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Saturday, August 27, 2011

When you are ready...

I have to tell the tale of day 238 and how this all came to be... I have to spin the web of glorious everyday nothingness and see if I can pinpoint when it happened.  I've been a runner for officially three years this week. I've never in my life been in this place.  Right here, where I sit.. I feel ready, very nearly comfortable in my own skin and in the flow of some very sweet karma. Being comfortable in my own skin is the biggest accomplishment to date.  I share a delicate love hate relationship with food and all things self imposing.  However I've been winning this fight for a while.  Lately... I haven't even noticed it around.  I figure that counts beyond words, beyond all memories made and moments you'd like to forget forever.  I feel ready for what's coming.  Sprint tri (my first) a week from tomorrow.  And here I am... prepared in body and mind.  Here I stand being brave in the balance of an upcoming taper.  Here I stand tall when no one was looking.  Here I stand tall for me.  Here I stand.... ready.

750m open water tethered swim, 20km tandem fixed gear bike on hills we've never climbed, 5km tethered run.... I've only run tethered for 700m. 

I feel like throwing my hands up in the air and singing outloud highly off key... embracing this chaos of my life and riding the waves with nothing but my wetsuit on.  I feel like this time for me.  This time for me.

Day 238 was the day.  The magic started a few days before while running hills with extra weight trying to confuse myself into believing me capable.  That moment when you forget you are carrying anything.... That moment when you reach the top and know you did this... one step at a time.  I knew the flood gates were open.  Day 238 was my longest run. 26km guided trail run.  I haven't run that far in over 7 months.  Didn't know what to think but entered that run with an open heart and a spirit to find out what was possible. 

My guide and I moved through those kms like they were candy; each more sweet than the last.  Above is our turn around point.  We saw the sunrise on that trail and I saw hope right there in front of me.  Every possible barrier to my success in life stepped aside to grant me a glimpse of hope.  Hope is beautiful, hope is wholesome, hope is calmness and energy tangled together, hope is better than any words I could write to its credit.

Post run, no queasiness, no fear, no lingering soreness... In fact we went to the YMCA in town and attended our favourite class... "Simply strength" Every time I go to this class I feel like I've found a bit more of me lost in the droplets of sweat.  Our instructor knows I am a runner, however I did not inform him before just how far I'd gone.  Whether he could see my fatigue during class or not I'm not sure.  Just my luck we were working legs during this class.  After class I did tell him and managed to snap a picture of this wonderful trainer.... Wesley ... Cheers to you!

Everyone should have someone who kicks their butt once in a while....

After the class and the run... I have to say I just knew.  This is it.  I will be able to run a full marathon in Novemeber.  Sometimes the hope is in the knowing.  Sometimes hope is in the believing anyways... sometimes the hope is in your blood and you can't deny it.  You can't deny it or your future.

So here we are day 239 and I've biked 20km, swam 1500m, run a superfast (for me) treadmill km... and have no pain to report.  No doubts and no pains.  Chaffing and blisters aside my only complaint is that the world need to spin a little slower for me to enjoy ... for me to savour every last second ... of these 365 days.

day 239 of 365 days of running current total 1274.28km

Monday, August 22, 2011

This me

This me, woke up this morning and decided that today would be all I made it out to be.  This me, danced in the rain on the 7th km of a 23km run yesterday.  This me made tea today and sat down and had a nearly life changing conversation with myself about the power that potential holds.  This me, crumbled in the corner... will not give up. This me, can make that fixed geared bike go up that mountain tomorrow.  This me, will swim fearlessly in that water hiding my future so brightly on the sunrise.  This me, stuck in the memory of failure, will not give in.  This me, will move with the beat of my own drum, will sing out loud when people are listening, will not look back (kinda pointless anyway right?).   This me, will be in your face until you show me the right direction, or at least get the heck out of the way!  This me, in these unattractive stained running shoes, will not care what you think. This me, is terrified. This me, will run those miles, will make a memory worth keeping.  This me, .... There was a point..... This me... This me... Is racing again in 13 days.  And needed to vent.

This me, will make this a race you wish you'd seen.  This me, will make this me proud.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Claiming ownership of titles.... I am a runner.

