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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dirt under my nails

Everything is worth a fight... and the things that aren't worth the fight... well...

see they aren't even worth the words I could have said about them...

But the things that you know are worth a fight, worth your fight, are worth your absolutely everything.

Here is my biggest self discovery moment of the last 331 days.  Are you ready? Got your cup of tea? Sitting down?  It took me a while to get here, to this place of knowledge, or rather of acceptance... or rather of sweaty acknowledgement.... So in my thinking, you'd best be prepared for what follows....

I am a very intense person.

There I said it.

I don't know how to do anything "... a little bit".  I don't feel fantastic dabbling in anything.  If I'm gonna love - you better watch out, because I am in so deep you'll wish you had brought oxygen reserves.  If I'm gonna study something, I'm gonna be the best that I'm capable of.  If I'm gonna commit to something... like say running every day for a year... well then dam it... guess what?

There is nothing holding me back because there is such a huge amount of everything trying to.  I don't even love the fight.  I just seem to end up there, facing down my opponent and knowing in that last moment I may lose completely ... but it sure as hell won't be for lack of trying.

When I wake up in the morning the first thing I put on is my mental boxing gloves.  Every time some small thing jumps in my path I stop and take that breath that decides my fate.  Do I stand up to this?  Will I let this defeat me? Can you see me on the other side? Can I? I've been asked this year... what are you afraid of?

Everything.  Especially chaos.

but.....

put your gloves on.... (or running shoes as the case may be...)

There is no point in fighting the fight if you are not ready to embrace that chaos.   Let it take you by the throat and move you to that place that dangles your feet just over the edge of hope and above the canyon of fear... Then take it by surprise every time by turning to face it and smiling.  That's when the shock loosens it's grasp and you have your edge.

People are questioning my next years goals.  What do you plan to do for a year now?

I .... I.... this me.... I fear  ... maybe....

You know, sometimes, just looking into peoples eyes (especially when you know I'm legally blind and a bit of my behaviour traits)... sometimes, that's enough to make people shudder.  It's not that I'm special, or important or better than.  It's just too much truth in one moment of time for some people to accept.   Too much truth, too much fight... too much stubbornness.

I'm afraid to set a 2012 goal, because I know I will keep it.  There is still dirt under my nails from this years goal.

This year I have learned there is nothing you can't run through.  Sickness, health, busy schedule, travel, broken hearts, new jobs, exams, graduations, post marathons, when someone is holding your hand, more importantly when no one is....

This year I have learned that running can be as much a part of me as breathing, washing, eating. 

Next year I will have to learn that there can be a day WITHOUT running... Not a lesson I'm looking forward to learning.

And if you think you've lost your sense of humour.... get to day 331, where you've had a cold for a week, a migraine for 2 days, you're babysitting, you (remember 8% vision which means no driving) take 4 kids to the movies alone, your cat's in heat (again), your house is taking out stocks in tissues, the movie theater is 2.4km away and it's raining...

This is why you have a choice. Some things seem so karmicly chaotic that you can't help but laugh.  You can't help but stop and embrace it all. It's still your day 331.  You are still alive.  And as someone else offers your kids a ride home after the movie, but has no room for you or the stroller... and you in jeans and a winter coat.. standing in the rain... have a choice.

Well I was, I figured, wearing running shoes after all.

todays run... (although I am hoping for more) day 331 of 365 days of running - 2.4km solo road run pushing an empty stroller through the rain, home from the movies... 15mins.

current total 1795.8km  Still hoping for 2011km by the end of the year... 34 runs from now....

Peace to you in chaos :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's always someones something...

