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Monday, September 26, 2011

Sweet Silence

All things stand still in the quiet, in the hush, in those moments of harsh truth when words too much to hear were heard. 
All but the clocks ticking in a thunderous rhythm upon the wall, counting down, relentlessly pushing forward.
That flag I carry in longing, in wait, forever searching for the infamous perfect place to strike it into the ground, as if to claim space... it rests still on my shoulder.
As if to claim space that was never mine to have.

Figuratively speaking, I feel my feet on the ground.  I certainly felt them yesterday at 34.5km into  my 36km run when the worst foot cramp I've ever had filled me with intense reality.
Unbeknownst to me, in the quiet, in the focus, in the momentary hunt for glory... someone else's discovery takes the place of my feet on the ground. 
As if to brush that ownership of life deep under the rug, where it falls grain by grain through the floorboards, forever forgotten.
In silence.

Distantly I hear the voices of support, striking a cord I continue to ignore. 
They call to me in a whisper, but that's more likely because I'm not listening, they could be shouting for all I know.
Too long in solitude, too far gone to stubbornness, too quiet in my shoes, standing tall and hypocritical of hope.
I am lost in this world, this current chaos, this cosmic interlude of hurt and anger.

Such reasons to celebrate, such focus as to forget, such time as to be still. 
Such reasons to weep, such loss as to remember, such time as to quicken my pace.
Each day a new pot of coffee, each day a new sunrise, each day a glisten of hope I do not embrace, each day a new day. 

And this day, day 269... taking stock of all I have seen this year; hope, faith, kindness, fear, abandon, goals, smiles, tears, hurt, anger, pain.... taking stock of all I have run through; chicken pox, board exams, races, sleepless nights, flooded basements, near bear experiences, a change of pace, the end of a marriage, the beginning of change.... taking stock of all I foresee; yet more hope, yet more faith, countless prayers, yet more fear, the overcoming of that fear, more goals to accomplish, and still much hurt to travel through. 

Mostly... I see 96 more runs.  Runs in the rain, in the sun, on the road, on the track, the hill, the trail.  Runs close to home, runs to the finish line, runs with new friends, with old friends, guided, solo.  Runs for focus, for guidance, for peace.  Runs for abandon, for joy, for the seeking of all goodness and calm.  Runs in the dark when no one is looking.  Runs when I least expect them.  Runs planned.  Runs in my new pink shoes.  Runs along the path of this life, so carelessly lived .... up til now.

Day 269 of 365 days of running current total - 1468.28km

begs the question, how many steps does a lifetime take?

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Running Poem...

.... as read Wednesday night at The Spill WORD UP poerty reading

Before the run...


In the quiet hushed moments of slumber before stupid o'clock rings on the alarm... I feel myself start to stir.

As if my soul knows it is about to tangle itself around the dirt in my shoes.
As if my third eye foresees the hill I've set out to run 5, 6, 7 + times soon.
As if acceptance isn't far behind and all of my being is saying.... “yes please”...


In the dark gentle miiliseconds of lost sleep after the shock of stupid o'clock.... I give myself hope.

It seeps into my bones like a caffeine drip, pushing my every go button.
It creeps through my veins like an inoculation against all things negative.
It crawls across my skin like the taste of forever on your lips.


In the anticipatory pause filled with steaming tea sipped by indiglo microwave numbers... I lose all fear.

It drips away from my neediness like honey on a spoon, slow and steady, making my hands sticky as it passes consciousness.
It oozes past my peripheral senses like neglected boogies on my sons cheek, reminding me of all I've forgotten.
It lingers briefly just past my reach as if tempting me one last time to re-embrace it with welcoming arms.


In the climatic seconds searching for my shoe in blackness, tripping over black kittens on the black rug.... I let myself laugh.


The giggle ripples through my nose faster than I can stiffle it down, threathening to rouse the sleeping house.
The giggle rushes to the surface of my happy, otherwise so carefully collected, or at least collecting dust.
The giggle bubbles out of the tears I'd let fall if I'd just remembered to pack a tissue or two for this morning's journey.


