I cannot wait to do this again

Today was a very good day.

I woke at 6 AM to the easy strains of my cellphone’s alarm and the cool darkness of an early east coast autumn.

Rufus and Simon – my mum’s two ragdoll cats – skittered into my room, eager to investigate my pre-dawn activities. Simon jumped on the bed and looked at me, his amber eyes still. Rufus mewled, rubbing his head against my leg.

I had laid out my race gear the night before – shirt, shorts, socks, bra, all stacked neatly on the chair in my bedroom.  As I crept downstairs, I was careful to avoid the creakiest stair. I made it to the spare bathroom on tiptoe, where I brushed my teeth and washed my face. The last thing I wanted to do was wake my mum as I prepared for the day.

I am particular about my pre-race routine.

Clothing, face, hair, coffee, food, water.

It doesn’t matter how far or important the race – I find great comfort in this ritual.

Together with my cousin David – who was also running the race – I ate a bagel with peanut butter and watched as the rising sun softly kissed our backyard trees, leaving their leaves aglow in a golden green.

When mum woke she joined us, and we sat and joked about all-natural nut butters.

Before we left, she took this great photo of Dave and I:

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As we drove out to the Musquodoboit Trailway, we listened to the CBC and shared with each other our favourite programs and hosts. We’re both big fans of As It Happens, This Is That, The Current and Day Six.

When we arrived, we picked up Dave’s race bib at the registration desk. Although the start line was splashed with sunshine, a tricky wind immediately cut through any lingering warmth we had carried with us from Dave’s truck.

For half an hour we joked and laughed and sipped water and used the porta-potties for the last time.

When the starting gun sounded, my feet were halfway numb.

I am always afraid of going out to fast. Time and again my need for speed has proven to be my Achilles’ heel, but today I decided to go for it.

And I’m glad that I did.

I ran a personal best of 41:03. I was the first woman and sixth overall.

I love running.

I love running purely and truly, and have written at length about this love.

But I also love to see others learn to love to run.

I love to see someone cross the finish line for the first time. See them marvel at their strength. Their resilience.

Revel in the depth of their heart.

In a brief moment, they are unrivaled amazement and awe.

Today was Dave’s first race, and he was extraordinary. When he first signed up he made a goal of finishing in less than one hour. He smashed that, completing the course in 58:18.

He told me prior to the start that he didn’t intend on doing any more races. This was pure bucket-list.

Less than one hour later?

I believe his words were something along the lines of, “I cannot wait to do that again.”

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Before heading home to Halifax, we stopped at Martinique Beach.

Today, this stretch of the eastern shore seemed to burn extra bright.

A horizon of the sweetest blue, speckled with fat clouds. The brilliant sun.

White sand. Dunes that danced.

A fall air that burned our lungs and stung our cheeks.

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And in that moment, I forgot everything: I forgot uncertainty and fear. I forgot that life can be unfairly underpinned by sickness and a suffocating sense of helplessness.

I forgot distance and longing.

I felt the sun.

And I thought: I cannot wait to do this again.

A late night’s pictures and dreams

Some things of note (if you will) –

I. The funniest Kids in the Hall sketch:

II. If you read John Cleese’s book “So, Anyway…”, and are even a modest fan of the man and his works, you’ll have the pleasant bonus of finding yourself reading the entire thing in his voice. It’s like having Basil Fawlty as your personal narrator (although to be fair, I am more of an Archie Leech woman, myself.) I finished reading this book approximately twenty minutes ago and found it incredibly enjoyable. I laughed out loud on many, many occasions, and found myself giggling so hard on public transit that a women standing just off to my right turned to me, tapped my shoulder, and told me that I was an “absolute delight”, before confiding that she couldn’t wait to dive into her copy the minute she returned home.

I told her to piss off and mind her own business.

KIDDING.

I blushed like a mad thing and told her that I was just excited for her as she.

III. My masked self:

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IV. Disclaimer: This next point will resonate solely with individuals who either live in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, or have spent enough time in Vancouver and its surrounding environs to know of which I write.

Chiefly, the utter madness that is Kingsway, and how lucky I feel whenever I manage to navigate this utterly insane stretch of road and emerge (relatively) unscathed – neither crumpled up inside my severely mangled automobile, nor having run over a rogue, clueless pedestrian (nay, pedestrians), nor having witnessed any sort of monumental crash-cum-pile-up due to another driver’s last minute decision to make a left turn on a red light an run ramrod straight into on-coming traffic.

That road is a bloody death trap.

And five hours later, my nerves are still shot.

V. Fashionable pantaloons:

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I recently bought these sweet running pants from Mountain Equipment Co-op. I love them because they make me feel as though I am wearing a patchwork of old movie stills, even though the pattern is actually beautiful abstract black and white shapes.

For the uninitiated, MEC is the outdoor gear MECca (har har) of every pseudo-mountain person (and to be fair, every hardcore survivor man/woman) this town has to offer.

The place is basically Whole Foods for purveyors of hatchets, kayaks, and tents. Everything is fair trade and organic (including your rage when you realize that you could have purchased the exact same sleeping bag for thirty percent cheaper at one of the other stores just down the road had you exercised one iota of free will and not succumbed to the tractor beam pull of this ridiculous outdoor monolith. But I digress.)

The reason that I was able to purchase these amazing pants in the first place was because my sister and brother in-law bought me another sweet pair at Christmas that were very unfortunately too big and needed to be exchanged. With the store credit I was able to procure these cool duds and now I feel like a right superstar every time I put them on.

(A real 1930’s dynamo, as you please.)

VI. Sun cat:

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FIN.