You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘marathon’ tag.

Image

I’m sitting on the ferry and my tired mind is trying to calculate precisely what leg of the journey I’m on…I stop because at the best of times, calculating isn’t all that fun.

It began just 6 days ago, when I packed up the Delica and slowly headed to Cortes Island for Social Change Institute at Hollyhock. 

It was her maiden voyage as a new convert to waste veg and I was 2 parts excited and 1 part nervous as I drove to pick up a crew of fellow SCI’ers. I was also several parts guilty as I had not fully disclosed the Delica’s top hill climbing speed of 40 km/ph or the fact that I was completely in the dark with the waste veg fuel thing and if we broke down on the highway my best solution would be consuming the contents of the tank so we wouldn’t starve.

Fortunately, we managed to make it to Hollyhock without incident and without having to learn what cold fryer oil tastes like.

I am still processing Social Change Institute…a concentration of the radicalist of the radicals, environmentalists with hearts so green they made the superb garden jealous, journalists, poets, activists, spiritual warriors, healers, artists, poets, young people and young at heart people in a place where ancient cedars cast shadows on the sea.

The whole experience was a bit like being spun in a cotton candy machine of bright ideas, positive energy, and beautiful connections. I felt like I was spinning and being layered by this sweet ethereal experience. Exhaustion and euphoria made the colours brighter, the voices more melodic.

It seems I had been craving this energy and so I consumed it heartily. I think it was this deep intake of goodness from so many brave and intelligent change makers that propelled me on my run on Sunday. I felt buoyant and moved by something both inside and outside of myself.

I hope I am able to store and harness this energy on my upcoming journey. It is the ultimate form of renewable energy! 

Well I’ve been gone for 12 days which in blog-landia is probably equal to 23 years or something. I’ve come to realize that bloggers, like cats, adhere to a completely different concept of time. They also get notoriously perturbed when you disappear for awhile, so I realize I’ve probably alienated all of my 5 followers. Damn. If you’re still out there somewhere, I’m sorry. I’ll spare you the details of how life stuff upended my priorities-which should of course be 1. blog 2. run 3. work 4. eat. I promise to never leave you that long ever again. Would a Whiskers Tuna Temptation make everything better? Works for Mojo…

Anyway, the good news is that 1) I am writing this on my new computer and 2) I am not writing this from prison for the brutal murder of the UPS delivery guy that despite his job title didn’t seem that interested in delivering my computer.  

The other piece of somewhat interesting news is that I will be running the relay distance. Myself. This summer. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

This thought emerged in the wake of some mega doses of inspiration from Matt Hill-an energetic soul that ran around North America (11,000km!!) raising awareness about environmental issues and actions on behalf of his foundation Run for One Planet (as a side note, Matt’s also a celebrity voice actor, whose cherished cartoon characters included Tenderheart of the Care Bears and Rafael of the Teenage Ninja Turtles?!! How freakin cool is that?!). We talked about the relay idea and he asked me if I had considered doing the run myself and I was like: “um…huh…well…maybe.” And then it just hit me….what better way to meet people in the northern communities fighting the pipeline and to share their stories with the world? I will be armed with a POV camera and can have face to face interactions with the leaders that have inspired me in their stand against Enbridge. In return they can feel that they are not alone in standing up for what’s right.  

Matt told me to ask my body for permission on my long run that day and sure enough my body gave me the thumbs up. I can’t say that it was an enthusiastic thumbs up, but there was a willingness to give it a try.

Fast forward several other conversations with trusted friends and loved ones- and lo and behold I have support. So now all I need to do, is assemble an all star team of volunteer helpers, get myself a bio-diesel RV and run across the province. 1170 km is only 29.25 days of running 40 km /day. Less than a marathon a day. I can do this. Exhale! 