In the peaking heartbeat drama as I open the door greeting stupid o'clock with my run... I allow myself peace.

Peace of mind that I made this happen, this piece of me, running free in the dark... intangable and incoherent in headlamp and spandex.
Peace of freedom in that drop of sweat that just fell, christening the earth that blesses me with both space and time, so sweet as to give me wings.
Peace of heaven that fell from the sky, perhaps restarting the beat of these blind girl runner feet.


And in every moment before the run...another reason for the next footfall.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lessons I learned on day 261

Dawn? no ... twilight? perhaps... Dark and quiet. Ponderous and still.  Laying in the dark staring at the ceiling awaiting my alarm.  Stupid o'clock calls again. I feel it in my bones, like an unrelenting itching that needs to be scratched.  Patience, breathing, waiting, ... not my talent.  This day, my day ... can't wait to devour it.  No apologies there.  This run, my run.... my second chance at this distance. Last week 29km 3:22:19.  I have nothing to prove, and yet.... every day I have surprised myself.  Every day I have proved myself wrong. So why not?

Not to be out done by time, my captor so complete, I turn off the pending alarm before it can ring.  There is tea to drink, steaming in the dark, offering its warmth against the fear of night.  There is oatmeal to eat, caressing all the emptiness inside craving attention.  There is.... Oh hell I just had to pee ok?  So up... I'm up.. And getting ready... 5degrees celsius... my coldest run.  Long sleeves.  Winter running gear is not sexy.  Oh well, I'm only impressing the lamp posts and mailboxes at this hour anyway. 

A text, my guide is sick.  That is problematic.  On two levels, as she is a dear dear friend and I want to pause the world and go take care of her, and ... uh... 29km is a tad scary.  Tea to drink, fear isn't welcome here.  I'm stubborn but not stupid and take the suggestion to wait an hour.  So as not to fight off bears on the trail in the dark. After all, with no guide to feed them I'm screwed... All current 112lbs of me... This training takes more time to eat for than run for I swear.  Just cover me in apple sauce and call me bear bait....

I try to sleep again.  Dam patience.  Not sleeping.  Not moving.  I decide to run the run in my head.  Round that corner, through those poles I know mark the trail, but I can't see, stop wait listen to cross that road... No fear allowed.  Dam patience. 

Alarm goes off.  I must have drifted off.  Just past stupid o'clock now.  And I'm gone.  Hoping for 10km as my knee is not happy all the sudden.  Packed for 29km though.  Stubborn.  Too used to making things happen for myself.  Too used to pushing the limit. 

Garmin free today as I will be getting used to that.  Unless it starts raining garmins.  But I know my route, know my markers, know my pot holes too.

Out into the world, sexy headlamp on and going.  New shoes too, which I'm told are pink.  This new me... Colourful. Who knew?

I think if 10km why not 13km?  That works with my original route.  Then I can decide.  I get to the point of making decisions.  I can't say no.  I'm not dead, I'm not dying.  I'm running.  This me... always running.  Onwards and forwards. 

It occurs to me I wanted this.  It occurs to me I'm going to have to say no to myself some day.  That day will be the worst day of my life I think. Stubborn.  Aggressive.  It's not today.  Keep going.

Headlamp off. Transition.  Right here in these few moments before sun.... this is when I can see.  Truly see.  God's gift to me in these 20mins.  I'm so thankful to be out in them.  I see the rabbit cross the path, not just movement up ahead.  I see the dew on the trees, the mist on the stream, not just feel them in the air.  I think... oh crap... I think... I'd see the bear too.... Run girl run..

Ok first road... it's crazy early not much of a wait.  By the end of this run I will have spent 9:14min waiting to cross roads.  What a waste of time. Get out of your cars, embrace the breath in the air.  You know not what you are missing.  It's vibrant out here.  It's karmic out here... Oh hell, at least let me cross.....?

