Monday, May 27, 2013

Sulphur Springs 50K Trail Run - These Trails are my Peeps!

I did it - my first 50K!  It's an ultra marathon, because a marathon is only 42K.  I've never even done a marathon before, only a 25K.  So I did my first marathon and my first ultra marathon on the same day.  I know what you're smart I am.  I know. 

I didn't have a very fast time.  First of all, about a month before the race I found out that my iron levels were so low they were nonmeasurable, and I knew they wouldn't get up anywhere close to normal before the race.  So right away I knew I wouldn't be able to get a fast time.  But usually whenever I do a long distance for the first time, my goal is only to finish upright and smiling.  If I do it again, that's when I hope to improve my time.  And this time I also had to deal with IT Band pain at 30K.  So I was just glad that I finished.

I love these trails and I run them so much I feel like I know them intimately.  As I was running them, I thought affectionately, "I know these trails so well, they're my peeps!"  (You have to think of SOMETHING when you're running for multiple hours in a row with no one to talk to!)  That helps when you're doing a race.  I knew what to expect and how much farther I had to run.  That doesn't mean I ever looked forward to running up the Martin Road hill, though.  Let's not get crazy, here.

It's an interesting experience to run for seven plus hours in the forest.

I have never felt as anxious as I felt about this race, and it started two full days before the race.  We're talking full-blown panic here.  I guess it was just because it was the biggest race (by far) I have ever done.  My previous races were all 25K - half the distance!  I think I was really scared that I wouldn't be able to do it.

Also, my friend and running partner wasn't able to do it with me, as she hurt her knee.  I was worried about being alone on the trails for so long.

I forgot about the running community, though; how supportive they are.  So many people who ran by me would say, "Good job!", "Looking good!", "Way to go!"  It was so nice.  I wasn't alone at all.

Before the race I vowed to try and just record all my observations in my head so I could write them in my blog later.  It's fascinating to observe all the different dynamics and personalities in a race.  One man immediately whipped out a camera and began taking pictures.  He explained, "If I don't take pictures my wife thinks I'm out drinking!"  Another woman said to her friend as they began, "I feel anxiety!"  (I hear you, sister!)

I saw two runners puking by the side of the trail.  I saw a man carried off, clearly in pain, by other runners.  I saw runners crying.  I saw runners trying to stretch out legs that must have been cramping or hurting.  I asked one runner if he had knee pain like I did, and he replied, "I have pain EVERYWHERE."

This may have contributed to my changing mindset.  I've heard talk of how your mind can run off, and it was funny to watch the highs and lows.  For example, my knee was really hurting by 40K, and also I was feeling back pain and pain in my left foot (no idea what that was all about). 

So my thoughts were going something like this: "Why am I doing this?  Why does ANYONE do this?  It's crazy!  I'm hurting myself.  We're all lunatics!  What is the POINT?  You know what?  I am just going to start volunteering at these things...forget about running them!  Hey, wait a second....I think I just passed the 42K mark.  That means I just ran a marathon!  Me!  I did it!  I just ran a marathon!  I LOVE RUNNING!!"  Then I would laugh at myself for being even more of a lunatic. 

Another fascinating thing is that these changing mindsets have continued long after the race.  For example, the night of the race and the next day my legs were in serious pain.  It was hard to walk.  I was 'walking' like either a heavily pregnant lady with back pain or an elderly person who needed a new hip.  Again I thought to myself, "Why am I doing this to my body?  I will NEVER run that distance again.  I mean NEVER.  I will just be happy with doing shorter runs."  And then once the pain subsided, suddenly I thought, "Too bad I got such a slow time.  Maybe I should do it again to try to improve my time?" 

Hmmm, so I can't blame the craziness on race fatigue....I guess it's just me, right?  Don't answer that!

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Royal Botanical Gardens: Rock Garden, Hamilton, Ontario

The Rock Garden is an amazing place.  It was an old quarry that has been repurposed as a garden.  There are rock steps and paths everywhere, up and down the old walls of the quarry, throughout garden beds filled with tulips and other flowers.  The paths wind around ponds and waterfalls.  There are benches and trees.  It's very beautiful and the kids love all the 'secret' walkways.  We had to all take turns following the leader or else everyone would have all run off in different directions.  Again: parenting!

The Beautiful Bruce Trail: Hamilton, Ontario

I took the kids on a part of the Bruce Trail that veers off from Beckett Drive (Queen Street Access).  I love this part of the trail because it winds right up to the Escarpment and around.  The kids loved it.  We saw five turkey vultures.  My one son said he wished he could speak 'Turkish' so that he could communicate with them.  He was being serious.  It was hard to explain on many different levels, but that's parenting for you!

Friday, May 17, 2013

There are Trilliums in my Woods Right Now!



I went for a run today.  The trilliums are out in the forest!  They are scattered all throughout the trees, sometimes singly, sometimes in a group.  They are mostly at the foot of trees.  I couldn't believe all the different colours I saw today.  This is why I love trail running.  It gives me the peace I need to be a more patient mom.  (I should probably run every day!)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Frank Turner's 'Recovery' - Great Song Lyric

You've got to love this lyric:

"...let's make a deal; if anyone ever asks how we met let's just say we met in jail..."

Oh, and I love the song, too...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

This Is Motherhood

When I was running on the trails today, I saw this baby maple tree growing and being sheltered at the base of a very large, full-grown maple tree.  And I thought, 'that is motherhood'.

We protect our children.  We keep them close to us.  We let them use our nutrients.  (Stay with me.)We stay with them because we love them, even if we'd really like to get a sitter now and again but that's not always easy and we stay with them if we can't, because they matter more than a night out even if we really need a night out to preserve what little sanity we have left.  Oh, sorry, that's me - not the tree.  But you get my point, right?  Children are worth everything and moms, so are you - so take care of yourselves.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Leonard Cohen Lyric

Excerpt from Anthem by Leonard Cohen

'Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in'

I was at a 'Mental Health Breakfast' in Hamilton, Ontario this morning to hear Valerie Pringle and her daughter Catherine Pringle speak about mental health.  It was a great event.  Valerie closed her talk with the above quote.

Anything that allows for and even encourages you to be imperfect...I am all over it.  We're all imperfect, but I think sometimes what causes so much stress is the constant attempt to be perfect.  It's useless, people!  (Thank goodness, because I couldn't accomplish it anyway.)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Lumineers: Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, on April 30, 2013

I saw The Lumineers live in concert for the first time.  It was an amazing show!  You never know how a band will be live, and I am happy to report that they do an incredible live show.  Wesley's voice sounded even better than on my iPod.  He has a huge range. 

They were really engaging and interactive with the audience.  They even went into the audience during an encore song and played while standing on chairs.  I have never seen that before.  I loved it!  I was on the floor, so it made them be even closer to me.  If you go see them, you won't be disappointed.