Went for a run yesterday, because I'm stubborn.  Snow on the ground enough to steal away most of my sight.  No guide arranged.  No help organized.  This is not uncommon but in the snow... it is a problem.  My run started at my house post school bus, travelled down to the path near my house, travelled up the path for just over 6k and then finally finished back up on the road that brought me to the YMCA for my favourite strength class.  My feet, ever so cautiously moved me towards the trail... usually I can see the trail, the ground that looks bare in front of me.  As if the trees backed up a smidge to allow my passage.  But yesterday, the only hint of  path I could make out.... was nothingness.  This gap in space where something should have been.  But here only brightness existed.  Here only glare to force my eyes shut.  Here only the devilish laughs of doubt.  And still I ran.  I ran as if I were running on a cloud ... visually lost my feet.  I could see my black pants but my shoes dissapeared into the nothingness underfoot.  So running I convinced myself every step I did in fact exist.  I am here... I can feel me.

A lady ran past me.  I said good morning to the movement as she passed. "where did the snow come from" she asked... "Not sure but It makes it hard to see" my response. "to see?" her question... her pace slowing in contemplating thought. "Oh you mean from the glare!" her resolution.. pace picking up again.  Right I thought exactly.

She didn't know this was my day 322.  She didn't know I was a legally blind runner.  She didn't know anything beyond that fate gave us this sunrise to share this trail this moment in time.  She didn't know, nor did she want that responsibility.  She ran.  She seemed free to me... running on the nothingness underfoot. As if a unicorn galloping among the clouds.  And I let her go.  Even though I longed to cling to that vision she could have shared.  I let her travel ahead to the point where she was lost to me among the brightness.  To the point where I couldn't even hear her. 

After all, it may not be her day 322 but it certainly was her something.  Let her be to embrace that something. Let her soul dance in a happy runner tango along this trail.

I ran and ran... Distance was lost to me. It wasn't a long run but I will tell you, if you want to forget how far you have to go... worry instead about falling into the creek along side the path of nothingness.  It will take your mind off time and pace and distance.  Everything becomes ghostly against a backdrop of "stay alive".

I met the lady again after she'd turned around, claiming her half way mark some distance ahead.  "the bridge is slippery" she warning warmly as if her runner courtesy was accomplished.  "thanks" I replied with a smile.... I let her have that moment of warmth in her head.... I did gain knowledge from her words... I now knew there was a bridge coming up.  That was something.  At least I could pretend to not be surprised when I hit it now.  Things were looking up.

I couldn't look up.  Up was all things staring into a flash light. Down made my head spin with my missing feet on the path of nothingness. So I did the only thing I knew how to do... Laugh and run.

When I hit the road again, the ground turned slippery and danger changed dynamics a bit.  Now there was no creek but oncoming traffic to worry about.  People hustled around on the road and the sidewalk I could barely make out.  They had lives to live.  They had errands to run.  They had their somethings today.  Their stories filled my heart as I travelled down the road.  Each step reminding me .... today is not to be wasted.

After all today is always someones something....

Today is my day 323... Current total kms 1755

Go make your today awesome!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chard, Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

Tonights dinner!

2 tbps of sunflower oil
1 large onion chopped
1tsp cumin seeds
400g of sweet potatoes, cut into medium chunks
1/2 tsp of crushed chili flakes
400g  can chopped tomatoes
140 g salted, roasted peanuts (I used almonds)
250g of chard, leaves and stems and washed and roughly chopped
750ml of water

1. heat a large saucepan with lid over a med heat and add oil.  Add the onion and fry until light golden.  Stir in the cumin seeds until fragrant, about a 1min.  Add the sweet potato, chili flakes, tomatoes and water.  Stir cover and bring to a boil then uncover and simmer for 15 mins.

2. Whiz the peanuts in a food processor until ground but not butter.  (yeah I put the almonds in a zip bag and let my four year old beat the crude out of them). Add to stew and stir and taste for salt.

3. add in the chard and treturn to a boil for another 8 mins... or about the time the kids start yelling "When's dinner????" Serve hot and with pepper (hey I didn't write this... taste it ... spicy...)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NEVER say never

Not in the quiet when you think no one's listening, not in the shower when you think the water drowns out your doubt, not uttered into your coffee hoping the sleepy slurp will mask the fear....

NEVER say never... because you don't really know when your soul will take you seriously.

