Cha-Cha-Cha

cha-cha

There was one of those Facebook posts going around not too long ago that said something like this; “Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a cha-cha.” (I later found out the quote is attributed to author Robert Brault) And at the time I took it in with a grain of salt as I do any words of wisdom imparted on social media- but I reminded myself of those words last week as I lay in a crumpled heap on the floor of my yoga class, whispering to the teacher “I’m OK!” after hearing something go “pop” in the general area of my left hip and bullock and my leg just kind of giving out. I lay there trying to get myself together with tears of self pity running down my face- not so much for the pain but because I was immediately mad for this happening and at myself for having the thought “Man, I am on an exercise toll!” just before the class started.
I basically spent the last week feeling poopy. Limping, when I tried to walk but in more pain when I was sitting to long. So really, pretty useless.
I have been feeling frustrated, bummed out, irritated and restless, and none of it has felt like a cha-cha.
Things began to change when I read this story a
bout Harriet Thompson, the 92 year old American woman who just ran her sixteenth marathon and broke the world’s record for being the oldest woman to do so. I am a bit obsessed with stories about awesome old women, I am constantly on the look out for stories like Harriette’s and I find myself studying them in the hopes of being able to figure out what their secrets are for being so fabulous for so long! The thing that pretty much rings true with all the women I have read about is an optimistic outlook, that and perseverance. And with that revelation I cued the band to play a cha-cha and lead myself to the dance floor.
I finally went to see an osteopath today (for the first time) and I am feeling considerably better already. I won’t be running today, and maybe not even tomorrow, but I am pretty determined to be running when I am 92.

Shut Up and Run

I finally got out for a run. I have been here, in Birmingham UK (3000+ miles from home) for 5 days now and after a whole lot of pep- talking (me to myself) I did it and it was glorious. I had been thinking about getting out there A LOT- but was having all the regular anxiety I often have in new situations, and have been talking myself out of it. You would think that at my age (48) and with the kind of experience I have in travelling (7 trips to Europe alone in the last 2 years) I would be pretty laissez faire when it comes to making myself at home in a new city and surroundings- but in fact, I have an awful time with really settling in. Part of it is the loneliness/homesickness/nostalgia that I wrote about yesterday and part of it, I think, is just my totally awkward social nature. Yes, me, who as a teacher, performer, and Mother of six has to deal with other humans almost constantly, actually  has a medium to high level of anxiety of dealing with other people and in particular strangers. But even more importantly, I hate looking like I don’t belong somewhere. This is why I love David Sedaris so much because he says so many things, about feeling awkward, especially in foreign cities, that I feel. He did a great interview NPR’s This American Life on his experiences in Paris that I relate to so well.

So! In the case of me procrastinating going out for a run, it was really nothing to do with me just being lazy and everything to do with feeling discombobulated in a new city, For example, because I am staying right in the city centre, I was nervous about running aimlessly through the busy streets and having to worry about traffic (I CANNOT get used to the whole cars on the wrong side of the road here and literally have to speak out loud to myself every time I cross the road saying “look the opposite way!”). So I did what any good PhD student would do and I researched it. I studied maps and then went for a test “walk” yesterday.

And this morning I went for it and headed out. (I carefully chose this morning as it is a bank holiday here and hardly any traffic). And it was, as I said glorious. In less than 10 minutes I was on the Birmingham Canals. And it was absolutely gorgeous in all the  most cliché ways. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and after I finished chastising myself for being so utterly ridiculous in buying into my silly anxieties,  I plodded along in the most satisfied way.

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Not waving but drowning…

I really think I need a different hobby… This running thing is KILLING me, which is kind of strange since I have been running very little lately. I’ve been THINKING about running a great deal and driving myself insane…

I need to figure out this IT band thing, and I need to figure out a cross training activity that I can fall in love with and commit to. I feel drawn to yoga, I did a few classes of Mike Dennison’s Runners Yoga which I liked very much- but as with everything in my crazy life, so much of it has to do with fitting it in to my (or the kids) crazy schedule.  I know a regular yoga practice would probably do wonders for my aches and pains, it’s just a matter of doing it- I am setting my sights on next week. Next week everything will change.

I was quite excited about this week- it was the first week since my work term had ended and I had BIG plans, that included running, yoga classes and working on my Grad school application… but then sick kids and school professional days happened and I have got NOTHING done.

I need to regroup, refocus and face the truth. I will not be able to run the half next week. there is an 8k race I will have to do that. I just bought myself a very expensive race t-shirt. boo.

My IT band is sore all the time, not just when I run. I have pins and needles running down my leg constantly. Not good. I want to fix it. I want to run another marathon.

I miss running- I really don’t feel “right” when I’m not running on a regular basis- I’ve got to get back there somehow.