I’ve found that when something is hard to grasp in the mind, (as in it’s hard for me to wrap my head around running a marathon a day for a month), its helpful to ask the heart. So that is what I’ve done and my heart has offered a resounding “YES, let’s do this.” I simply cannot sit back and allow the atrocity that is tar sands expansion to take place without doing absolutely EVERYTHING in my power to stop it. Canada’s democracy is in shambles- Harper has already promised that the Enbridge proposal will be approved (before the public review process has concluded). Writing letters to officials just isn’t going to cut it. Audacious displays of courage are what is needed.

I have been so inspired by the words and actions of the many that are fighting this proposal. There is a massive ocean of resistance to tap for strength. I work with a woman that has declared that she is willing to go to jail to stop this proposal. She’s middled aged and has worked for government for most of her adult life. She certainly does not fit the profile of a radical, although Harper and Joe Oliver would disagree since apparently we are all radicals if we have concerns about a proposal that threatens life on this planet, now and for our children.

So I have begun to train harder. I will start running twice a day. And when my body tires, and doubts start to infiltrate my mind as I know they most likely will, I will consult my heart and push on.

All I need to do is recall the words of this man: Garth Lenz, a photographer who speaks movingly about the tar sands and the plans to expand their reach. 

The True Cost of Oil:

Watch it. Be moved. Take action. 

 

 

 

 

  

I’m talking about between my toes. It was a tip I read on this running site: http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/beginners/your-first-marathon-words-from-the-wise/2800.html

…and I have to say it’s an excellent one! Toe chafing is highly uncomfortable as is any kind of chafing for that matter so I have begun using vaseline strategically for all my long runs.

I also had to do some research on the delicate matter of my lower intestines violently trying to escape my body (I think you know what I’m getting at here) at about the 2 hour mark of running. It’s an extreme situation that I’ve come to learn is whimsically referred to as “runners trots.” Having grown up around horses, I find this term highly amusing…What’s not amusing is actually having a fierce case of the trots descend upon you, forcing you to frantically scurry into the bush for what can only be described as a mild exorcism.

Once the shaking and sweating subsided I found myself a little worried thinking about race day and how awkward the “trots” would be. Apparently, too much fibre and caffeine could be to blame (guilty on both counts) and just having “novice” bowels as it were. I actually read that it is an affliction that happens to novice runners…It seems my bowels have some maturing to do. I’m delighted that this marathon is supporting personal growth on so many levels.

Other than this super personal stuff that I’m sure everyone finds fascinating, I’ve really been lucking out with the weather for my long runs. Monday was a gorgeous blue bird day that looked right out of an ad for Whistler Blackcomb, much like these:

http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/photos/index.htm

(I figure if I don’t take pictures, I can at least show some that others have taken)

Better still, check out the work of local photographer legend Blake Jorgenson:

http://www.blakejorgenson.com/photography/

So that’s about it. I am off to do some Fartleks at the gym. I sure hope they weren’t named after someone. That would have been one awkward childhood.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself and my little ole playlist until I did some research on the world wide web and discovered this blog:

http://www.remanents.com/blog/best-running-music-ever/

This guy makes playlists for his runner wife and friends- that are timed to specific beats per minute. “Jamie” for instance has “Best Running Music- Jamie’s Mix: 140-160 BPM (for runners w/ mile pace of 9.5-10.5 minutes).” All I can say is: Wow.*

So he is pretty much ruling it in the husband department and the making playlists for runners department.

As a result, I’m now feeling insecure about my playlist. I just threw together peppy songs I like. What if the BPM’s are all wrong? Perhaps it’s the reason I’ve been running a 23 minute mile? Just kidding. I only just made this playlist, I’ve been running that slow all on my own 🙂 (Really I’m just kidding)

Clearly, I’m in need of some help. THANK GOD, WordPress offers polls! I thought it was just a kitsch reference to Heathers (remember Heathers?!), but no the Poll is an extremely useful tool that I’m certain will come in wicked handy. Too bad, the functionality doesn’t function on my computer (Note to WordPress. Macs are cool now. Why can’t we all just get along?!).