Day 310 we took to the road in Hamilton Ontario and ran 42.2km past fields, through streets, too close to the water treatment plant, down the mountain on the highway and along a trail that made me want to run all day.  As it turned out, all day took 4:59:03.... This my sweet surrender of self, this my beautiful culmination of blood, sweat and tears, this my tantric fantasy mixed into sharp shooting pains of doubt and fear... this my Boston Qualifying marathon time... This my next tattoo.


Never say never... someone may believe you.

Guide switch four days pre race... ask Rick how it feels to know not only are you guiding a marathon you haven't trained for, but also that there is a Boston hope lingering on the curb .... like the can you kick along the way home... Last minute daycare (Thank you MOM!!!!)... Last minute chaos... last minute cold and cough.  Last minute near giving up.  Last minute putting myself out there and realizing...  I had to run this day anyway... It may as well be a marathon right?

Never say never... Someone is learning from you.

The wall I had hoped to find, certainly found me.  At 36k in.. two steps past the farthest distance I ran in training.  But that came after my fastest half 2hrs 24mins ... The wall came after I sang outloud with no voice on the top of that mountain.  It smacked me in the face post waving and shouting at passing cars... making a fool of myself... loving every second, every millisecond...  Then something happened...

Never say never... if you hold on to doubt it fills too much of your heart to let hope in.

We started to go down hill.  I have never EVER felt that kind of pain in my life.  I would rather birth ten babies than run downhill for 5k.  I would rather be repeatedly run over by a truck than do that again.  So much pain.  We plugged through.  I can't remember about 10k in the middle... Perhaps my guide will comment and fill in the hole here.  I know at one point I ran solidly for a while with my eyes shut... in search of my happy place.  That mystical thing I haven't been grasping much lately.  But alas... much of that time between 25 and 35 is missing. 

Never say never... You are someone's something.

35k in was our last walk break.  We had stopped every 5k for fuel... at one water station I think I ran away (and into oncoming traffic) from Rick.  Oops... sorry... girls gotta do right?  Pain added a few extra short walks.  But 35k was the last one. We were suppose to have another at 40k... Something magical happens after the wall comes.  Something so otherworldly that no one can grasp the attention it takes to move into knowing anything else at that moment.

Never say never... Inspiration is born from the smallest flame.

36km... my wall... I didn't stop for.  I felt it. Like a wave washing me clean of any emotion.  There was nothing left in me there.  even my pain was gone.  I was immersed in this thing.  Lost to its wonders and despair.  I was standing alone at the edge of my universe.  Oddly not seeking help.  Oddly not looking at the view.  Just running along the edge of sanity as if there was no fine lines left.  As if the heavens sang out this next wrinkle we give you along your chin embodies this fight.  As if the stars were out and the sun was in a tango with the moon.  What did you do when you meet your wall?  I knew there was no stopping.  I knew it was now or never.  And DAM it... NEVER say never to me...

Never say never... you may be counting on you....

What did I do? I cried, with abandon... as if nothing mattered... I remember saying "this is that place... that place where I haven't been... this is that place I was looking for" And all my tears melted tracks through the salt, through the effort, through the pain.. through the fear.  It stopped my heart to realise....

Greatness is not a thing you can ever hold on to.  It is not a noun you can own.  It is a thing you can chase... it is a moving, breathing, living current... It is a verb.  And baby... I wanna be a verb for the rest of my life.

Never say never... Someone might be writing a dictionary.

We did not stop at 40k.  I asked if we still had a chance.  My answer was "if we hurry".  FUCK me... Hurry? now? 40k in?  Hurry? Have you felt my pain? Oh hell lets hurry then... I have a Boston guide waiting... (CHEERS TO YOU BLUE!!!)... There's a fritter somewhere in this day.  So hurry we did...

4:59:03 chip... 4:59:59 gun... Boston cut off time? Sight impaired... 5:00:00.

Never say never.... The feet believe what the heart tells them.

Thank you all for helping to see me through this crazy day in running :)

Day 313 of running current total 1696.74km