Monday, May 27, 2013

Mother's Day 10K

It's been over two weeks since my last race and I still haven't written a race report. To be fair, things have been a little hectic around here.

On Sunday, May 12 -- Mother's Day -- I ran in the Sporting Life 10K down Yonge Street for Camp Ooch. This was my third time doing this race, and it's definitely my favourite course. It's just so much fun to run straight down Yonge Street.

This year, I set a goal of running a 10K faster than than last year -- actually I wanted to run a sub-65 minute race. But as the winter dragged on and on, and I felt extremely unmotivated to train, I believed that such a finish time just wasn't possible. I just didn't train enough to feel I could achieve that goal and as race day approached, I figured I'd be lucky if I could shave a minute off my best time (which was 1:09:37 by the way).

But on the morning of the race, I made a pact with myself. I decided that if I wasn't completely exhausted when I got to the end -- then I hadn't tried hard enough to go faster. I mean, what's the point of having energy in reserve at the finish line?

And so, at 8:30 a.m. on a rather chilly morning, I started out down Yonge Street with 27,000 of my closest friends. Apparently it was the largest charity race in Canada -- or something like that.Whatever it was, it's the first time I've participated in a race where it actually feels crowded. After the first kilometre or so, it spread out, but even then, you still had to be careful as you weaved around people and passing definitely involved an extra burst of speed.

I decided not to use my running app -- figuring the voice in my ear would just frustrate me if I wasn't at a pace I thought was acceptable -- and just decided to run and enjoy myself.

And I did. At the 1K mark I gave high-fives to my cheering squad. At the 5K mark I took a short walking break to have a drink. But I felt good and felt the need to keep moving on rather than resting. And so I did.

By 7K, my legs wanted to quit but I told myself to keep pushing on. By 8K my brain wanted to quit but I told myself to keep pushing on. I barely remember 9K -- I was too busy telling myself to keep pushing on.

About 500 metres to go
When I crossed the finish line, I was exhausted but didn't know my exact time. The clock at the finish line said 1:37 and change -- so since my corral started 30 minutes after gun time, I easily subtracted 30 minutes from that time and figured I finished around an hour and seven minutes.

I was pretty damn happy with that.

And then...about an hour later, I was finally able to log in and see my actual time -- 1:03:37!

I had shaved off exactly 6 minutes from my previous personal best time! I don't know how I pulled that off -- but the sore legs the next day proved to me that I did.

I was ecstatic and still am. That's probably the last time I'll run that specific 10K race (27,000 people was just too crowded for me) but there'll be other 10K races in my future. That personal best time motivated me to run again.

Now it's time to look forward to my 5K with Austin and to decide if I'm crazy enough to run the half marathon again this fall.

My cheering squad

Friday, May 17, 2013

10 years ago, I married my best friend

Ten years ago today I married my best friend.

When we got married, we had already been dating for almost six years – living together for almost three. So I think that many people figured it was about time we got around to getting married. Which is a far cry from the people who thought we wouldn't last six months when we first got together!

I still don’t entirely know why some of our friends thought we wouldn't last when we first got together. (We’re still good friends with many of these people, so there’s no hard feelings or anything.) I guess they thought we were too different. But I didn't think so. And Ryan certainly didn't think so – he after all had had his eye on me for close to a year before I finally realized it.

Ten years ago on a cloudy Saturday afternoon, we stood before a minister in a cute little chapel downtown and promised to love, honour and cherish each other. As part of the service, three people read poems. This is the one that still stays with me today:

Sometimes in life, you find a special friend.
Someone who changes your life just by being a part of it.
Someone who makes you laugh until you can't stop.
Someone who makes you believe that there really is good in the world.
Someone who convinces you that there really is an unlocked door just waiting for you to open it.
This is forever friendship.
When you're down and the world seems dark and empty, your forever friend lifts you up in spirit and makes that dark and empty world suddenly seem bright and full.
Your forever friend gets you through the hard times, the sad times and the confused times.
If you turn and walk away, your forever friend follows.
If you lose your way, your forever friend guides you and cheers you on.
Your forever friend holds your hand and tells you that everything is going to be okay.
And if you find such a friend, you feel happy and complete because you need not worry.
You have a forever friend, and forever has no end.

Ryan, I love you more than words can say. You lift me up when I am down. You support my ambitions and respect my decisions.  You make me laugh and you love me for all my flaws and imperfections. And you’re a wonderful father to our children.

Here’s to 10 amazing years – I can’t wait to see what the next 10, and more, bring us. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Goodbye to a very special lady

Me and my grandma

Last Friday afternoon, the world lost a very special person. My grandma died, peacefully at the age of 98. I know I am so very lucky to have had her in my life for so long, but I will miss her more than I can possibly say.

For 37 years, my grandma has been an inspiration in my life. And although the last few years have been challenging as she struggled with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, she still showed me that life is a gift and that a smile and a kind word go a long way. She always had a smile on her face, always had compassion and understanding, and always lived life to the fullest.

There’s a story that’s been told so often in my family, that’s it’s almost legend. It’s the story of the night I was born.  I was born at 11:30 at night; and soon thereafter, my father called everyone he knew to announce the news – his brother, my mom’s parents, my mom’s brother, some friends and his mother. The only person  he couldn’t reach was his mother – my grandma. By the time he reached her to tell her of the birth of her first grandchild, it was after 1 a.m. She had been out dancing.

My grandma (with her sister) dancing at my wedding
Flash forward 27 years to my wedding day and there was my grandma at 1 a.m., and one of the last people on the dance floor. She was 88 years old and every time someone
asked her if she wanted to go up to bed, she’d always respond ‘oh no, I don’t want to miss this.’

She was so very proud of all of her grandchildren – always eager to know everything we were doing. One of her most cherished possessions were the photo albums she kept for each of us. We all had our own set of albums and, over the years, she must’ve spent hours upon hours putting our pictures in. There were pictures of us at Halloween, Christmas holidays, graduations, birthdays, summer vacations and of us, just being us. One of my most treasured memories as a child is going to grandma’s house, sitting on the floor in the tartan room and pouring over my photo albums. I wonder if part of my love of doing scrapbooks today is because of how much fun I had looking through those albums.

Another treasured memory  of mine is Christmas lunch. From the time I can remember until my late 20s, every Christmas morning was rushed through so that we could get to grandma’s house in time for (more presents and) lunch. And lunch was always the same every year – scrambled eggs, toast and cocktail wieners. And yes, my sisters, cousins and I used to compete to get the most mini hot dogs.

I’m so very lucky, because I’m one of the fortunate few who got to know my grandmother as I matured into an adult – and she got to know me as I grew from a child to an adult and into a mother of my own. In my 20s, I took several solo trips to Montreal to stay with her (and yes, I stayed in the tartan room, and yes, I spent time looking through my photo albums). We visited, we talked and we learned about each other.

Grandma holding Alexandra
It’s difficult to put into words what made my grandma so special to me – I could write thousands of words recounting memories and special moments and I still wouldn’t be able to get the right words out. Simply put, she was a very special and wonderful lady.

And so, when my daughter was born – her first great-granddaughter – we gave her the middle name Margaret in honour of my grandma. Now, at five years old, my little girl lives up to her namesake. She’s always smiling, she lives every day to the fullest and she loves to dance. Her great-grandmother would be very proud.

I’m so blessed that I got to spend 37 wonderful years with you grandma and that my children even got to know you, and you them. Goodbye Grandma. I’ll miss you more than I can possibly say.

Summer 2012

Grandma on her 90th birthday