So, here I’ve got a sweet little poll inquiring about best first songs for running playlists and I can’t upload ANY of the options. What gives?!  Before it even had a chance, my poor little poll has gone from “Damn! that’s good poll!” to “Ho hum, I guess I’ll go watch the English Patient now”

So my apologies for the mundane non-multi-media-ness of this poll.

I welcome any and all musical suggestions.

* There is a treeplanting term for this kind of person and it’s “High Baller.”

It never failed. Whenever I was studying for a test, my Dad would ask me if I knew the definition of the subject. So there I would be madly cramming and stressing out about the intricacies of social contract theory or constructivism vs deconstructivism and my Dad would be like: “Do you know what politics even means?”

Um, not what I need right now, Dad.

But, I have to hand it to him; looking up the meaning of a subject provides contextual information that can come in pretty handy (and occasionally get you bonus points on exams!). So while I am all too familiar* with what a marathon is in theory- a whopping 42.195 km distance that you run, walk (or crawl)- I knew nothing of the origins of the word or history behind it until I looked it up. (Thanks Dad).

Allow me to share a little bit about this incredible tradition.

The modern Athens Marathon commemorates the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield at the site of the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C., bringing news of a Greek victory over the Persians. Legend has it that Pheidippides delivered the momentous message “Niki!” (“victory”), then collapsed and died, thereby setting a precedent for dramatic conclusions to the marathon. (Source: http://www.athensmarathon.com/marathon/history.html)

Here’s hoping that my own dramatic conclusion to the race isn’t death. Although being able to exclaim “Victory!” over Enbridge and the forces that want to bring oil tankers and pipelines into the Great Bear Rainforest-one of the most pristine places on earth would be amazing.

Sadly, it feels like a marathon, though a tremendous personal goal, is not newsworthy enough to gain the  the necessary publicity. I’m starting to think I need to run a longer distance, maybe 1177 km- the same length of the proposed Enbridge pipelines? This may be a bit ambitious for my little legs. But maybe it could be done as a relay race?  30 people each running 40 km across the province of BC? Enbridge sponsors “Ride to Conquer Cancer.” This could be a “Run to Conquer Enbridge.”

I wonder if there is anyone out there who would be willing to join me? Seriously.

*Since signing up for the marathon, I feel like the number 42.2 km has been burned into my cerebral cortex. Quite frankly, I’m just in awe of running that far. My brother Derek said he was driving the other day and measured the distance.  “That’s really far!” he exclaimed. “You’re like a super hero!” Which is just about the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to run alone. In my experience, running with someone entails all kinds of awkwardness. Like who gets to set the pace? Inevitably, you’re forced to run either too slowly and end up feeling resentful (or smug) or you’re forced to run faster than is comfortable which leads to eventually having to stop and apologize profusely. “No no no, you run ahead. I don’t want to slow you down!” No, no it’s fine! I always run this painfully slow. It’s all good.” It’s not all good. Everyone ends up feeling bad in this situation.

Then there’s the expectations regarding talking. I enjoy talking- on the phone, over wine, during a rousing game of “Say Anything”- but not while I’m trying to not hyperventilate. Running is a time to just run, not idly chit chat with your too fast / too slow running buddy. I think if you can talk easily while running, you’re probably walking.

And finally- the race experience. I have only had one of these in recent history- the 25 km Comfortably Numb trail race I ran in Whistler last year. It involves a 1000 metre elevation gain and a steep shale descent at the end, so it’s all kinds of fun for the knees and ankles, but mostly what sucked about it was running with a bunch of other people.* Don’t get me wrong, pre and post race everyone was nice enough, but during the race there was a competitive energy that just rubbed me the wrong way. You pass someone and you can feel them getting all bent out of shape about it and when you get passed by someone, well… you’re all bent out of shape about it.