The leaves on the ground remind me that time waits for no one.  Again stuck in that.  I love the idea of being here in this moment... Somewhere someday there is a high backed low chair waiting for me on the end of a dock.  Somewhere someday there is stillness and contentment.  Somewhere someday there is just me... and perhaps the mosquitoes.  My uninvited guests.

There is still no one to share this trail, 16km in and not a soul.  This sunrise masks itself in my selfish embrace.  This bridge, forever laying in wait, seems present just for me... Specifically just to let go.  There is no one here to watch me cry or hear my tedious sobs.  This space, seems just.... in the right place.

Turning around is the hardest part of my long runs. Parts of me I don't understand scream no! KEEP GOING! Crevasses I haven't visited in my soul beg for continuance.  Yet I can't seem to cross this bridge. It's the place I'm stuck, forged against the sky as much as in my better judgement.  Last deep breath and a long sigh.  Even if there is nothing else.... There is always me.  That seems to bring comfort. Back home I head.

Pink shoes, serving me well.  Jumped all the horse dung along the trail on the journey out. The memory of a blind girl, so distracted by life in its current state isn't as good as it should be... was that big pile at 18km or 22km?  Left or right?  Thankfully running into the wind.  And my shoes are still just pink.  There was some fancy foot work though.  Why is there always crap along the path of a magical quest?

I reach this place, this place where I feel a push from behind.  I can't pick up speed at 26km in a 29km run?  Who does that? I'm not a fast runner, I'm not a strong runner.  I'm a currently unguided solo blind runner on a trail that in the last 3km has become quite busy.  Undeniable push.  Unrequested shove.  Unrelenting urge ...just to see (not see but find out)... could I go faster?

At 27km I pass a guy running with his dog.  The dog has a stick in his mouth.  Easily 5 - 6 feet long.  The guy doesn't care.  The dog.... happy to bring a piece of happiness along for the ride.  Tells me no journey is worth taking alone.  Bring happiness with you everywhere, with disdain for judgement on that.  Smiles weigh nothing.  Pack them.

At 28km I pass over a line drawn in the dirt.  I look again... I says FINISH just below it.  This makes me laugh out loud.  I've run someone else's trail.  I've run someone else's mile.  You may be done gentle soul... But there is still another km to go for me. With every fiber of my being.... I AM NOT FINISHED YET.....

Lived to run another day.  Lived to live another day.  Lived to smile another day... in this my skin. 

Today's run 29km solo trail run 3:14:46 ... Surprised myself again.

Day 261 of 365 days of running current total 1405.38km...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A day in the life....

Day 250... My first day home with the kids since school started.  Their second day back.  My littlest monsters meet the teacher day... my day.. a short story.

3:28am - monkey 3 gets up and goes tot he bathroom.  Typical.  Convince him to go back to bed with promises of his classroom and cake.  After all it is day 250.

4:15am - alarm sounds.  Stupid o'clock.  Tea in the dark? no stamina... water and half a banana.  Loaded my running bag with 2 sand bags.. 5 extra pounds.  wish to goodness it would hold more, but then the water would have to be removed.  Balance, all things in balance.

4:55am - exit the house (later to learn the door awakened monkey 3 who then persisted that it was morning.  Typical) Got my super sexy headlamp on and headed in the abyss of potential violence and construction.  To be honest I'm realy only afraid of garbage day. Blind girls nemesis... unforeseen obsticals.

5:01am.  I see a bobbing light ahead... Must be a twin headlamp. Guide is still not well.  I hear here long before I see her.  Hills will be interesting for her.  And we are off to find an conquer 7 mountain ridges.  Ok in truth the darkness expands the city hills.  We made it through.  I still love that part when you realize you have forgotten you're carrying extra weight.  Freeing and character building.  Helps me focus.

5:45am - return home find monkey 3 up and wondering in the dark.  Convince him to hit the hey for 15 much needed minutes. Lights on now and the Avery house is up.  And cue chaos...