Sneakin’ one in…

A very brief update…

Had a couple of great weeks… feeling strong and goin’ long… but in the last week life’s been CR-azy and I am really just trying hard to maintain- Getting out for a few 5ks and a 8 if I’m lucky.

I even “snuck”  in a run today… literally… so much to do and on top of it, the ol’ man gives me much grief about being so selfish as to run when there are things to be done- he really doesn’t get the “I function so much better when I exercise” thing- so I just got back from a run that he doesn’t have to know about ’cause he’s not here!!!

I just gotta get through the next couple of weeks- fight to maintain and then worry about the rest later.

Things that are working/Things that aren’t

I’m back baby!!

In the past 2 weeks I have gotten into a bit of a training groove. It hasn’t been all rosy 100% of the time- it is a process- I’m taking it day by day- but I’m happy to report that I had a “4 runs” week and then a “3 runs” week and I started out this week with 10k yesterday and a swim this morning. Giddy up!

Things that are working;

1. Prioritizing. Which means- go for a run and leave the dishes if the kids are at daycare and school and/or the ol’man is in a good mood and will “babysit” (whatever?!) It also mean realizing I am FAR more efficient after I exercise- I have, in the last 2 weeks been back to a running schedule AND gotten back on my feet with a course I am taking. Coincidence? I think not.

2. Run every other day. My knee/IT band does not like to be called into action 2 days in a row.  Cross training will be key and something I will have to push myself to do.

3. Do not panic if I cannot shower after a run. Getting the run in is priority- there are ways to freshen up without a shower, and with my schedule there are some times where I cannot do both. Big deal. But please feel free to let me know if I stink. Really.

4. I have just re-discovered the joy of on-line grocery shopping (SPUD.CA) As the working and running Mum of 6 I gotta say I love it! If you are interested in trying it use the code CRVAN-HOLSHC and each of us will get a $25 discount. They even have a huge recipe section where they show you the recipe and you can put the ingredients right into your cart for checkout. Pricewise they show you comparisons with major grocery chains and they are they same and/or slightly lower than the competitors AND if you have a standing order you get 5% off AND 20% off many bulk orders.

5. Signing up for a race gives me the motivation to get my butt out and running. I knew that about myself- so what took me so long?

What’s not working;

1. Need to stretch more need to stretch more need to stretch more…

2. Strengthening exercises… do them!!!!

3. Drink water- seems like a no brainer- but uh, apparently I have a HUGE brain.

All in all- things are looking up- Mamalegato is running and all’s well… until the kids get home and I haven’t done the dishes ’cause I was running.

Run-iversary

I miss running. I miss running a lot. Lately as I been driving like a crazy woman to work and back, picking up and dropping off children, I will pass places that I used to run when I was training for the marathon. It is the “far away” places that get to me the most. I see them and I can remember how I was feeling. Pacific Spirit Park across form #’s 1 and 2’s school, The MacD’s in Kerrisdale that became a regular bathroom stop on long runs, the intersection of West 33rd and Granville…crossing Granville always made me feel like I was truly doing a long run.

I am too busy to run right now. I usually make an argument about this, knowing that I must always give myself that push to just make time- but I have less than no time… I’m fighting to stay a float here. Just a sampling of what is going on; I’m working 2 days (plus 1 short morning) a week, I am WAY behind in this for-credit university course that I am taking and trying desperately to catch up, we are full on in reno-hell here . Our downstairs is unusable, everything is jammed into the upstairs, there is dust and debris everywhere with a constant parade of trade guys coming through the house, and the ol’man goes to work and then comes home to work on the house which means that I have to do all the extra-curricular activities on my own, these include for this week 9 hockey times (games and practices) 2 piano lessons, 1 choir rehearsal, 1 1st Communion class, 1 Confirmation Class and 2 dance classes. I have not gone to bed before Midnight and I have gotten out of bed at 5:30 everyday. And then there’s the homework, (mine and their’s )and lunches and cooking for 8 people everyday. Oh yeah, and I’m taking the boys to U2 tonight and I have tickets to see David Sedaris Sunday. STOP THE MADNESS!!

I am really not complaining per say, it is more like I am trying to let myself off the hook for not getting out there to pound the pavement, because I do, for whatever reason feel a tad “guilty” for not running.

 

But mostly I just miss it. My body misses it. I just don’t feel right.

October 31st marks the anniversary of my Marathon journey. I cannot believe it was a year ago that I started this whole thing. In the back of my head I have a plan that would see me, on Nov 1st, starting it all over again. That is what I would like to do, I would however also like a nap. We’ll play it by ear.

