She’s got legs, and she knows how to use them

Hey kids.

I am currently sitting in bed, eating pasta and drinking a glass of (not great, but not terrible) white wine.

SUCH IS THE LIFE.

It’s been a complete whirlwind of a weekend – family hangouts, work talks, friends a-plenty, and I even read two books!

Young adult books, mind you. But still – there really is nothing like a good story in which to disappear for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, this (Sunday morning), I ran in the Vancouver Fall Classic 10k.

P1030630

It was my third time running the race, and just like the two races past, I ran this one with a friend.

(Even if you’re not running the length of the course side by side, just knowing that you have someone there with you always, always makes the experience just that much more fun.)

I woke to my alarm at 6:30am. I had fallen asleep the night before around 11:00pm, and other than one slight interruption to get up and use the bathroom, my sleep was relatively restful, and much better than some of the absolutely brutal sleeps I have had in my racing past.

After cuddling with Marc for a couple of minutes, I tiptoed out of the bedroom and started about my pre-race morning routine.

I had already packed my bag and laid out all my clothing the night before (along with back-up choices, just in case the weather was different that previously predicted.)

It wasn’t – the thermometer read three degrees, and the pavement outside was slick with rain.

Espying these both, I wasn’t going to take any chances, and decided that my long running pants, long sleeved shirt, and t-shirt were my best option.

Then, I brushed my teeth, washed my face, moisturized, put in my contacts, and put my hair into a ponytail.

It’s so weird that these actions have such important meaning for me, but it totally throws me off if I don’t take care to do these things in a particular order.

The only fly in the ointment at this point, was that I had gone to bed the night before with a slight stomach ache, only to wake up with full-blown crampage.

Surprise! As much as I love getting my period (ZERO SARCASM HERE FOLKS), the sensation of my uterus falling out of my body is one that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

However, I’ve also never forgotten the time when my mum told me that the first Canadian woman who summited Mouth Everest did so whilst on her period, so I really feel like I really don’t much of a leg to stand on, complaint-wise.

(Seriously, I remember this SO WELL. I was twelve, and at a track meet, and was competing in high jump. I was feeling totally crappy, and she was all, “AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!”)

True story.

Any who, I then got dressed, went downstairs, made and drank coffee, ate two pieces of toast (one peanut butter, the other Nutella) and hung out with Nymeria, watching British panel shows on Youtube, until 7:50am.

Then I took out the trash, jumped in the car, and drove over to Greg and Daniela’s, where they too were preparing for the morning’s festivities (Greg to run, Daniela to cheer.)

I drove us up to UBC, and we marvelled at how awesome of a day it was turning out to be – not at all the minus four degrees and snowing as stated in the day’s original forecast.

prerun

Once we arrived on campus, we parked, grabbed our registration package (our numbers and some sweet new running tights), checked our bags, and then moseyed on over to the start line.

My stomach was still in agony, but I tried to keep it in check by moving about as much as possible.

Timeline-wise, we had calculated everything really well, and we only had about a fifteen minute wait-time, before Greg and I bade our last goodbyes to our wonderful friend (and he, to his wonderful wife) and lined up at the starting line.

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These places are always just a terrific mix of nerves, posturing, egos, excitements, and camaraderie.

They truly are the best.

Before we knew it, the time was nigh – as the horn blared, we blasted out of the start gate and took off with the best of them.

The first two kilometers seemed to just whiz by – we were at Marine Drive before I even knew it, and descended to the old, lower road – a beautiful stretch of pavement, flanked on either side by towering, deciduous trees, and just hints of the ocean that stretches far and wide, just off to the right.

At this point there was only one other woman ahead of me that I knew of –  a blindingly fast lady, known only to me as “pink shoes” for reasons, of course, I am confident you can deduce.

It was here that I was caught by two other lady speed demons, and, knowing I was unlikely to keep up, I tried to keep pace with a different fellow in a lime-green shirt, running about three meters ahead of me.

As we summited the hill leading back to Marine Drive, I felt pretty fatigued – my stomach was giving me quite a fright; I am always afraid when running with these sorts of cramps, that I am in fact mistaking them for some other horrible digestive ailment.

But I figured as long as I ran as fast I could, and just got to the finish line, I’d be okay.

Turning around at five kilometers, there was a dude in a giant gorilla costume, and I gave him a cracking high-five.

Running up at UBC is always wonderful, because not only is it beautiful, but the people (mostly students) who come out and line the course are always fun, funny, and incredibly supportive.

I passed Greg as he was running to the turn-around; the guy looked just great – relaxed, happy, and totally in control, and we too exchanged high-fives as we passed each other.

From there, I was just working to get to 8k, telling myself over, and over again how easy those last two kilometers were.

It also helped that as the race continued, the sun came out, and it turned into an almost blindingly beautiful morning.

