Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween...okay, ummmm, sure.

As a child, I loved Halloween. What could be more fun that dressing up in a costume and eating tonnes of candy??  Into my teens, my friends and I would dress up for our school dances and in university, the Halloween bash at the local pub was a highlight of the year.  But those were more innocent days.

Fast forward to 2012. I am the mother of a three year old.  We have regular conversations about what to do if a stranger talks to her, about not going with strangers, taking toys or candy from them, and certainly about never going into a stranger's home without Mommy.  Yet, at this time of year, we encourage talking to strangers, in fact we urge our children to knock on their doors and demand candy or face the consequences. What a world of mixed messages!

I always thought trick or treating was for little children but a friend told me that she is locking her doors and turning out her lights tonight because in recent years her trick or treaters have been adults...sometimes not even in costume!!!

Thankfully, I don't get anyone out to my house so I don't have to worry about strange adults in masks at the door.  *shudder*

This Halloween, we are feeling the effects of Hurricane Sandy - lots of wind and heavy rain.  In past years, I would have been disappointed by the prohibitive weather.  This year, I am somewhat relieved by the notion that the wee ghosts and goblins will likely stay inside although it will be a crummy run with the stroller.

In recent news, our community has been alerted to the possible presence of a sexual predator - someone the police have been trying to apprehend for over 3 months is suspected of being in our town.  News to strike fear into the hearts of parents everywhere.

On a running note, the clinic I am teaching has their practice night on Wednesday evenings. I am committed to running with my clinic so will take Miss Moon to a couple neighbours then head out for our run.  In my mind, at three, she doesn't need candy (I guess no one ever NEEDS candy) so we will go to our neighbours on either side, her babysitter's house and maybe to another friend's house then off for our run.  Her favourite trick or treat location last year was the Running Room, anyway (they gave out boxes of Vector cereal).  I will be sure to post a picture tomorrow but for now, here's a visual for you...purple, green & pink fairy pushing Little Red Riding Hood in a stroller decorated with glow sticks.  :)

So tonight, I hope all little ghosts and goblins are extra safe, that this year could be a return to more innocent times when it was a fun time for children - house parties with bobbing for apples, games, songs, and treat bags.  Perhaps I will host one next year.

Now, out for a run to ward off the effects of all the candy!!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

I love being a mother. I never imagined I would but I do. It’s the best thing I have ever done in my life. Ever.

Being a single mother can be challenging; definitely do-able but challenging.  Just like every other parent out there, I make sacrifices and I make tough choices. When I go for a run, I have to decide if I can afford a babysitter or if the weather/distance is suitable for pushing a high-energy 3 year old in the jog stroller. If the answer is no to either, then I don’t run.  If she is sick, I don’t run.  If she is feeling needy, I either push the stroller, or I don’t run.  Choices are made – sometimes I have to look at my budget and say “well, gas in the car and oil in the furnace are more important than a babysitter so I can go for a run.”  That is my reality.

Usually, I don’t mind.  It’s all on me and I am the one making sacrifices so my little one doesn’t have to – that’s my job.

On Friday, I took Miss Moon to the Imagination Movers. 

I bought the tickets months ago when they first went on sale.  The opportunity was there to purchase VIP tickets at a much greater cost ($200 for the two of us vs. $80 for the two of us). Obviously, I chose the less expensive option. The VIP package provided premium seating (first 10 rows), backstage passes to the “Think Tank" (a special “Party Room with an Imagination Movers theme. The Think Tank will have healthy snacks for all our Mini Mover party attendees”), an exclusive performance by the Imagination Movers, meet and greet/photo op with all of the Imagination Movers, a poster, and a special laminated VIP pass.

Now, I would have LOVED to buy that pass for Marlowe but I just couldn’t justify that amount of money, nor, frankly, could I afford it - $80 was stretching it for this momma.  I didn’t think it was a big deal and off we went to the show.

We arrived at our seats (aisle seats 16 rows back) and settled in to wait.  Miss Moon’s best friend soon arrived – stopped to say hello and moved up to her seat with her mom.  They had VIP seats. My heart broke as my angel asked if she could go sit with her friend. I told her no and she asked “Why, Momma?  I want to sit up there too.”  It was the very first time that our situation impacted her in a real way – sure I’ve made decisions before that were tough but now, at 3 ½ she understood that somehow what she had was different, not as “good” as that of her friend. 

Thankfully, the band soon came out and Mover Rich came running up the aisle giving high fives as he went.  Miss Moon got her high five and was mesmerized.  She took one look at her friend dancing in the aisle 14 rows ahead of us, let go of my hand and ran up to join her.  She spent the remainder of the 90 minute show dancing in front of the stage and on the stairs up to the stage.  Mover Scott crouched down and sang to her and she got multiple high fives from all 4 Movers. 

Ultimately, she had a wonderful time and doesn’t know that she missed out on anything.  And she didn’t. She got to go to a concert with her mom, dance with her 2 best friends to her favourite group, AND go out for ice cream afterward.

It is only mommy who had a little heartache over not giving her everything she could possibly want. (WHAT!????)

