Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sulphur Springs 25K Trail Run 2011 - Done!

I did it!  Yesterday I ran the Sulphur Springs 25K trail race.  The only other 25K I have done was last year's Run For the Toad (see earlier post).  It was raining for that race, and the conditions were extremely muddy.  The only thing I wanted for this year's Sulphur Springs was that it not be muddy.  Well - so much for that.  With all the rain we've been having and the cold weather, there were some very muddy parts.  It looked like the race organizers had tried to help by putting some gravel down in certain patches, but they couldn't cover all of the patches.  At least it didn't rain hard during the run - it was more of a light mist to start off with, which eventually disappeared.  The mist actually felt very good as I ran.  And it wasn't as muddy as the Toad, because there were lots of long sections which were perfectly fine to run.  But there were some long patches where the mud was so deep you were afraid you would lose your shoe to it, and then the mud would build up on the bottom of your shoes and you would be skating instead of running.  I saw one guy slide backward at least three feet and then fall on one hill.

Anyway, at the beginning of the race I came up with a slogan for the day: 'Embrace the Mud'.  So that's what I tried to do.  I just ran right through it.

Initially I was worried I wouldn't even be able to run the race, because my shins had started getting sore about 10 days prior, and they seemed to keep getting worse.  I was resting them from running, but I was still doing other things like boot camp.  Anyway, luckily my MMA and runner friend showed me how to tape up my calves and told me to get some Tiger Balm, and that felt so good - I highly recommend it.  The tape really helped and I ran the whole race feeling great.  My goal was not to get a fast time (which, okay, I probably couldn't get even if I wanted to - I'm not there yet!), but just to finish the race and not be injured afterward.  I like the idea of crossing the finish line feeling good and strong and still smiling.  I wanted to feel good and be able to dance at Lobsterfest that night and that's what happened.  I finished in 3:19 hrs.

I have some great memories from the race.  At the beginning of the race, the whole forest was very quiet except for the sound of runners breathing and the different noises our feet made when we would go from running on the hard-packed trail, to the mud, and then on to the gravel.

All the rain had made the forest very lush and green, and there was dark green moss and light green ferns everywhere, and huge blankets of blue and pink flowers around all the trees that were beautiful.

The mist made it feel like I was running through a rainforest, and it darkened all the bark on the tree trunks and etched out the lines on the green dripping leaves.

I really like how runners are so kind to each other; many of them yell to others as they pass: "Good job," or "Well done!"

We met one man who said he had run the trail previously as a blind runner but had just received a bionic eye and could see the trail well for the first time.  He said the trail was beautiful.  He was almost 70!

I met another man who was beside me as we ran/walked up Martin Road hill.  He puffed, "We're almost done.  We'll feel normal again in a week!"

I said nonchalantly, "Oh, a week - is that all? Pffft!"

The best remark came from another woman (who I can only assume was a mother) as we huffed and puffed, sweaty and muddy, up an incline.  She muttered, "There's got to be a better way to get some time for ourselves!"

I mean, some women go shopping.  And I guess some would compare the thrill of achievement of finding a great pair of shoes on sale to a 25K.  But although everyone can buy a pair of shoes, not everyone can run a 25K.

So I'll take my second 25K.  It was a great race!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Driving Me Crazy

This summer we're going on a road trip for two weeks with our three children to Cape Breton.  I'm really looking forward to it.  But I have done a couple of road trips with children in which I swore vehemently to myself as I was banging my head against the car door that I would never, ever, ever do that again.  However, the kids are older now.  And I told my husband that it would be fine to do it, as long as we install a three-screened DVD along with a Wii, a PlayStation, and an X-box in the van.  And a convenience store.  Just a small request.

But I remember what it was like when we drove our five month old son to Florida.

As we set off, my husband said cheerfully, "Okay, let's try to get several good hours of driving in before we stop!"  Ten minutes later, we heard a loud explosion from our son.  My husband's eyes met mine pleadingly in the rear view mirror.  Sympathetically, I shook my head.  "Sorry, hon, we have to stop - he pooped through everything, including his overcoat!  It's all up his back!"

By Hour 10 my son had thoroughly inspected, chewed on, rattled and waved around almost every toy and book I had packed, even the completely new, never before seen Last Resort Toy.  I sang songs until my throat was hoarse.  By Hour 12 I was fantasizing about forcing my husband to drive to an airport, so Colin and I could fly the rest of the way.

It got to the point that we began arguing over who got to drive, since the other person had to entertain Colin.

