Monday, January 23, 2012

A long slow run in monochrome

My long slow run this past weekend was along my usual route so I didn't expect to take many photos.  After all, beautiful as it is, how many pictures do I need of Peace Park? 

I couldn't have been more wrong. Upon leaving the house, I was almost immediately struck by this view upriver towards town.  The grey skies and dim light made it appear virtually colourless. How was that possible?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Because we are runners

Today, I came across this wonderful post entitled "Because we are runners" which says exactly what I feel about running. 

The timing couldn't have been better. I skipped a planned 8k run last evening because - for the first time in a long time - I didn't want to go running

I was horrified.

Running is my solace, my joy, my motivator, my obsession.  How could I feel I didn't want to run - even for a few hours?  What if I never wanted to run again? What if the three or four pounds I've gained since the New Year are the beginning of a long slide into couch-potato-dom? 

Clearly, I need an attitude adjustment. I need a run. Tonight, if I can manage it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Running lessons: Be prepared

Back in the day, I was a girl guide. (Yeah, I know. No big surprise there.)  For those who aren't familiar with Girl Guides, their motto is "be prepared".  It's a motto many distance runners adopt as well.  Unfortunately, I wasn't as prepared as I should have been when I set out for my long run on Sunday.

To start with, I'd been lulled into complacency by the mild weather we've been having lately and forgot to pack the gaiter and warm mitts I needed to run comfortably in temperatures that dipped to -19 degrees.  Running up river, the wind was so cold it brought tears to my eyes before freezing them to my lashes, and made my fingers ache.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sky Painting 5

It's been awhile since I posted a "sky painting" - mostly because we've had so much grey, drizzly weather lately. Fortunately, the skies began to clear late this afternoon.

I'm looking forward to running 18kms in cold, clear sunshine tomorrow - but I still savoured the sky's grey, pink and mauve hues as dusk approached tonight.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Another awesome thing

"Her Majesty"
I love the idea of keeping a list of "awesome things" upon which to reflect when life feels tough. 

My own list mostly includes pretty mundane items:
  • drinking caffe latte with Husband on Saturday mornings
  • Her Majesty curled contentedly on my chest, purring
  • that moment in shavasana when my mind and body completely relax
  • the expression on my niece's face when she wins a game of dominos
  • the achey satisfaction I feel at the end of a long, slow run. 
However, this week I experienced a bigger-than-usual awesome thing - a moment when I suddenly realized I'd stopped worrying about something that had been on my mind for awhile.

It felt amazing. Like the emotional and psychological equivalent of a fever breaking. Or like stepping outside on a warm spring morning, taking a deep breath and knowing - right down to my bones - that summer is just around the corner. 

I wish I understood how and why this bit of awesomeness happened. Perhaps, my subconscious finally got around to accepting what my conscious mind already knew. Or, perhaps, as they say, time heals all. Whatever the explanation, I'm grateful.

So - what about you? Have you ever experienced a similar kind of awesome?  When and how did it happen?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Vanity sizing? I don't think so

I try not to use this blog to rant but I just left my local Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) and am feeling the need to vent.

I hadn't been in the store for awhile so was thrilled to see it was finally stocking clothes in "my" size. Sadly, my hopes were dashed after only a few minutes in the fitting room. One of the six pairs of trousers I'd selected to try on was anything like my size. The rest were at least two sizes too large!

I suppose I can understand why other stores adjust their sizing to fit the ever-expanding waistlines of average North Americans. But MEC? Surely, its customer base is mostly made up of fit, active people who have little need for "vanity-sized" clothing.

I hate that term, by the way - "vanity-sized". There's nothing about baggy, over-sized clothing that makes me feel better about myself - only frustrated and irritated that I wasted time trying it on in the first place.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chi Running, Part 4: How to achieve a goal without setting one

This weekend I spent a lot of time pondering my big running goal for 2012 and whether it's possible to pursue it while still honouring my New Year's resolutions.

The goal is to run my first ultramarathon - a 50km event in Niagara in June - as another way of marking my 50th birthday.

The trouble is that the couple of training programs I managed to find on-line both involve a lot more training than I've ever done in preparation for a marathon. That might not be a problem any other year but, given all Husband and I have planned for 2012, the idea of spending four or five months in heavy duty training mode is daunting to say the least.  At the peak of training, I'd be running 86kms per week, including two long runs totalling 59kms on weekends.

Fortunately, I read two things today that provided a little guidance on how I might approach the project.

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Year's Resolutions in Celebration!

I've been pondering this post for a few weeks in an effort to whittle down a long list of potential resolutions into a short list I can actually remember.

My new friend, Janet (who writes a terrific blog about writing and other stuff) has selected a single word to represent her aspirations for 2012 - "focus". I thought it was an excellent choice - so excellent I considered selecting the same word until I came up with another I thought would be even better for me - Celebration!

2012 is going to be a big year of celebrations for Husband and me. We're both facing milestone birthdays (don't you just love euphemisms?), he's retiring, and we'll soon be marking the 25th anniversary of our first date. Since we plan use those occasions as excuses for a variety of parties and trips, "celebration" seems a fitting word to describe what much of the next year will be about.

But the word has a another significance for me too. If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you may have noticed the past year has had its challenges. In fact, parts of it were downright nasty. Now that I'm finally climbing out of the murky slough in which I found myself (once and for all, I hope), I realize just how lucky I was to have so many close friends and family who helped me through it. So 2012 will also be about celebrating the people who loved, supported and inspired me in 2011 - not to mention, all the important stuff I learned along the way.

Now, about that list of resolutions ... here are my top 3:
  1. Love more - by which I mean, take better care of the people I love, and be more compassionate, generous and forgiving generally.
  2. Take better care of myself - for starters, by being more compassionate towards myself, putting on a little weight, getting more rest, and having more fun.
  3. Be more productive - which, amongst other things, means spending more time in the "real" world and less time in the "virtual" one so that I can focus (there's the word again) on the things that matter most.
What about you?  What are your resolutions for 2012?

A perfect mid-winter night's run

(For Janet)

It was mild tonight with snow falling gently from a moonlit sky.

It felt good running through the still whiteness,
ice crunching underfoot,
fat snowflakes begging to be tasted,
abstracts forming on the surface of the pond,
cold, clear air filling every part of me.

How could I not run on a night such as this?