Sunday, October 14, 2012

Post Marathon Bedtime Ramblings

Headed to bed soon (actually, it is SO MUCH BETTER than just that - I am going to bed on a Tempurpedic mattress with Egyptian cotton sheets, with a belly full of Neo Citran!) ... anyway, I wanted to share with you what I thought about a lot while running today.

I have several friends who have been struggling lately with feelings of "what's it all about?", questioning their own value and accomplishments to date. I think it comes with the mid-life territory (and I have been there).

Here is what I think. None of it means anything! AND it means whatever you want it to mean.

What you have done up until now does not count for squat. So what??? You succeeded in the past? So what? You failed in the past? So what? Everything starts anew every morning. If you choose to rest on your laurels you are going to get bored real fast. If you choose to wallow in your regrets, you will find that you can build nothing new on that. I have succeeded hugely, and found that I still had to get up the next morning and create all new results. I have also failed spectacularly, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the sun still rose again and that there was every bit as much life to live and potential to be realized as ever before.
The past - learn what you can from it and put it away!

What you say you are going to do in the future only matters if you are actually going to do it. The value in tomorrow is using it to determine what you are going to do today. Go ahead and make plans, set goals, share them. And then DO SOMETHING NOW!! Start as small as you feel you need to or as big as you want to. BUT START!

And what can you do now? Anything. Really. You may want to tell me that you have responsibilities, and I say GREAT. Then choose to have those responsibilities and do awesome stuff anyway. ESPECIALLY if those responsibilities are your kids. DO NOT MODEL "LIVING A SHITTY LIFE BECAUSE YOU HAVE KIDS" FOR THEM. Model having an amazing life of which your kids are an integral part.

Hopefully everyone who is going to UNFRIEND me for this next piece of unsolicited advice has already done so, but feel free to if you'd like. THROW OUT YOUR FUCKING TELEVISION. Stop watching other people play sports - play yourself. Stop watching other people on reality tv - go create a reality way cooler than they can even dream of. Quit watching mindless sitcoms - go out and laugh with real friends. Don't have any? Get involved in stuff and make some!! Stop watching bad news about what an awful place the world is. Go make the world better.

YOU HAVE CHOSEN THE LIFE THAT YOU HAVE. IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, CHOOSE A BETTER ONE. WILL IT BE EASY? NO! BUT HOW EASY IS GOING THROUGH EVERY DAY WISHING THINGS WERE DIFFERENT AND DOING NOTHING ABOUT IT? You have tried and failed? Try again. And again. AND AGAIN. FOREVER!!!

Maybe you absolutely love your life - and I have a lot of friends who do. That is awesome and I applaud you. Keep doing what you are doing. Do not take any of it for granted. And help others any chance you get.

By the way, I did not run a particularly great race today. I slowed considerably in the second half and did not set a personal best time. In fact it was my second worst time ever. But I LOVED it! I saw so many people busting out of their comfort zones. I saw so many people cheering and supporting complete strangers. I saw so many people volunteering their time. And I loved them all and I love you.

And now the Neo Citran is kicking in. Wheeeeeeeeee! Good night ♥


Monday, October 8, 2012

When a smoothie is not just a smoothie...

Almost every morning that my daughter is with me she asks me to make her a fruit smoothie. Of course, I always do. Lately, she has often only been drinking a little bit and letting the rest go to waste. I was starting to get upset with her, and even thought of refusing to make them anymore. Then I realized this morning that my daughter does not care nearly as much about the fruit smoothies as she cares about having a loving dad who is happy make them for her. Suddenly I wasn't upset at all and was very grateful instead. Perspective is important ♥


P.S. All that said, I AM going to start making smaller ones! Haha ;)

Be Grateful for Difficulty.

Be grateful for difficulty. 
Most often, difficulty is the very thing that creates value. 

... It is whatever makes your job difficult that makes it worth someone paying you to do. 
... The wins we end up most proud of are the ones for which we had to fight the hardest. 
... It is in our toughest times that we have to find the very best in ourselves. 

What is the point of a life without difficulty? We should seek out difficulty, to stretch ourselves and grow. And when difficulty finds us, often in forms we would never choose, all we can do is embrace it, be grateful for it (however illogical as it may seem) and be made stronger by it - because it is happening anyway.

I am reminding myself of this lesson while life seems easy. So that it will be imprinted on my being for when I need it :)

Pains, sprains and gains!

This last month has been a hugely enlightening/educating/encouraging one for me in my still-young running life. 

Background: 3 years ago this month I ran my first race since Grade 9 X-Country - the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I hobbled through in 5:21, with brutal blisters from cotton socks and cotton underwear.

Since then, I've completed a Spartan Race, another marathon, a 45hr Death Race, learned about Pose Running, DNF'd a hundred mile ultra, PR'd another marathon, a 34 hr Winter Death Race, a GoRuck Challenge, DNF'd the 2012 Death Race, finished Tough Mudder in top 5%, completed a 50 mile ultra and won the Team Death Race in Killington, VT. Throw in a handful of 5k and 10k races, some great canoe trips, and lots of fun training adventures and it has been quite a couple of years :)

And Now: The 50 mile Haliburton Ultramarathon, September 8th, was a muddy, slippery affair. I never fell or even rolled my ankle, but came out of it with a nasty, persistent sprain. I Rested/Iced/Compressed/Elevated, but it would not go away. I went to see my chiropractor, Andrew Westelaken, who has done a spectacular job holding my body together through all of this abuse, and he sent me upstairs to Back to Function physiotherapy. Carly, the physiotherapist, was fantastic, identifying that, although my pain is on the right side, it is all related to the left side on my body not moving properly. She gave me several exercises as well as instructions as to what to look for while I run. I went for an 8km run that afternoon and WHAM - I could absolutely feel how I have been running incorrectly all along. All of my bunion pain and 5th metatarsal stress fracture and sprain problems made total sense!!

What's Next: So, this coming Sunday I will get about 26,000 chances to practice the proper foot strike as I complete my 4th straight STWM. Then two weeks worth of physio to prepare for my biggest challenge so far, the Rim to Rim to Rim run - from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to the bottom, across the Colorado River, all the way up to the top of the North Rim, then back down, across and up again. All in one day. It is only 50 miles but it is STEEP! Plus the temperature goes from freezing at the start to 100F in the middle and back down again.


I know that my ankle will not be fully recovered before the start of this run, and will likely be shredded completely by the end (lots of tape and ibuprofen), so I am also looking forward to rounding out 2012 with a couple of months of proper rest, physiotherapy, and very light training runs focused entirely on form.

Then 2013! Even bigger, bolder adventures to come (though the two HUGE ones on my radar are for early 2014 - stay tuned!).