"Honey, it's my turn to drive.  You must be exhausted!"  I announced to my husband firmly, feigning concern for his well-being.

He shook his head.  "No, that's okay...I've still got lots of energy,"  my husband insisted, although he'd been driving for four hours.  He gripped the steering wheel tighter.  "Really, I insist."

I gave up being diplomatic.  "I'm driving and that's FINAL!  Pull over, mister!"

With my husband in the backseat, Colin began wailing. "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands,"  my husband sang optimistically.  Colin wailed louder.  The clapping trailed off.  I resisted the urge to giggle.  Now it was my turn to grip the steering wheel and surreptitiously turn up the radio.  As I avoided mammoth trucks and aggressive tailgaters, I sighed to myself.  What a nice break!

When it was my turn to entertain my son again (after a brief but spirited tussle over the car keys in the parking lot of a McDonald's) we had completely run out of diversions and Colin had decided he wanted out of the car seat NOW.  I began desperately searching the car for new items.  Water bottle, Kleenex, extra diaper, extra clothing...  Colin looked at me when the last Kleenex had been ripped apart.  He knew I didn't have any more distractions.  He began opening his mouth to yell.  I looked frantically around the car.  Aha - there was one thing left in the car that he hadn't played with yet.  Frantically I bellowed, "GIVE ME THE MAP!"

My husband paled.  He looked over his shoulder at me nervously.  "But honey...we NEED the map."

I scowled at him in the rear-view mirror.  "We can buy another!  Do you think my sanity is worth more than a map?  Don't answer that!  Give. Me. The. Map!"

My husband took a deep breath, began to say something, noticed the frenzied look in my eyes, and then silently and reluctantly handed it back to me.  There was a brief tug of war before I seized it triumphantly and deposited it in my son's lap.  I breathed a sigh of relief as Colin began happily whipping the map around, banging his fist on it and ripping it.  I leaned back in my seat.  Whew!

"You show that map who's boss, honey!"  I encouraged him.  "And when it comes back, you show it who's boss again!"

Anyway, the road trip this time will be much better, I'm sure...I'll buy several sets of maps!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Turning Forty - It's All Good

Today is the big day.  I'm officially 40!  And the sky has not fallen.  Everything appears normal.  In fact, I feel good!  Maybe not James Brown good, but still good.  Great, even!

We just had a party last Friday night, and I had a great time.  We danced until 2 a.m.; I had so much fun.  And I felt fine the next day, too, which was a relief - I mean, completely expected.

My son asked why my friends had left their cars parked in front of our house.  "Ummmm.....they're being environmentally friendly?"

I thought 39 was going to be the hardest, and it was.  Maybe that seems funny, but to me that was when I realized I was at the end of my thirties, that this was the last year of them and that was it.  And I got used to that, and now I'm ready to face my forties.  Head on, or at least with the help of a little red wine!

I think it helps that I'm very happy with my life right now.  I'm very happy with my family and my house, and I like my job.  Also I'm probably the fittest I've been.....ever.  I'm going to run another 25K soon and I'm training for a try a tri - a mini triathlon.  I feel like I've got some good momentum going.

As you get older you get more comfortable with yourself.  You accept who you are and you don't care as much what other people think.  Next year all of my children will be in school.  I have a little more independence and I can do things like staying up until 2 a.m., dancing and having fun with my friends.

At one point my husband asked me anxiously, "It's okay if I play hockey on your birthday, right?  The game isn't until 11:15 p.m. so you'll be in bed then anyway...right?" 

I looked him right in the eye.  "At 11:15 p.m. on my birthday, I might be curled in a ball, lying in a corner sobbing for all you know!" I informed him frostily.  My husband looked terrified.  I should say that my husband is three years younger than me, darn him.  Anyway, it's okay.  I will not be that person sobbing in the corner.  I'm content.  Bring on my forties!  Let the adventure begin!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Food, Wonderful Food!

At dinner I dripped sauce all over my shirt.  It reminded me of when my children were first introduced to solids.  What a great big mess - I mean, milestone! 

I was wondering how my son would do with solids, because he had already proven himself to be not a great eater, even with breast milk. I had tried many things, with not much success.  However, several other new moms had assured me that every child in the world loved Cheerios.  So I put some on his highchair and watched in happy anticipation for him to eat them and love them and instantly begin demanding an entire turkey dinner....basically, my expectations were pretty low and extremely reasonable.