The Slump

It’s official, I’m calling it, I am in a running slump… although it’s unclear as to whether I ever really hit my stride or got into any real groove after the marathon (2 months ago now- ooooo I’d hadn’t really thought about it being 2 months- a long time non?) I have just not been able to find my mojo, for lack of a better term. There have been many circumstances contributing to this lack of running enthusiasm and quite frankly I have felt quite motivated mentally much of the time but have just had so physical issues and family issues standing in my way. Having said that, I’ve always kind of made it my policy not to put the blame on anything except myself when it come to getting things  done. I find taking full responsibility and “owning” my responsibilities (whether they be to others or to myself) is the only way to get things done. Set some goals, and reach them- how you get there is your own business but it has to get done or what’s the point in setting a goal?

So I won’t whine about these antibiotics that are just wiping me of my energy, this unexplained knot in my lower back, these children that are home for summer vacation and need constant supervision/entertaining or my big toe which is bandaged and throbbing and which I can’t put any weight on after I stepped on a %&*@$ nail sticking out of the floor last night, because I don’t believe in excuses or whining, I believe in getting the job done.

So there.

Are We There yet?

Next time I tell you that I’m looking forward to spending 4 days in a hotel room with 6 kids slap me ‘k?

 

No, really, I joke, a lovely time was had by all for the most part, except for the first night when I sliced open my hand on a wine glass that I had tried to stop from falling when #5 knocked it over at dinner… I probably needed a stitch or 2- but that would have been a HUGE inconvenience- thank God for waterproof band aids… Oh, and then there was my van breaking down on the way home… kind of a bummer when your vehicle just loses power and you are in it with 5 children! (The ol’ man was in the truck with #1 because we cannot all fit in one vehicle) The saving grace? we had made it all the way back into the city, like 10 minutes from our house, I was in the curb lane and was able to coast to the side to pull over, we have BCAA roadside assistance who were great and towed us to a garage (turns out it was the alternator- replaced for $350- not in the vacation budget but what can you do?!)

We really did nothing on vacation but swim and eat and watch Seinfeld reruns- but that was OK-  we all just needed to hang out together- so mission accomplished. There were almost no skirmishes (the last evening being the exception when choosing a movie became the issue) I didn’t run at all because I felt bad taking off and leaving everyone, but that’s OK too. We swam close to 4 hours a day- the pools there are gorgeous and warm and the little ones especially had a blast. Another big event was (and always is) trying to get all the kids in one photo smiling or at least looking at the camera- we could not quite pull this one off.DSC_0237

So when does school start?!

 

Kidding!

I’m actually looking forward to these slow start mornings (Look! It’s 7:16 am and I’m not running around like a mad-woman!) I’m planning on lots of beach time- hanging out in the backyard and taking everything at just a slightly slower pace (I know, I know… good luck with that one!)

Today is also my first official day of training for my next half which looks like will either be  Diva on The Run or The Fall Classic. My neighbour and several other friends ran The Scotia Bank Half  yesterday and I have to say I was a little envious, a good sign that I’m ready to get out there and train. The last few weeks have been very low key running wise- really it’s all been low key since the marathon- I had wanted to jump back in but should have known better that the end of the school year and all it’s craziness would take over. As well, my knee is still not cooperating fully. I went for a 5K yesterday and it was giving me trouble- I am far from panicking but it’s a concern all the same.

I’m still searching for the perfect programme- if anyone has any suggestions I’m open! Something challenging yet easy on my middle-aged mother of 6 body being preferred.

Lawn Karama

I took a different route on my run yesterday- I had to walk #3 to his soccer game so I decided to just continue on from there and check out a little pocket of my neighbourhood that I don’t often see- about 10 minutes in I pass by a house with a push mower out front with a note attached to it reading “Free, please take me and use me”- 

We have just “fixed” our sad looking lawn and have cut it only once with a weedwacker- in fact we went looking for a lawnmower but decided that we would have to wait until the next pay cheque to get one considering there was nothing less than $200- and here was one in excellent condition for FREE!

I am a frequent peruser of Craigslist- I have bought things and sold things on it and I have a huge problem with people selling there crap for more than it’s worth. It is my belief that anytime you use Craigslist it is to find a bargin or to be trying to get rid of something or pass it on to someonbe who needs it- and to do it quickly. The few times I have sold things they have gone in a couple of hours and it felt good to get rid of it.  I have also posted things for free with the same results- gone fast to someone who really wanted/nedded it.

 

So I was thinking there was some really great Karma going on with my pushmower find. Thank you to whoever lives on East 16th bettween Prince Edward and Sophia. I almost pushed it home but thought that might look weird (who cares, right?) so I “sprinted” home jumped in the van and worried that it would be gone when I got there- but it wasn’t.

Came home, mowed the lawn.

I should vary my route more often.