6:00am ... coffee?  Lunch making, bag prep.  Me sitting still.  Rare.

6:30am monkeys 1 and 2 hit the floor... more like are sleepily shuffling towards the bathroom... which they then realize they are both headed to and take flight to a sprint.  Battles ensue and time stands still.

7:15am - monkey 1 makes some off hand comment that her desk is beside 'the boy'.. my heart skips a beat.  I ask Is this the year of the boys? she blushes.  My heart nearly stops.  I laugh.  Part of this journey.  I may not be ready.  That doesn't seem to matter.

8:10am - monkeys 1 and 2 head off to school, monkey 3 is combing his hair for his teacher meeting.  He's been doing this for an hour. It's still sticking up. Typical.

9:00am - we are at the school and monkey 3 can hardly contain his excitement through national anthems and prayers. I can see the pitter patter in his eyes.  It's screaming set me free.  Let me be.  I wanna.

9:05am - sitting in the classroom.  I feel like a giant.  Miniature objects ... Plays with the blind girls mind.  Depth perception be gone.

9:15am - my turn to talk.  Yes my child is wonderful.  yes he is smart.  NO he can't sit still.  Yes he will drive you crazy but you will smile every second.  That's his job.  That's his passion.  Laughter.  It's what his name means, youthful laughter. And then news of bad news to come.  Yes we are in transition.  Yes this will be difficult. No this is not the way I wanted things to go.  Yes we will work together.  I'm feeling like I'm starting to shrink.

9:45am - walmart. Monkey 3 needs a waterbottle.  ends up getting a cars thermos and sandwich containers.  Monkey three. walking like a big boy.  Seeing over the counter. Breaking my heart.  Making me smile. Testing me every second. 

10:00am - ymca.  Monkey 3 into a craft drop in.  Time for a swim.  Blind girl can't see the clock in the water.  I hate not knowing when I need to be done.  Swim faster swim faster... choke choke sputter.  1500m done 42 mins. This day was suppose to have a bike in it too. Oh well.

11;)2am - pick up excited monkey 3 who is so proud of crafts and telling the story of them a mile a minute.  I keep thinking who needs tv when you have this wonderful bee in your ear?

12:00pm - nap refusal.  Typical.  News of my mother coming down with cake.  After all it is day 250.

2:30pm - mother drops in with muffins.  celebrations ensue.  Talk of things to come.  Comfort there?  Not sure.  Can't change the snow ball once it starts. Just watching it roll.  Praying every turn.

3:55pm - monkey 1 and 2 reappear.  Bags and hats and paper I can't read.  News and yard tales. OH the noise noise noise... I smile.  I laugh..  I think is there any other way?  I've lost my floor.  Snacks, muffins of course after all it is day 250!

4:30pm - dinner is cooking.  Realising as it does I forgot to eat lunch.  This isn't good.  Sunday is 29km ... I add more pasta to the pot.  Take care of me to take care of them. Little steps.  Balance focus.  Smile.

4:55pm - that moment when you have the last chance to save dinner from overflowing or burning or whatever.  Running times times with monkey 2.  Trying to stump him.  Impossible.  Nothing will stop this child. He will save the world.  I'm given homework from monkey 1 (for me to do)... in a million words or less describe your child.  Ok I can do that. Dinner.. Balance.  Monkey 3 wanting ... wanting.... me? let it boil over.  Smile laugh live.

5:04pm - sad dinner on table. happy kids in the chairs. Monkey 3 protesting.  Typical.  Monkey 1 bought out a health pamphlet on changes in puberty.  Should I throw this out? it's from last year.  I looked at her and said... are you done changing? Where is your desk again?  she blushes... MOM!!!!... oh no... boobs, boys, and pads oh my!... she flees the room in giggles.  I notice she keeps the flyer.  Smile again.  She knows we can talk.  Hope she holds that thought through the I hate mom phase I know is coming. I feel it like the blister I'm going to get sunday.  Sunday... long run... eat more.

