time to go home yet?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

If you get a chance...

Swing on over to Ang's blog and enter for a chance to win a box of Honey Bars! These bars are delicious! I don't know how she managed to do it, but she shared one with me, and I've wanted another ever since. :-(

On To The Next One

Ah Jay-Z, how I love you...

I think I've finally come down from the high that was Bluenose Weekend 2010. As I'm sure most of you know, I ran my maiden 10K race this past Sunday. I wore bib #3943, and crossed the finish line with a chip time of 1:06:03, a few minutes under my goal of 1:10:00. That puts me at 305 out of the 469 females between the ages of 30 and 39, and 926 out of the 1460 females who ran the race. I'm pleased.

It was a great weekend too. I got to meet a lot of fantastic ladies - Niffer (my newest partner in crime who also took on the 10K), Jaime, Angie, Lynn, Tash, Jen, Cat, Les, and Lex. I also got to spend some time with my favourite Mouse, who was brave enough to tackle the half-marathon and Serpentine Hill.



Now I'm wondering what to do next. Foolishly, I've reached out for my next training program, a half-marathon. Am I insane? We'll see in the fall.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Post Long-Overdue: Winnipeg

It's been hard for me to gather my thoughts into a post about my trip to Winnipeg. I get a little emotional about it.

I visited Winnipeg last month to visit some close friends. I'm happy I can call them close friends since I've been there.

I haven't been the same since that trip.

I knew Jan and Lisa are two very special ladies, but I had no idea how great they really are until they shared their lives with me for those few days - honestly, some of the happiest days I had had in a quite a while. They opened up their hearts and their homes to a few of us that weekend.

I had the pleasure of staying with Jan during my visit, in her home. There's something to be said about staying at someone's home. It's something that makes you somehow closer to them, it's a glimpse into their life that you can't get otherwise. It's something that lets you know how they live their private life.

Staying with Jan only reinforced what I already knew about her - that she's warm, funny, generous to a fault, comforting, playful, and supportive. Those gorgeous blue eyes of hers are windows to a beautiful, beautiful soul. I felt so at home that I could have been sitting in my own living room and wouldn't have known the difference. We were able to share many comfortable silences, rare moments between friends. Since I've left, I've longed to share a morning coffee with her, out of a Tinkerbell mug in our pyjamas on her couch. It is the best coffee I've ever had. I know I can never find beans to make that kind of coffee.

Jan's family was nothing but wonderful, and I felt completely welcome while I stayed with them. I am very thankful to them for being so kind and giving.

While Jan was kind enough to host me, Ms. Lisa was hosting the lovely JMegs.

Lisa is a lady that can only be described as elegant, fiery, talented, and vivacious. For those of you who may not know her or know her well, you may not immediately realize the size of this woman's heart. She has enough heart for a hundred people - it's overwhelming. She organized us, drove us around, and cooked for all of us at her home - all the while looking after everyone else in her life. And damn that woman can light a fire!

Lisa's that person who is there for you before you know you need her. She's beautiful and I'm extremely lucky to have her in my life.

The weekend was a whirlwind of laughter, fun, exploring, kinship, and surprises.

We ate well, we drank well, and we shared ourselves. And cake, we shared a LOT of cake. ;-)

Thanks to Jan, Ken, The Kiddo, Lisa, Megan, Jocelyn, Adrian, Vanessa, Joni, Tamara, Jodie at Rock Road Tattoo (who is fabulous), Shelley, and all others that I had the opportunity to spend time with during my stay.

I hope to have the chance to repay all of you for your kindnesses. You will always have a tiny Easterner in your back pocket when you need her.

My trip to Winnipeg may have lasted only a few days, but the memories are on my heart forever. Cake, rye bread, scarves, Chucks, wine, chocolate for breakfast, Jan's award for "Best Actress in a Spider Roll", and lip gloss...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

That's No Coincidence

There was an interesting thread on the GDT today about running with a runny nose. A hilarious conversation ensued about what exactly you should or shouldn't do while running, so as not to be "gross". I'm sorry, but I don't really care much about what I do with my runny nose while I'm running, and I said so.

The experience I had during tonight's run was no coincidence.

It was hot here today, so I avoided running. I wasn't going to go at all, but that's just not in my character, so off I went after the heat had subsided a bit.

I figured I'd stick close to home for my run tonight, since I was just going to take it easy and didn't plan on going far. I somehow forget though that I live on a cliff, and hills abound. That's OK, I'm only taking my time anyway, right? Off I go.