So there you have it. I am a fiercely anti-social runner.** That being said I absolutely adore my Runny Buddy. In all fairness, Amber Cowie is pretty much my buddy in all things (she’s my life buddy :)), but this is the first time we’ve taken our friendship to the level of Running Buddydom. And so far- amazing. When I first mentioned signing up for a marathon, everyone else gave me looks that said: “Are you insane?!” Only Amber was like; “I’m insane. I’ll do it with you!”  So here we are. She supports the cause and hates oil tankers and pipelines just as much as I do. She created a training program that I’m following, and I suggested she stop eating so much candy and try eating some hemp protein instead. She sends me encouraging texts and makes sweet comments on my blog.  I tell her how she can stretch out her IT band (yoga baby). We make running playlists for each other (mine is soo going to dominate). We make jokes about bleeding out of our lungs and puking after running. We share our marathon nightmares***

AND we never run together. It’s the perfect relationship.

*Getting lost also sucked. Somehow, despite the neon pink flagging tape blocking the wrong trail, I ended up following a girl down the wrong trail, down (and then up) a steep hill- for 25 minutes! We discovered our mistake when another runner came running towards us and told us we had gone the wrong way.  This was early on in the race so super good start. Although, when I realized I’d ended up running closer to 30 km, I was like well maybe ‘”I could do a marathon….”

**With one notable exception. While living in Sierra Leone, I joined a running group called the Hash. Its a British tradition that ex-pats around the world have picked up. It involves weekly runs following a paper trail with false tracks that takes you through back alleys and courtyards, along goat paths, through rivers and along garbage heaps in the blazing heat. Everyone drinks beers afterwards and if you do 25 runs or more you get a super offensive nickname. So pretty much hilarious.

***Mine 2 nights ago: Me and Amber are going to do a practice marathon, but I end up falling asleep in the middle of a road median (?!). When I wake up I realize I’ve missed the practice run, and I frantically set off. I bump into Amber who says suuuuper casually; “Oh ya, I’m already done. It was easy.” And I’m like; “ahh, I’ve still got 4 hours to go!” and wake up a little pissed at Amber quite frankly.

Amber’s: She eats too much candy and wakes up hungry.

Tonight I cheated on my marathon. For yoga. It was a classic case of seeking out the warmth and comfort of an old friend. I should probably feel more guilty about this, but me and yoga go back a long way. I even call it “yogs” (pronounced ‘y-oh-gs’)- we’re that close.

I really did have every intention of doing my 7.5 km run today, but I should have known that it just wasn’t in the cards. You see, I started my day by going snowboarding (yup I live in the playground for grown-ups called Whistler), which was awesome except (and here’s where the whining begins), it wasn’t. For starters the wind had scoured a lot of the snow off of the mountain and second it was cold.* Even some of my guy friends were complaining about their fingers being cold, so it wasn’t just ‘girl cold,’ it was actually cold.   I was hanging with my friend Liz that I hadn’t seen in ages so we were toughing it out, but it wasn’t long before we threw in the towel. Not before consuming a beer and a cookie, which was my second indication that the run probably wasn’t going to happen.

I still hadn’t clued in when I got home though, because I proceeded to make a running playlist- for the next 3 hours. Unfortunately, thinking about running is not the same thing as actually running (sigh).

I ended up with the mother of all playlists (to be shared soon!), but found myself sitting on the couch, in my running clothes, but not running. [brace yourself for more whining]. I looked outside and noticed it was getting dark out. AND it was snowing. AND I was still kind of cold from earlier. AND there was a yoga class about to begin so…there you have it- I caved.

And damn it was soo good. It was a nice warm room and stretching the hamstrings and hips felt goood. I’m just going to chalk it up to a momentary lapse. Tomorrow is a new day.

*I should have known it was cold because my feline friend Mojo did ‘cold paws’ when I suggested he go outside to play with Bo this morning. (yup, Mojo’s best friend is named Bo, which would be super cute if it weren’t for the fact that Bo tends to beat the crap out of Mojo). Cold paws look like Mojo is trying to flick water from his paws but really are code for “brrrr, I’m not going out there. Are you crazy?! What I will do is have some tuna and sleep for the next 23 hours.”

I’m a week into my training and on my “off” day (that’s marathon parlance for “no running today, thank god”), so I thought it would be a good opportunity to review my progress. Here’s a checklist of accomplishments and reflections to date.