Footsteps in the sand, bring me to face hope disadvantaged in its disguise as fear....
Footsteps in the dirt, spin time and focus disregard into the treeline quite near...
Shuffling feet on that trail so well travelled.....
     Disturbed mudpuddles keep me distantly unravelled....
Hear my feet, here my feet, lose them in timeless moments of being me here and now.

Drops of sweat on my sleeve, rendering effort spent countlessly caring not....
Drops of sweat on my cheeks, eloquently masking for all that I've fought....
Undone laces on that trail so often spanned....
     Ever altered landscape casting disillusion on the preplanned...
Hear my feet, here my feet, find them in endless moments of quiet chaos on the road.

I am a runner. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cobourg Try a Tri 2011 - A blind girls tale....

Memoirs of triathlon virginity lost...

Restlessness.  It fills the morning fog with chaos and excitement.  Tension building in the coffee pot quietly perking in the dark.  A quiver on my lips before you notice.  A momentary relentless need to scream as the alarm finally signals the allowance of sunrise.  Creeping in through the curtain like a soft toxin taking over.

Breathe in.  For goodness sake.... breathe out.

Accomplishments in the small things.  Five people in the car by 6am.  Breakfast turning in my tummy  Bags packed and unpacked a dozen times.  All things forgotten.  Remember your courage.

The course, the registration table, the parking, the kids transferred to friends, the transition set up... all a blur.  A winding twirling maddening blur of movement and noise.  Sunglasses begging to cover and protect my eyes... I was trying to transition with the sunrise.  Trying not to panic at the moment of big bright lights when they came off.  It was working.  It was maddening.  Every second brighter.  Every second busier.  Every second loss of vision. 

Breathe in.... And out. Almost there.

Met the course director.  A very nice guy, well seasoned in the rough water and cold weather.  Wet suits mandatory.  Good.  I didn't bring it to look funny.  At least this way I'll fit in.

PA greetings and instructions.  Comments on the bike.  Notification that we are on the course.  Oh good... if I lose my guide someone's likely to point me to the finish line now.

Down to the water, forgot the tether. I'll stand here looking silly.  You run guide run.... My husband.  Bless him... My fear all bottled up in a knot knowing he is here.  I am not alone.  Except, I realise, I am alone... currently on a crowded beach... with noise and no glasses.  And no guide. 

Breathe in ... And out.... I hear my kids. No one else makes that much noise. 

Get wet they say... they chant it like seagulls in a disney movie.  I'm listening... get wet.  SWEET  JESUS water should not be that cold.  I'm not a penguin.  My feet have disappeared.  But we are late and ushered back to shore before it can seep past my senses and into the realm of reality.  I must be dreaming.  That water is impossible.  God's idea of a joke.  I see him sitting there looking down thinking... You crazy fool... Do you not have limits?

We are in the second wave.  Yellow caps everywhere.  There's a guy in a yellow wet suit.  All quite humorous to me.... yellow is invisible.  It's a nothingness. As if in a void... we all have no heads.  but there is no skyline there either... just.... nothingness.  now is not the time for giggling... The air gun is not working...

Breathe .... in and out... your future is calling out in that nothingness.

I imagine myself swimming without a head.  And we are running.  Brave and free... strong and tall.  And all completely headless. Then it hits me.

My hands are numb.  My feet are gone.. ice everywhere.  Sharp stinging needles from my calves up.  This is not swimming... This is not racing, I am not moving.  I am frozen in space and time.  My hearing fades.  The waves and the wind and the calm that spins me away. 

Swirling and sweeping in and out of focus.  I see the sun like a brilliant beam of brightness spilling into the water.  My only landmark.  I hear my guide saying reassuring things.  How can you talk I think.  I can't think. My hand brushes a swimmer in all the wrong places.... I take a minute and breathe... into the wave.  cough cough sputter... My guide is on the other side.  Not my husband that I just brushed so delicately in the water.  Apologies unspoken.  Keep swimming headless penguin. You will live to be grabbed another day.

Breathe girl breathe.... in and out.  Fear doesn't live when you are surviving. 