At the 7km mark, one more lady passed me, and I really started to dig in and try to keep my pace, if not speed up. I didn’t think my dream of a sub-40 was going to come true, but either way there was no reason not to run my absolute hardest for the rest of the race.

Turning into kilometer eight, the wind hit me full blast. I didn’t know if it was a nice respite from the growing warmth of the day, or a pain in the butt just slowing me down.

I decided it wasn’t that important, either way.

Nine kilometers was in sight, and as soon as we turned around to the last straightaway I could feel my legs getting looser, my strides longer, and breathing easier.

I passed two men with whom I had been playing tag with all race, and just ran as hard as I could to the finish.

Daniela was there to cheer me on, and a lovely volunteer handed me a medal.

postrun

I immediately joined my friend, and we waiting only a couple minutes longer for Greg to come charging down to the finishing gate.

It was pretty epic to behold.

In the end, he finished in 45:30 (amazing for his first time running a 10k race!), 11th in his age category, and 51st overall.

With a time of 42:15, I finished 4th in my age group (5th woman overall), and placed 30th in total.

Not shabby!

They we showered-up, gorged ourselves on comfort food (see below) and spent the next few hours playing board games, and laughing ourselves silly.

fries and shake

Because what else, besides running, friends, food, and fun, is life all about?

If there is anything better, I want to know.

I run, therefore I am (a Fall Classic)

Running the Fall Classic is always an experience. As the last race of the season, it truly attracts all manner of competitor – from the hard core runner who competes in nothing but teeny, tiny running shorts and (maybe) a tank, to those who have been training all year for – what will be – their very first 10k.

Because of this eclectic mix (and the fact that it’s near always freezing, raining, or winding – or some combination of all three) the day is marked by an atmosphere like no other.

There is a real camaraderie in the air.

I chalk this up to one BIG reason:

The people taking part really want to be there.

I mean, why else would you subject yourself to the late-Fall elements on a Sunday morning in mid-November? Off the cuff, I can think of a few things that may be just a tad more comfortable (and warm, and cozy) than careening about UBC while fat, frigid raindrops spatter your face, and soak your runners.

(Just a couple mind you.)

For me, as much as I love the blanket forest I like to call a bed, I really wanted to end the (running) year on a high note, and knew that taking part in this run was just the ticket.

So come Sunday morning, I picked up the lovely Ms. Alannah (from her own bed of rest), and together we drove into campus.

(Side note: UBC has changed so much since my time there as a student! It was mind blowing to see all the new residential and retail developments that have popped in areas that once were nothing but a home for trees.)

As we neared the student recreational building – where I was to pick up my race bib and shirt – I realized that I had forgotten my wallet at Alannah’s house. Never one to waste an opportunity for a minor spaz attack, I quickly bellowed, “MY WALLET ON NO HOW WILL WE PAY FOR PARKING THE DAY IS OVER!!!1!1!.”

Luckily, my co-pilot, being much saner than I, whipped out her trusty pay-parking app on her smart phone. Before I had a chance to even squeeze out one anxiety-related tear, she had paid for three hours of parking, and had taught me how to top up in case we needed more time.

Genius.

Then it was off to pick up my gear, check my bag, and head over to Irving K. Barber library (a warm, dry haunt situated right next to the start line) where we got the chance to glimpse the leaders of the half-marathon (they started an hour before us 10kers) as they flew by, finishing their first lap of the course.

Before we knew it, it was already 9:30 and time for us to take off.

Just standing outside for five minutes before the gun went off was enough to put a wee chill into my bones. I was wearing long running pants, a compression shirt, my tough mudder t-shirt, and a toque, but even still, the wind was winding, the rain, raining, and the cold, colding.

I couldn’t count down the seconds fast enough.

It’s always a bit of a mad-dash-gong-show whenever the gun goes off. You’re trying to find your pace, and your place among all the other runners, trying not to clip anyone’s heel, or box someone out.

Again, I felt that my speed was fast, but not uncomfortably so, and I figured I would go just go with the flow – pushing my body, but not to the point of distress.

Speaking of which, the women with whom I ran the majority of the race sounded like a bloody train! I was so worried that she was going to collapse, or burst a lung, what with how hard she was breathing (and from the very outset at that!) Talk about incredibly disquieting and discombobulating. I let her run ahead for most of the course, and then ran past her in the final one kilometer.

I’m not going to pretend as though this didn’t fill be with a little bit of (perverse) happiness.

Heh heh heh…

Anyways, back to the course, as the gods wept overhead, we zigzagged along Marine Drive, enjoyed a few stunning ocean vistas, and cowered in the shadows of the foreboding, but beautiful tree line that decorates much of this stretch of road.

When we turned around at the 5k marker, the wind immediately died and it was at this point that I realized wearing a toque may not have been the brightest idea.

In the words of GOB: I had made a huge mistake.