1. Sign up for marathon. Eek! and check.

2. Running Buddy? Yup, Ms. Cowie is the best. Supportive text messages are surprisingly reassuring.

3. Excellent cause that has resolved my run’s (albeit brief) existential crisis? Yes. This is a mission to support good (the Great Bear Rainforest in its pristine state) and conquer bad (oil sands expansion through BC and the Great Bear Rainforest).

3. Training and nutritional program? Uh huh. Gots’ me some powders to give me super powers!! Um, I’m talking about Hemp protein and Endurox (not, you know, those other kind of powders that give you super powers).

3. Gear? And by gear, I mean leg warmers?  In spades. They’re bright blue and even though they look like Mojo the Fierce Feline Ninja chewed on them a bit they do the trick. Mojo is also in training.* I wish they were thigh warmers too because my thighs were awfully red and cold after my 10 km in -30000 degree cold yesterday. And itchy. Calves remained toasty, not itchy- perfect! (BTW I do wear leggings under the warmers, I’m not running around in the nude like a nut or anything…)

4. Playlists? Ok for now, but will need some refreshing soon.  There’s only so many times I can listen to Azalea Banks 212 (quite possibly the awesomeist, potty-mouthiest song ever recorded). Love. It.

5. General condition and motivation level? Feeling strong and stoked. I think mixing yoga and snowboarding into my schedule keeps it all interesting and my body on its toes. I ran 28 km last week and everything still works.

6. Extremely supportive husband, friends (human and feline) and family? Definitely. Amber and I have even recruited the husband (Nate) and practically-husband (Ben) to cheer us on from the sidelines and pass out beside us afterwards (hopefully not in a pool of our own puke and blood). Amber and I have minor goals of finishing the race with all of our insides still on the inside.

A pretty good start I think. I plan on elaborating on a few of the above topics, but it would be great to get questions or suggestions from readers, especially you BearRunner. You are my first (and only follower) so I’m looking to you for suggestions…

*To eat the most tuna.

**So no, he’s not a ninja.

***But he is black and kind of sneaky like one. (He wanted me to mention this)

****Minus the sleek physique (because of all the tuna). (I reminded him of this)

*****And not all that sneaky due to an abnormally loud constant waking purr and perpetual sleeping snore. (Seriously, I’m going to Utube it. Ridiculous)

Since deciding to run the Edge to Edge marathon, I have been contemplating my motivation and real reasons for doing it. It seemed like a whim at the time I signed on, but I’m pretty sure it was cooked up by my sub-consciousness for some deeper purpose.

I’ve been thinking about intention-setting. Awhile ago, I stumbled across this amazing blog by Steve Pavlina called, “Personal Development for Smart People,” (because I’m good enough, smart enough and doggoneit, people like me”) that talked about intention-setting. I have a sneaking suspicion that Steve is of the self-help ilk, but I found some of what he had to say, well, helpful. Pavlina’s premise is that you have to be crystal clear about the polarity of energy behind your intentions. In other words, you must decide whether the outcome of your intention to meant to benefit yourself or to benefit the world around you. He makes a pretty good case for choosing one or the other explaining that the interconnectedness of all  beings means that benefitting the self will benefit the whole and vice versa. Interesting stuff. Check out: (www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2007/02/the-1-mistake-people-make-when-using-the-law-of-attraction)

So the question is: is this marathon about me working towards a personal goal or is there a way for this marathon to forward a cause that I really care about? Personally, I feel that intentions are stronger when they are directed outwards and goals easier to achieve when they are devoted to something bigger than myself.

For some time now, I have been following the developments of the oil sands expansion proposals submitted by Enbridge, Kinder Morgan and CNRail. I am deeply concerned with the prospect of any of these going forward, particularly the Northern Gateway pipeline that would transport bitumen from the Alberta tar sands across the vast province of BC exiting in Kitmat, the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest.

