Tag Archives: sleep

Why I’m not running Vancouver this weekend

Oak Bay Half, here I come!

I was excited about running the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon again as recently as Tuesday.

Tonight though (Friday), when it’s time to be packing and hydrating and fueling, I’m looking forward to spending a few days at home instead.

I love Vancouver, but I’ve been back and forth a lot lately and one more trip just looks like No. Fun. At. All.

I just got back from there yesterday. If I was to go to Vancouver tomorrow, I would return by ferry Sunday afternoon, then turn around and go back to Vancouver Tuesday through Saturday next week. I’m getting exhausted just writing all that, let alone running a 21.1 km race on Sunday to boot.

I don’t think M. feels all that great about my traveling either, and we discussed it tonight. If she were to come with me she would have to work around my race instead of having fun with Mom in the city.Training run

I’m not without choices though: most of my other running clinic buddies are signed up for the Oak Bay Half Marathon on May 16. I can sign up for that one, hop back on the final two weeks of their schedule by running 1:30 or 1:45 tomorrow and some hills on Wednesday, then taper (again) for another 10 days. Heck, it would even be cheaper than taking the ferry over and eating all our meals out, etc.

In the end it comes down to this: I run for fun. It’s not an imperative, it’s not a job. It’s a way to challenge myself and feel great afterward. It doesn’t matter if I run Vancouver or Victoria; it doesn’t matter if I run sub-2 hours or 2:15. What matters is I show up and feel good about my effort.

So, the plan has changed – I’m in training for another 2 weeks and I’ll run in my own town May 16, after sleeping in my own bed the night before.

Photo: me (front & centre) and my gang, about an hour into a long run, about a month ago.

Running with children


Tori with grandson Oliver, 3 days after running the 2009 Royal Victoria Marathon

I love a running group: meeting new people, finding out why they run, what they do besides running, what motivates them. It makes the hours and the effort float by effortlessly. One new running buddy is a woman with two children, aged 6 and 9.

I must admit – at this stage of my life, with a self-sufficient teenager at home and two grown children (including one grandchild) – I couldn’t imagine at first how one trains for a half marathon with little ones. Case in point: my new running friend was going home after our run to prepare for her son’s birthday party and host a family dinner –that same day.

“Whoa – I usually go home and have a nap on Saturdays,” I said.

“Yeah – I’m going to be exhausted,” she said.

In contrast, I went home to have a glass of chocolate milk, a leisurely soak in the tub, eat some lunch, do some errands in the Village, have coffee with friends, make some appetizers and then, later on, shake some martinis a small get-together with some other friends.

I do remember training for a half marathon when my children were that age. It can be done! with a little creativity and trusting that your kids are all the better when their mom takes care of her health. For instance, my kids and their friends loved that I could do cartwheels, especially when they were really little.

Here are some of my tips I shared with my new friend:

• Figure 8’s: while the kids played with each other in the front yard, I ran 800 m figure-8 loops around the two blocks surrounding our house, waving at them as I ran by. Even if it’s a short run it’s better than nothing.

• Candy Cane Park: along the same lines, I found an open play park with a nice loop where I could keep an eye on the kids playing while I ran around, and around, and around. Hey, it gets boring, but you can join the kids afterwards and do stretches and pull-ups on the playground equipment. Note: tracks are really boring for little kids, try to find an open playground instead.

• Cheap child care at rec. centres: take advantage of it! Look around – most of them have some child care times. They’re usually bedlam – but they’re only there for an hour or so, and most of the time the kids have a ball and you can get your workout in.

• Swim or skate lessons: most facilities have a workout area that’s available for you while kids are in their class. Get on that treadmill and work out when they do!

• Bikes: kids on their bikes, you running. Try and keep up, will ya?

• Take them running with you! This usually meant my son – he’d sprint ahead and stop to catch his breath. When I caught him he would sprint ahead again .. and so on. Make a short loop so that when child decides he’s had enough, he can go play with friends while you keep going. (P.S. my son – now age 22 would still be running if he hadn’t torn his ACL playing football last summer.)

• Get Dad (or a friend) in on it to trade off child minding duties. My ex-husband and I liked to run together, but it was a treat because usually we could only go one at a time while the other stayed home to mind the children.

• Get up at an unseemly early hour. I still do this. It’s my “me” time: 5 – 6:30 am.

• The running stroller. Never had one, they were out of our price range – but I always wanted one. Train while pushing your child, and when race time comes you feel so light and free! Actually, I did wear out (very quickly) one cheap stroller when my youngest was about 18 months old. We found out the hard way – I was running down the street and the thing just – disintegrated. Wheels fell off, I’m eating pavement, daughter is laughing, tipped over sideways on the sidewalk. Luckily we weren’t far from home, and I only wounded my pride.

No excuses – just do it. You do have time to take care of your health – if you make it a priority.


Streaming consciousness

When the rain moistens the streets and the leaves limp and slick underfoot threaten  banana-peel humility I slap on a headlamp and chase the drops falling in its beam of light.

Three workouts in 36 hours. Not enough to outrun the deafening silence of still unfulfilled dreams.

Slick with sweat last night, no window open wide enough. Perimenopausal? Flu? Nerves? Restlessness?

We all have our reasons for running. Mine are no different and no clearer and no more mundane or less important than anyone else’s.

The hills slay me. I choose them. They are my poison. Post-marathon, there’s no training group and I am finally alone. I forgot how much I love to go inside – deep inside – when there’s no chatter and laughter and distracting us from 3 hours of tightening hips and growing blisters, averting our gaze from the boredom and the pain and the effort.

I love the boredom and the pain and the effort. I love the wet soaking through my jacket, I love dancing around puddles and the thrilling little shock of cold wetness on the toes. A surprise – I find a fresh alley, a new tree, a shiny streetglow under a lamp that wasn’t on at this time 3 months ago. I find a new insight, a poem written and forgotten before I see warmth again, a story plotted with characters and lost to the search for a bagel back in the cozy smallness of the kitchen.

I am naked when I run alone.