6:00pm - table cleared, kids reading... time to ... what? sit and enjoy the air.  Laugh at the monkey 2's jokes of the day. listen to stories of other kids not washing their hands post bathroom trips at school.  say silent prays mine do.  Hand out vitamin c just in case.  Laugh some more. This is life.  Laugh some more

7:00pm - monkey 3's lack of nap has caught up.  The entire neighbourhood knows it.  Breathing and helping.  distracting and moving through the last moments before bedtime routine.  Song comes on the radio ... monkey 2 says how can jesus put you on hold? monkey 1 replies sometimes you have to wait for your prayers to be answered.  My heart ... my heart... the things they know.  The things I need to learn.  The things I'm so afraid of. 

7:19pm - monkey 3 finds a spot on the floor and starts to snooze.  I've turned my head..  two minutes too long.  tickle fights ensue typical... smile chaos... would be find but he has gas from too much raw veggies  and is farting from the laughing... we are dying... we are all laughing.. I am crying.. They don't know.  Smile...smile girl.  One day at a time.  One lesson at a time. 

My heart stands still waiting for whats to come.  Waiting and hoping I know what I'm doing.

7:45pm - monkey kisses... monkey 1 reluctantly gives kisses but we follow tradition and make ewwww gross faces after.. He's not a kisser.. I tell him wait for it.  It will come.  Some day you'll find that person. That one that makes your world stop spinning.  Then things will change.  Smile... time stands still for no one.  Not even a hopeful thankful blind mother of three....

good night my babies, good night my monkeys... sleep sleep I will miss this you tomorrow... sleep sleep grow and learn.  Sleep sleep you are my heros....sleep sleep I love you.

day 250... a day in the life of... this life

Monday, September 5, 2011

Clarity and prayers...My sprint tri

Miltons Womens Only Tri



Day 247 of 365 days of running;

12:49 am checked clock... nope not yet time....
1:53 am checked clock.... damn time.....
2:36 am checked clock..... tell the butterflies to stop dancing in my tummy...
3:45 am alarm rings.... holy mother of god.... must have been asleep?

A Sprint triathlon... I'm insane. My bike has no gears. That hill is 6km long.

Boil the kettle. Drink the tea. '750meters 30mins... transition one 5 min....'
Drink the dam tea.

4:30 am staring out the window in the quiet, in the dark waiting for my guide.... '20km bike ...1.5 hrs... those hills'.

4:35 am in the van with guide Shannon and Doris (tandem) ... 'Transition two 3 mins....'

6:25 am at the parking.... unloading Doris... careful careful watch the bell.  '5km run... 40mins....'

7:00 am registration desk... smiling talking happy. Setting up transition.

'My life is transition' Notice the swim course is clockwise.  Crap. Double crap I don't breathe on the right.  'My life is transition'

8:15 am watch the first supersprint go.... brave souls 400m to go, you will love this like ice cream on a hot day.

8:23 am smelly bathrooms to pee... prerace jitters

8:29 am beginnings of wetsuit tactics... '750m swim 40mins... transition one 5mins...'

8:33 am wet suit up to my calfs... Why do they make these so hard? '20km bike 6km hill... no gears... no fucking gears...' did I just swear out loud? perhaps no one was listening.... Smiling

8:44 am wet suit up to my waist... waiting for 9am 'Is it a wee bit chilly out here? Don't mind me covering up....'

8:47am wet suit on. walking to the water. Can I wear my goggles now? It's so bright out here.... Saying good bye to my bike.  She and I have to share encouragement. After all we are in this together. My new life, my new beginning.  My new me.

9:02am (all these times are in my head like I stand still and count the seconds until they will set me free) In the water. Wet. Waiting. Rocks underfoot. '750m swim 30 mins.' OUCH... stupid rocks. Moving back, purple caps, pink caps... Golden caps...