Colin picked one up (I held my breath), examined it closely, and then leaned over and dropped it.  He liked what he saw, and proceeded to drop every single Cheerio (along with my hopes, but let's not be too dramatic - oh wait...too late) onto the floor.  I'm not it a step forward that he has graduated from merely stashing the food in the seat of his highchair to dropping it all over the floor?

My son's unique approach to food makes at least one resident of our household especially happy:  the cat.  Toby (aka "The Glutton") will be upstairs in a deep sleep, but if I so much as glance at the can opener, he will hit the ground running and be in the kitchen in one nanosecond flat.  The sound of the can opener used to be the only thing that could motivate Toby to move.  But now, as soon as he hears Colin getting placed in his highchair, he comes running as if all the catnip in the world is about to disappear.  He knows his food will be deposited shortly.  Is it wrong to wish my son wanted to eat as much as my cat does?

There is a lot of food for Toby to clean up, anyway.  I knew that children were messy eaters.  But I had no idea HOW messy.  Colin will be eating his rice cereal, lulling me into complacency, and all of a sudden a well-placed left hook will come out of nowhere, the spoon careens off-course, and there is cereal in my hair, on the tablecloth, on the adjacent chair, and behind Colin's ear.  It's amazing.  I think it defies the laws of physics, but I'm far too busy to pursue this groundbreaking phenomenon.  Does Stephen Hawking know about this?  I look at my beige tablecloth and wince.  Note to self:  buy dark coloured, washable tablecloth!

Colin also started hiding Cheerios in strange places, like in my shoes or in various drawers.  He is having a lot of fun putting objects in different places.  The other day I let him play with the cordless phone (I know, I know - a classic rookie mistake) and then when I needed it, I couldn't find it.  And I couldn't use the 'locator' button, because I had turned it off so he could play with it.  Note to self:  when the phone rings, it doesn't really help to yell in desperation into the air, "I'm HERE!"  Anyhow, I finally found it pushed way back under the couch.  I hope this is all contributing to his intellectual development in some small way.   Because God knows his nutrition isn't!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!  You know, the ones with spit-up in their hair.  The ones with glazed, half-open eyes who would give anything, ANYTHING, for a complete nap.  The ones who would be happy just to be able to finish a sentence without having to get a snack or soothe a crying child.

I remember when I first became a mom.  It's such an amazing experience.  I looked down at my first baby, swaddled in a hospital blanket and lying on the bed beside me.  The nurse had put him in the little crib thing at first but I wanted him right beside me.  I was so tired and sore.  I looked down at him and wished I could kiss him all over his face, fingers and toes.  And then I realized that he was mine, and I could!  It was a great feeling.

So many changes occurred after that.  I started to carry a diaper bag instead of a purse.  I realized how I had enjoyed unbelievable, humongous truckloads of time before I had children.  And I had wasted it!  I remembered the times I had whined about my homework with shame.  I was probably lolling around on the couch when I said it, wondering whether I should watch TV or read a book!  I was so naive!  All of a sudden I was busy 24/7. 

I remember my dental hygienist saying that when mothers told her they didn't have time to brush their teeth, she would think, "Yeah, right."  When she became a mother she understood.  I laughed and told her that when I was a new mom I remember very clearly thinking that I could either brush my teeth or wash my face, but I didn't have time to do both.  That's because my son would start crying like clockwork at 7 p.m. every night and I had to be ready for the onslaught.  And I guess I would have been ready before that, if I hadn't been breastfeeding, changing diapers, or playing with the baby!

I perfected 'the sway'.  I realized this at a Christmas get-together.  I was swaying gently from side to side, shifting my weight smoothly and humming softly, when I noticed I was getting a few strange looks.  I looked down at the cheese plate cradled in my arms.  Oh, that's right - my HUSBAND was holding the baby.

It became harder and harder to get it together.  I mean, after you have one child, you realize how you had tons of time before that.  Then you have two children and you realize you really weren't that busy with one child.  He napped!  For three hours!  What you wouldn't give for THAT kind of time when you have two children.  I won't even talk about the time factor with three children, because you get the idea...

I think we can all feel overwhelmed by the enormous demands of motherhood.  Maybe there will be times when you too will look at your disorganized house, your not-back-where-you-want-it-yet figure, and you will despair.  But I try to put it in perspective: those things are fixable, and not really that important in the whole scheme of things.  And I have three wonderful children who I love getting to know.  And maybe by the time they're ready to go to university....the house will be organized!