Yet, a good lesson lies in here for me (and for all of us).  I don’t have to give her the most expensive gifts or the fanciest clothes. I only have to give her my time and attention. She wants that more than anything. The concert she saw was the same as the one the children in the VIP section saw and she had a wonderful experience – something we have talked about each night at bedtime since then.

I used to think that I had to always choose frugality over fun – my little mover taught me that our fun has no limits.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Legs for Literacy 2012

In my last post I questioned whether I would be able to complete my 5th half marathon this year.
Yesterday, I did.

Sunday, October 21 marked my third Legs for Literacy event.
I woke early, as planned, and enjoyed my shower, coffee, and regular pre-race rituals. My stomach was in knots and I spent more time in the little girls' room than I would have liked. However, 7am arrived and off I went to the start. On the way over, I remarked that I wasn't feeling particularly confident about the race but my supportive beau said "Well, you know you're not going to win so you may as well just enjoy it."  


He was right. I will never win a road race (unless I outlive all my competitors and manage to take an age category in a few decades!).  But I can enjoy them!

Although I had originally trained in the 2h15m group, my lackadaisical stance on training since Scotland meant that I had been doing any recent training (read: very little training) at the 2h30 pace group.  I decided that I would try to follow the 2:30 pace bunny and if I couldn't keep up, I would just finish well, whenever.

I got to the start and lined up with the 2:30 group.  I took one look around and almost defeated myself - determining then and there that I would be lucky to finish in 2:45

The gun sounded and off we went.  It seemed a lot faster than what I had trained for...and harder.  Now, I could talk about the fact that I've had bronchitis for almost 1 month, and little sleep over the last 10 days due to my daughter's cellulitis but the truth is, I was just having an off day. 

I ran the first 3 or 4 k with the group but then nature called (whoops, guess I should have taken an entire immodium instead of 1/2) and I took my first potty break. By the time I hit the 11k mark, I was hurting and walked the next 3k.  I was certain that I wouldn't match my Scotland time, never mind beat it.

As I rounded up to the Gunningsville Bridge, I heard a car honking and looked up to see my boyfriend, my mom, and my daughter (waving wildly from her carseat). I caught a fresh wind, straightened up and took off.  I was still struggling but now I had motivation...they were on their way to the finish line and I still had a little over 7k to go.

I ran the next 2 k with the thought that although I might not PR, I would have my favourite people at the finish line. Just as I finished a walk break, I looked up to see them again - this time at the 16 k mark on the trail - they had driven over, parked and walked down to the trail to cheer me on.  I could feel the tears and energy as I got a huge hug from my 3yr old.  I shouted - "I have 5 k left. I'll see you soon. Watch for Roxanne!" (Roxanne is my BRF and was somewhere behind me on the trail).

As I reached the next water station, I felt my heart soar - it was the Moncton Running Room water station - filled with people I knew.  There were my first two running coaches, our store manager, and new runners in the Learn-to-Run and 5k clinic I am currently teaching.  It was inspiring. 

A quick drink and off again.

I started picking off runners - girl in purple shirt, just catch her then pass her.  Man in black and red. Girl with neon orange bra straps. Hot pink running shoes. 

One by one I passed them. 

As I hit the final turn around point on the trail, I felt the old familiar 18 k ache - what is it about that number that hits me so hard?  It seems that I always flag at that point. I pushed on.

As I neared the RR water station the 2nd time, I stole a glance at my Garmin and realized that it read 2:24...I was 1.25 k away from the finish.  I could do this.  I could actually PR.  Not could. I was going to PR - unless something drastic happened to cause me to run 1.25km in 14 minutes, I was going to beat my best time.  

The tears started. I pushed. 

I ran up Mechanic Street where I would make the turn onto Main Street for the last 100m

Before I made the turn, I stopped. Bent over, took a deep breath and shook my head.  


Crowds!  Music!  Familiar faces!

Now RUN!

And I did.

I crossed the finish with a chip time of 2:32:34 and Gun time of 2:34:16

5th and best half marathon - complete.

And I NEVER said Can't.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I can do it...Right??

I am scheduled to run my 5th half-marathon this year on Sunday...oh yes, it is also my 5th half-marathon ever.

In September, while on vacation in Scotland, I ran a half-marathon. I intended for it to be a training run and took my time, stopping to take pictures and chat with curious spectators along the way (I was the first Canadian participant EVER.  In 33 yrs, the first!) Yet, somehow, I achieved a PB, shaving 5 full minutes off my previous record of 2h43m.

Since then, I've kinda fallen off the wagon - runningwise.  I've managed a couple long-ish runs but haven't followed the plan the way I should have done.  So, I'm nervous. Will Sunday be a repeat of June's disastrous  Johnny Miles 1/2 where I actually walked 5km of the 21.1???  Or will I be able to did deep to my reserves of strength and gumption and pull out another PB?  Or should I run at all??

This half is really important to me. In 2010,  Legs for Literacy 5k was my very first race. Last year, I ran the 10k; this year the half; and FINALLY next year I hope to run the full.  My couch to full in 4 years plan :)
BUT if I miss this year, that throws the whole thing out the window.  ARGH!

I will do it.  I will. As I keep telling people, I'm built for comfort, not speed.

Stay tuned.