9:11am There is a barn on the opposite shore.  Shannon says the buoy is siting on that line.  I can just catch the glimmer of it's roof against the trees. Truth is, I don't care. I just wanna swim and set free this fight that is hanging in the balance.  We swim...

and swim

and swim

The water is cloudy. Warm and caring. Just me and the bubbles. Bubbles I can't see but feel as I pass them on to the next stroke and the next. I don't have to hear anything.  Shannon and I can swim.  We can flow with the waves like maple syrup on pancakes.... like butter melting on toast... like ... what?  Oh you want me to turn right? ok... start again. This swim I could do all day.  I am eerily happy here in this water.  No thought beyond that.  This could be easier than running. Did I say that?

That must be the shore up there in the distance. It's not the barn. It's not the shore either... it's moving... oh ... kayak ...

There is the shore. And those rocks.

Running running... 'transition one 5 mins....'

My glasses... So happy to see them. Wet suit down... water on the ground.  I shed it like a skin of lingering pain.  Gone from me.  Owning my new life.  Owning this time.  Owning this race. '20km bike 1.5hrs'. Helmet on. running. running... they love watching this. I hear it in the crowd. I get to live it.  So lucky to be me.  So lucky to believe that finally.

Pedal pedal huge speed bump.  My poor poor tush. My body says we will remember this.  Good I think. It's mine to remember.

Turn and pedal more.  This is the start of the hill.  Up and up and up and up ... stand up and push.. stand up and cry a bit.. stand up and want to give in.. Stand the heck up and take that moment because you can't take it away from a willing fighter.  Up and up and up... '20km bike 1.5hrs'... smiling.. turn around... coasting down.  We can't even pedal.  Doris is free in this moment.  No pressure, no fear.  Glory and wind. Hope in my heart.  Flying fearlessly. Smiling... I yell to Shannon "I've got a new plan"... what she asks... " let's not crash and die!" must be 49km/hr.   We laugh and go with it.  She says did I find the vultures overhead disheartening? Vultures I ask?  Is that a metaphor?  Truth.  GO doris go... 'transition two 3 mins'

Dismount.  Coordinate and focus. There are two people jumping off.  Running.. setting doris down.  Running... for real now.  '5km 40min'...

The ground is warm.  The air is heavy with effort and inner growth.  Up the hill around the corner.  One lap... and turn around.  The air gets lighter... we are nearly there... Up the last hill... they aren't going to give you this race for free.  Push legs, you've trained for this.  Up Up ... and run.  The finish Shannon points.  Just my luck.. It's green.  Therefore invisible.  I don't care.  Run run... let everything go on the wind.  Run run.. believe in myself. Strong enough for this.  Strong enough for me.

Happily crossed the line.  Hugs abound.  All clocks stop.  Hearts stand still in wonder.  All things accomplished.  Glorious day.

Finish time 1:54:19....  tethered swim 750m 25:37, tandem bike 20 km 59:32, tethered run 5km 32:11

Hell yes... hell yes....

Thank you Shannon.  Thank you Doris. 

Thank you everyone for support and encouragement and focus.  Thank you for belief in this blind girl..

Saturday, September 3, 2011

On The Brink

Gathering courage in the quiet.  Speaking the words to myself.  Establishing a game plan.  Detailing my finish.  Mounting that hill.  Sweeping fear away.  Lost in the details of tomorrow.  Lingering in the thought of this goal so intensely set in the supports of my soul.  Every corner another moment to steal me away.  Every minute a reason to hold my breath in anticipation of this beautiful beginning. Dancing to crappy music just because it has a beat and my spirit can't be denied anymore.  Turning the music up too loud and singing loudly off key without remorse for my spectators.  The taper dance? the new life dance? .... Today's dance... This race... My race... Tomorrow's race... and my only serious plan: smile forever, live forever..... and carefully count butterflies on the breeze along the way.

Day 245 (yesterday) of 365 days of running current total - 1300.59km
today a running rest day.... 1km to get it done....
tomorrow Miltons Women's Only Sprint Triathlon... In a thunderstorm :)