Faster strokes.  End up under my guide.  Oops.... On track.  Standing up now... running now... I hear my kids.  No one makes that much noise.  Run, zipper, run... I've never been so happy to see my glasses again.  Vision rushes back like a gracious gift from the heavens as if to say, you have passed - bike if you can.

"Doris" Leans there beautiful in wait.  My streamers flashing in the sun.  All the fog gone now.  I'm so happy to see her.  Wet suit off. My shorts dripping.  We are running.  People are smiling at our Doris.  She is sweet.  She is innocent. She is about to be set free.  She is about to prove her worth.  She is squeaking like the dirty old hag she is.  That is her promise.  She is not perfect.  That's okay - neither am I.

Breathing without help now. Blood and feeling in my hands and feet.  Slowly but it's coming.

We are on the bike pedalling.  Good old Doris, makes a handful of passes, up the hills, down the hills.  10km of bliss on her.  I can't help it. I'm singing out loud.  I never sing out loud.  Here I am, a glimpse of a hope of a future I didn't intend.  Crying and smiling and singing. All with the most important man I know.

Two people shout "that's cheating" I answer didn't you see me standing up?  I think if this is cheating It's cheating death.  It's cheating misery.  It's cheating sedentarianism.  This, my friend, is all things possible in the breath of a blind girl blessed to be alive. 

Back into transition... I hear my kids... No one is that loud.

And we are running.  Good-bye beautiful Doris, leaning there on the fence.  She stands tall, proud and tired. She will not likely race again.

Feet don't fail me now.  Come on it's only day 226.  2.5km is nothing.  Lets go.  Guide sets a 6min/km pace.  My sprint.  We slow.  We run. I'm still smiling.

Friends on the side of the road.  Waving shouting also smiling.  So at peace in this part.  Running.  This is me.  The me I have come to know.  It's not fancy, It's not fast, glamorous or perfect.  It's just me.  Feet kissing the earth singing every step... Accept this me.  Love this me.  I am this me.

I hear my kids, almost there.... no one is that loud.

Faster than the fading of the memory of the cold water the race is done.  It's over. I am standing still again.  already counting days until the next time.  Thanking Doris, my husband, my family, my friends. 

Sinking into my impatience..... This race pushed me when all I wished  was to be pushed.  Yes I will tri again.  I wonder if there is more of me in those waters?  Where do you find the little pieces of yourself? I found many that night in the grains of sand in my bed.  The beach saying thanks for coming. 

The race people gave us some hardware.  That's exciting.  Another little piece of me.  Created into memory.

Day 227 or 365 days of running - current total 1186.76km

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The end of the beginning

There's a moment when you know you can't stop, you know that somehow you've built up so much energy that inertia alone will carry you through the next terrifying moments of chaos. 

When you are standing there, staring tentatively downhill at the obstacle before you knowing that the skiis are strapped on, the parachute is ready, the lights about to turn green and pink slips are on the line.... when you are quivering in your core at the thought of the next five seconds.....

Inevitably that's when you'll worry if you've tied your shoes.

Gates are open! Tapers done!  Everyone says things like "we knew you could"  "we never doubted" and you imagine having for an instant that kind of commitment to belief.....

And if you knew, Why the heck did God keep it from me?

Four sleeps until race day.  Four sleeps until waking up and not crying in front of the kids in fear of leaving my glasses on the beach.  Four sleeps, three runs and ten million cups of tea.  But you believed and that means something.  I never did.  I was just trying to prove you wrong. 

Four sleeps, one squeaky bike, a near hole in my wetsuit and the tremble in my tummy that shifts my hunger out of reality.  Four sleeps and ten millions thoughts of what could go wrong.  Four sleeps, three runs and one more strength class .... Taper does not live here.  But you believed and that counts against it all.  I never did.  I hoped, I thought maybe... I think now wouldn't it be nice....

Memories of sweat, thoughts of the space between running up half the hill and making all the way up over weeks of time.  Growth and strength lost to me.  It's hard to watch the baby grow in your arms.  It's hard to drink from the cup of life with a hole in your straw.

.... time to let go and trust.  Time enough for this.  Time enough for me. 

But none of it possible without you believing and supporting - thank you all for that.