In order to save my head from exploding due to extreme heat build up, I yanked it off and mashed it into my pants’ pocket. At first this was mega-weird, and I felt a tiny bit conspicuous, what with the giant bulge I was now sporting on the left side of my body, but after about thirty seconds I promptly forgot that it was even there.

Runners zen dear readers.

It will make you forget about anything.

As we snaked back through the university, my stomach began to feel a little queasy, which only served to make me run faster.

My legs were feeling a little stiff, but I tried to power through this (slight) case of lethargy.

Before I even knew it cow bells were being rung in every which direction and I was just powering it with everything I had to get me across that finish line.

It’s been so long since I last ran a 10k (in a race) and after three consecutive half-marathons, I was a little incredulous that the whole thing was already over.

I congratulated my heavy-breathing running mate on a race well run, before heading towards the Student Union Building (or as we affectionately call it, the SUB) to change out of my gear. I phoned M, let him know how the race went, and then returned to the finish line to cheer on Alannah as she completed the course.

Overall, I ran a solid 42 minute race, and was the 13th female to finish (57th overall)

For a rainy, windy, cold, cold day, I couldn’t have asked for anything else.

Although the delicious syrup, and raspberry soaked waffles I inhaled at brunch were a fabulous bonus.

You’ll listen to it twice, on the radio

Hi kids.

Do you ever get the overwhelming urge to just shout out: “What do you mean constantly talking about it isn’t going to make me any less tired!?”

It’s been but a four day work week and I’m totally ready to pack it in for the next seven.

Good grief.

However, fab happenings this weekend include running the Fall Classic 10k on Sunday, and then later that night hosting the Storytelling Show on Vancouver Co-op Radio.

If you cool cats wish to tune in as yours truly burns up the airwaves, please fix your dials to 100.5 fm (if you live in Beautiful BC) or else surf on over here to catch an earful.

Nine p.m. sharp!

Also, tomorrow I have two talks with the United Way, and then later that night, the man with whom I share my home (but so rarely see outside the hours of 11pm-6am – if you wish to equate “drooling quietly while asleep beside his comatose body” with “seeing”) are going on a date.

Meep!

We are finally going to check out Skyfall and see what all the fuss is about.

I actually really like James Bond flicks – whether they’re old-school cheese-fests or Jason-Bourne-only-in-a-tux (as I like to say about the Daniel Craig iterations) – so I’m looking forward to watching Mr. Broccoli’s latest release.

In the interim, Fry-up time!

If you think I’m sexy.

So in my post this past Monday, I published a photo of just some of the sweet records M and I listen to whilst up on the Sunshine Coast.

One of the singers highlighted was Rod Stewart, and as I mentioned to one of my lovely commenters, my love for Mr. Footloose and Fancy Free pretty much knows no bounds.

I bloody well adore him.

Just last night, I was driving home from my weekly meet up with my Little, and this song came on the radio:

OMG this tune absolutely slays me.

For instance, I can remember the exact moment I heard it for the first time.

Summer.

I am dancing to this song at my grandparent’s fiftieth wedding anniversary.

I am twelve years old.

At one point everyone – all of the aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, my grandparents – join hands and start dancing as one big group, moving to the centre of the circle and then back out again, whooping it up, laughing, smiling; just having an absolute blast.

The love I feel in that moment is so overwhelming I feel as though my heart is either going to burst from my chest and or leak out of my shoes. I so badly don’t want to cry, so instead I smile so wide that my cheeks ache and I swear I can feel a softball wedging its way halfway down my throat.

So even though they are good tears, I don’t want to make a scene, as I am sure no one would be able to understand the myriad of emotions that are running rabid about my body.

In the end, I actually have to go to the bathroom to gather up my wits, as eventually no amount of nutty smiling could keep my tears inside of me any longer.

My body is wracked by deep, guttural sobs, and I desperately blot at my eyes with scratchy paper towel.

It’s a strange (sense) memory, I know, but I will always, always long this song.

And Rod.

I will definitely always adore him.

You talk to a log?

So.

Twin Peaks.

Erm.

I just watched the first episode on Netflix last night.

M kept explaining how he thinks the show is a blend of a Kids in the Hall sketch and how he wishes he life could be.

I don’t know how to take this. Like, at all.

Anyways, I know that the people who love this show, love it like I love a Rod Stewart song, so I definitely don’t want to alienate any rabid David Lynch fans out there.

Suffice to say that I haven’t watched nearly enough of the show to formulate a decent opinion, so I will hold my tongue until I have the chance to immerse myself further in the program.

The one thing I will say is that so far is – V.V. WEIRD.

(But, again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.)

Just a v. v. weird thing.

Onwards!

Sweet, sweet charity.

If one of you could please purchase this and send it to me, boy would I ever be thankful:

(I don’t even need the hat.)

