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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 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)

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