I realize at about the half way point that I'm already completely exhausted (due to the heat and hills), and that I'm being swarmed by blackflies. That's OK, I'm over halfway and on my way home, right? Suuure. Until a blackfly flies into my mouth and down my throat. Immediately, I start gagging. I proceed to move to the side of the road where I gag and cough and hack while hunched over the ditch, with cars passing and watching me the whole time. So much for worrying about a runny nose.

I couldn't shake the idea and the feeling of the blackfly in my throat. I gagged and hacked a lot more when I got home. Nice.

Having said all that, do you think they should post signs like this on running trails?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's Just Around This Corner

Am I a runner?

I've realized recently that I've made a pretty dramatic switch in terms of my attitude towards running. For me, running used to be the way I could burn calories the fastest. Period. I might have looked forward to a run once in a blue moon, but those times were few and far between, and certainly weren't often enough to develop much of a love for running.

In May 2007, I was asked to run a 5K race with an acquaintance. I was extremely apprehensive, but reluctantly said that I would run with her. I didn't prepare, although I had no idea I could have prepared anymore than I had before the race. I wasn't ready, neither physically nor emotionally.

I don't want to blow this out of proportion. A 5K race isn't an insurmountable distance for a beginning runner, by any means. A 5K race is something that many random people off the street could run on a good day. It is funny though, how something so small can do so much damage.

Here I am, exactly three years later, still dealing with that 5K race. Isn't that funny?

About two months ago, I was asked by a friend of mine, a very good friend, if I were interested in racing another race. I jumped at the chance, partly because I needed incentive to get running more often and partly because I really wanted to catch the elusive running dragon. I wanted to "get" it. I wanted to do more than run a mindless 5K on the treadmill. I wanted to put that 5K demon behind me.

My 10K race is in less than two weeks now. I've really tried to prepare this time, the right way. I've been diligent and dedicated and anal and curious. I've been frustrated and sore and confused and anxious. Did I mention that I've been sore? Oh, and annoying. I've been annoying too. My apologies.

Will I finish this race? Absolutely. Will I meet my goal? I can't be sure.

Will I put that 5K demon behind me? I already have.

I can see the dragon's tail in the distance.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Last Full Week of Training for the Bluenose

Today marks the first training run of the last full week of training before the Bluenose.

This is how this week's training looks:

Today - 8K steady run
Wed - 8K tempo
Thurs - 5K steady
Fri - Off
Sat - 6K steady
Sun - 13K LSD

Of all of them, tonight's and tomorrow's tempo run make me the most nervous. 8K still seems like a pretty long run to me to run on a regular evening, although I know that's all in my head. As far as tomorrow's goes, it's another 8K and it's a tempo run, which I've never run before. That should be interesting.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ahhh Friday, My Old Friend

I don't say this often, but thank goodness it's finally Friday. Not that this week was particularly crappy or anything, but I'm just really happy to see the weekend.

I just wanted to say that I'm really proud of myself this week. I've put more kilometers on these little legs than I ever have in a week before - 33 kms to be exact. And the fact that I'm still alive is a total bonus. The calorie burn isn't too shabby either.

The 10K race is now just two weeks away. I realized early this week that I had been following a not-so-great training schedule from the Running Room to train for this race. Thank goodness Mousie put me on the straight and narrow (and long and hilly) path. I hope it's not too late to save this training effort or this race. I guess we'll see in a couple of weeks. Thanks Mousie.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The View from the Back Deck

video

My Running Freak Out

I hate having a run like that - I just HATE it!

I started out feeling fantastic, like really really good, and I thought, "this will be an easy run for sure, it'll take no time". Those thoughts soon turned to, "I can't do this, I can't run a 10K, I'm so slow, this is embarrassing". It just got worse from there.

So I know I can run 10K. Geez, I'll make it through somehow, it's only 10K. Will I be able to finish in a respectable time? I doubt it. This just makes me not want to run it at all. I'm just going to be embarrassed, and I just can't handle that.

As a matter of fact, nothing's going right right now. Nothing. I'm eating well, but not losing weight, so I'm carrying around at least an extra 10lbs for no good reason. I'm getting more and more frustrated about eating well and not losing.

I'm honest to goodness following a training program for a 10K and have been for weeks now, and I'm not getting any better. I'm a slow runner and I hate it.

This just isn't fair.