Also, I can repay you in excellent shrimp fajitas and apple-blueberry crisp.

I have references.

What are you mad hatters up to for the weekend? Are you Twin Peaks fans? Also, let me know if you need my mailing address.

Finally, please pray for mojo that the downpour stays away and I’m not washed down the drain on the course come Sunday.

Because if I’m not running like the wind, I’ll be streaming by like the rain.

The sky’s the limit

Hey chickadees.

I cannot believe that it is already Friday. The mind boggles.

I took this snap of the sunrise yesterday morning:

I seem to have developed a rather large obsession with the sky, in all of its variations, which has manifested itself in an insatiable need to take dozens and dozens of photos of everything from mid-day cloud cover, to startlingly brilliant sunsets.

But in all honesty, my favourite will always be the sorbet coloured striations that divide up the early morning, and patch together the early evening skies.

Always.

Fry-Up Time!

Tom Hanks.

So I watched Sleepless in Seattle for the first time the other night and I have to say it wasn’t half bad.

Despite never really warming to Meg Ryan, I’ve always loved Tom Hanks – in particular 1980s/1990s Tom Hanks.

Sure, I haven’t been that a big fan of his work post-Y2K scare, but nothing will ever take away from the majesty of his early stuff.

(Except of course, for Joe vs. the Volcano. What broke acip trip was responsible for that hot mess?)

Erm, right. So what I’m trying to say here is that while I don’t go to see any of his newer stuff, I certainly do love to dip my toes in his more seasoned pool of material.

For instance, I always, always laugh my face off while watching The Burbs. Yes, I understand that this movie is completely daft and terrible, but nothing will ever stop me from falling over during the scene when the weirdo neighbours drive their garbage to the bottom of the driveway and anytime Mr. Hanks goes absolutely bonkers.

(Which is pretty much the entire film. See the below video for details.)

I will never stop laughing at pretty much every scene in Splash, I LOVE That Thing you Do (and still know every single word to that song), and A League of Their Own is, well, in a league of its own.

Remember kids: Avoid the clap.

It’s sound advice!

Anyways, I was thinking about ole’ Tom as the end credits to Sleepless were rolling, and I was trying to figure out what it is about this actor that I like so much.

M put forward the hypothesis that so many women (and dudes too) love Tom Hanks because he’s a normal human being. He’s not stereotypically “hot”; he’s not ripped, or suave, or an Adonis in human form.

He’s attainable.

Women (and men) can actually see themselves with him.

Men (and women) can see themselves being friends with him.

While I’ve never thought about Mr. Hanks this way, I can see his point.

However in my case, what really does it for me, is the fact that Tom is the absolute master of the hilarious angry yell.

Even when he’s pissed off, he’s bloody entertaining as heck. Seriously, check it out:

Ohhhhh, I die.

Next!

Elevated discourse.

So it’s no big surprise around here that I am massively in love with my cat and will pretty much do anything for her because of how nuts I am about her.

However, of late I’ve really started to notice just how barmy I sound when I talk to her.

(And just how barmy I sound even typing out those words.)

But it’s true. I’ll be walking around my house, jabbering on like a monkey in a tree, regaling Nymeria with details of my day, when I’ll just start telling her over and over again how beautiful she is.

Eventually I’ll transition to complimenting her on how good of a job she is doing of cleaning her paws, how awesome that last yawn of hers was, or how impressed I am that she jumped up on the windowsill with such grace and agility.

Sometimes I’ll just pick her up and do nothing save mutter “beauty cat” over and over and over again. (Sometimes for variation, I’ll make those words into some sort of three syllable nursery song.)

I’m seriously waiting for the day when she’ll turn, look at me and say, “Look lady, is it possible for you to stop talking to me like I’m some kind of simpleton?”

But until that day…

Ten kilometers go!

So I made the executive decision to sign up for the Fall Classic 10k race.

It’s on November 19th, so it’s bound to be raining, and freezing – but I think I have managed to coerce a number of my amazing pals to also run, so I am really looking forward to a massive post-race hang-out fest.

(Hopefully somewhere warm, and dry, where people won’t be turned off by our non-stop laughter.)

When I signed up to race, I had to enter my estimated finish time, as the two individuals with the closest guesses will win a New Balance prize pack.

I submitted a conservative forty-two minutes, but I’m hoping to run it faster than that. However, I don’t know how the rain or cold will affect my race, so I figured I would rather be safe than sorry.

My comedic genius of a friend Alannah just entered: I’m done when I’m done.

Brilliant.

Also, I think she may have made herself an automatic shoe-in for the prize!

Humour and brains, folks.

Humour and brains.

(If I was a zombie, this is what I would put as my “ideal match” in the zombie classified ads.

So that’s all she wrote folks.

A very merry weekend to all of you fab chaps!

I hope it’s absolutely smashing.