The proposed Enbridge pipeline would cross some 1,000 streams and rivers, including sensitive salmon spawning habitat in the upper Fraser, Skeena, and Kitimat watersheds. Five important salmon rivers that would be impacted are the Stuart River, Morice River, Copper River, Kitimat River and Salmon River.

The likelihood of a spill is a near certainty; “The National Enery Board estimates large petroleum pipelines will experience a spill every 16 years for every 1000 kilometres in length.” [National Energy Board, Analysis of Ruptures and Trends on Major Canadian Pipeline Systems, 2004].
The consequences of tanker traffic in the Douglas Channel near Kitimat (disturbing marine life like humpback whales) let alone a spill at any point along the massive pipeline would be monumentally disastrous. It would be devastating for not just the environment, but for the First Nations and BC communities that rely on the integrity of the natural environment for the sake of their health and for their economic livelihoods. Wait- that’s virtually all of us.

The prospect of such a project and similar tar sands projects  being approved despite the tremendous outcry by First Nations and other BC communities has struck at my heart and I have been seeking out ways of supporting groups opposing it.

It occurred to me (on a run of course), that I could create a blog that would detail not only my running progress and epiphanies (of which there are many), but would also serve to raise awareness about this issue. And voila, kimnsrunningmonologue was formed. I am still trying to figure out how I can raise funds for protecting the Great Bear Rainforest, but I feel like this is a good first step. In the posts to come, I will write more about this issue and how it is progressing. Hopefully I will get some feedback from you good readers as to how I can raise funds and further increase awareness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Normally I reserve closing my eyes while hitting send for impulse buys on Etsy, but 2 days ago I found myself causally hitting send for something a lot less whimsical than a pair of vintage Mary Jane’s.

With a single click I signed up to do the unthinkable- run a full marathon.

The idea came up at a dinner party a few weeks ago, over wine no less. My friend Katie who likes doing crazy things like run really really far, mentioned that there was an “amazing” (her word, not mine) marathon between Tofino and Uclulet June 10th and wondered if I would be interested in joining her. I casually declined with the excuse that friends were getting married that same weekend and that I would be out of town. The conversation shifted and we turned our attention to our spring rolls.

I actually did think my friends were getting married that weekend, but no, when I checked the invitation later that night it clearly indicated they are getting married on the 29th; apparently leaving the 10th open to all kinds of fools missions.

I could’ve just left it at that, but once a seed is planted sometimes it tickles and itches as it grows. Instead of keeping my mouth shut like a sane person, I found myself mentioning the “crazy marathon idea” to my best friend Amber, who remarkably thought it was a great idea (damn her). I had thought Amber would be the one to talk some good sense into me, but somehow running a marathon together made sense. Again, I think there might have been wine involved.

So two drunken dinner parties was all it took to get me to pay the good organizers of Edge to Edge Marathon $98.60 for the privilege of running 42.2 km. Gulp. Typing the number ‘42.2 km’ after the word ‘running’ just seems unfathomable, if not plain wrong.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy running. I have dabbled in it for a number of years now, which is why Katie mentioned the race to me. I even managed to make it through a grueling 25 km trail run last spring (more on this later), but it never crossed my mind to do a full marathon. In fact , the 25 km run was at the time reason enough to never run again. Ever.

Time has a funny way of working on the memory though. It softens the edges of hard times passed, making them seem romantic and packed with glory. The pain seems heroic instead of, well, painful.  I suppose this amnesia where painful experiences are considered is necessary. I mean how else would Mom’s have a second child? Pamela and Tommy Lee get back together?

Many moons ago, Amber and I were treeplanters. We were young enough that stumbling through the woods with bags that weighed as much as did for hours on end in the pouring rain seemed fun… in a hellish kind of way. Somehow being brave and dumb enough to be a treeplanter, even though is was a decade ago, still feels a little like being part of a small warrior class, enough to get a nod of respect from fellow planters for life.

So perhaps this marathon is a chance to reclaim some of the old treeplanting glory. It’s a chance to see what we’re made of and have one another for support, like the good old days.

 

 

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 13 other followers