Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Running lessons: April showers bring May flowers (I hope)

Another long silence. This is becoming a habit. Sorry about that. I have a good excuse though. You see, we got more bad news a few weeks ago when Husband's father passed away.  "Pa", as everyone knew him, had been living with Alzheimer's for years so his passing was a blessing in some ways - though it was still desperately sad because he was so greatly loved by all who knew him.

Pa was larger than life. At well over six feet tall, he had a booming laugh and terrific sense of humour, and was unfailingly kind and generous towards others. He and Ma (pictured above on our wedding day almost 25 years ago) raised 9 children (including two they adopted) and provided guidance and encouragement to dozens of others. They genuinely savoured life - developing each property they owned, hosting friends and family for meals and parties, supporting church and community, and traveling as much as they could. They knew the value of hard work and the importance of rest and relaxation.

Husband was tasked with giving the eulogy at Pa's funeral last week. It was a wonderful tribute but my favourite passage was this one:

Pa was serious about his Christianity, not so much the rituals but the lessons for leading a caring and just life. [C.S.] told me that one time when they were talking about what was a fair amount to contribute to the poor, Pa said “it's not how much you give, but how much you keep”. 
To me that’s a challenging lesson to not just step up for those in need but also to face our greed. Ma and Pa shared for their whole lives, even in lean times, with their church and many charitable causes. 
I believe Pa will live on in the things he taught us: kindness, patience, acceptance of others, compassion and love.

I couldn't agree more. Having Pa as my father-in-law was a great gift. He offered the rarest kind of love - the unconditional kind. Even in recent months when he no longer remembered everyone who came to see him, Pa opened his arms and his heart to all he sensed were friends - expressing sincere gratitude for every bit of love and caring he received. It was a beautiful and extraordinary thing to see,

Needless to say, it's been another tough month as we come to grips with his passing and do our best to get back to our normal routines.

Fortunately, winter has moved on so we're (finally!) able to train more seriously. While we were in Ottawa for Pa's funeral, I invited my sister-in-law to join the Smokey Mountain Daredevils for the Cabot Trail Relay - an invitation she enthusiastically accepted - so the two of us are now officially signed up. I'm looking forward to spending the weekend with her in beautiful Cape Breton at the end of May. It feels good to have another training goal.

I've agreed to run leg 14 which is relatively flat and 19 kms long. It's been awhile since I've run that distance so I've got my work cut out for me. After months of slogging through snow and ice, my pace isn't where it needs to be to "make the mat" so I'll be doing plenty of hills and speed workouts in the coming month. Here's hoping experience and enthusiasm count for something come race day.

If all goes well at Cabot Trail, my next race will be the Nova Scotia Marathon in July, which means I'll be doing some lovely long runs along South Shore roads through May and June. I won't set a time goal for NSN. I'll just run it "to finish" in hopes I can complete another marathon at a faster pace in the fall.

In other news, I'm still reading a fair bit, though I haven't managed to add another title to the list posted on this blog lately. The trouble is I haven't finished anything, though I'm half way or more through reading each of the following:
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
  • The Beat Goes On by Ian Rankin
  • The Virgin Cure by Ami MacKay
  • Island: The Complete Stories by Alistair MacLeod
  • What I Learned About Politics: Inside the Rise - and Collapse - of Nova Scotia’s NDP Government by Graham Steele
In addition, I've read the first hundred pages of James Robertson's And the Land Lay Still. What I need is two weeks on a beach without distractions to get through them all but, alas, there's no such holiday in my immediate future.

Unfortunately, I haven't had much time to pursue other hobbies lately. I managed to paint for a couple of hours one day a few weeks ago and occasionally pick up my camera, but mostly I've been too busy with other stuff. I went on a short photo walk last week during which I took this shot, which I thought was kind of fun.

Husband and I decided to put our country house on the market this spring so there's been heaps to do to get it ready, including finishing the half bath he built in under the stairway. What a clever fellow!

That's it for now. I'll do my best to post more regularly on running topics now that I'm back in serious training mode. Until then, happy running and writing, friends!

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