Thursday, October 21, 2010

Another marathon article!

I promise my final blog will follow soon!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I guess the fat lady is singing

Marathon Highlights:

* Watching drunk people run.
* Potato chips as energy food. This might be my sport after all.
* Seeing a dozen plus men, dressed up as Minnie Mouse, peeing in the vineyard. I don't want to tell you which one - I won't be held responsible for a subsequent decline in their wine sales this year!
* Doing likewise at a chateau (too much information?)!
* More men dressed in drag than at a Gay Pride Parade.
* Al the crazy costumes in general. The theme was comic book characters so there were Smurfs, Tintin, Asterix, Waldo, Disney, Simpsons, Star Wars...the list goes on.
* Passing people. I know this wasn't a competitive race but I confess that kept me motivated at kilometer 40.
' All kinds of music entertaining us at various stops.
* Eating grapes off the vine.
* Astounding chateaux and their landscaping.
* Several men's costumes featured bare chests - and bottoms.
* Village kids shouting "Allez, allez, allez!" and giving high fives to the runners.
* Other village kids holding up garden hoses to give us respite from the heat.
* Hundreds of people picnic-ing by the side of the route. This marathon is a regional spectacle.
* Running on everything from pavement to sand to rocks to gravel to dirt. No wonder my feet hurt!
* Fields of wildflowers interspersed between the vines.
* My snazzy SWAG: medal, backpack, t-shirt, and wine.
* No bugs!!
* Pouring water down my front and back to cool off.
* Being able to counteract my knee pain - which hit at kilometre 2 - with all the things that I learned from my therapists and it working the rest of the way.
* Getting an actual tan and about 30,000 more freckles.
* The recovery walk the next day past vines and sunflowers.
* Getting a little bit tipsy from all the wine tastings at the recovery walk.
* A fellow runner handing out tiny shrimp as a snack during the walk the next day.
* Watching Julie bandage up Bruce's feet the next day: four blisters on one foot. Yowch.
* The fantastic lunch the next day: charcuterie, lamb, chocolate cake, espresso, and wine.
* The Caribbean dance party the next day and my random German dance partner.
* Knowing I had so many people supporting me.
* Knowing with absolute certainty that I would finish.
* Finishing.

More thoughts to follow. Still processing.....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Marathon Newspaper Article!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

It's probably become pretty clear that I'm not doing this for fun. Sure, there have been elements of fun - lately we've taken to sitting in the kiddie pool at Eau Claire post-long run on hot days, protein smoothie in hand - but all this running nonsense has been for The Greater Good. L'Arche.

Up until a few months ago I'd been sticking to a degree of professional distance, trying to maintain that whole work-life balance thing. But at L'Arche those lines get blurred pretty easily. Lately, I've been wanting to connect more to these people in this Community that I feel lucky to be a part of. Hard not to when you are around the likes of Rosie, who greets me with a compliment every day and such a warm wave of welcome it's like a hug (and sometimes is). Or Basil, whose ongoing teasing about my high heels (he says I'm like a horse when I walk down the hall) makes me feel like I have a big brother. Or Dovie, whose unrelenting positivity and joie de vivre provide a swift kick in the pants just when you need it. Or Darryl, whose quiet, dignified passing in June has left a gaping hole in our L'Arche life.

L'Arche is home for all of these people. Safety. Comfort. Routine. Familiarity. Peace. Love. Laughter. Friendship. Belonging. Our homes are at the heart of L'Arche. These places where people with and without disabilities create friendships that transform each person and those around them. Though we are a registered charity, I believe there is nothing "charitable" about what we do. L'Arche isn't about 'providing service to' or 'doing for' people with developmental disabilities; L'Arche is about sharing life with them.

Think about what this means. It means an exchange among equals, each person giving and receiving, all having a place of the same importance. In the charitable world you often hear the phrase, "not a hand out but a hand up". To me a hand up implies one person above another. Not so in L'Arche. I often wonder what our society would be like if every "charity" looked at the work they did through the same lens as L'Arche. If we looked at those who were homeless, for example, and thought "I am sharing life with this person." How would it affect how we treated them? How we served them? How we walked through this world with them?

This whole endeavour is a fundraiser for L'Arche, my time spent a gift to them. Rogers Insurance Ltd., who I'm running with and whose idea this whole crazy thing is, has elected to have the funds they raise go to support the operations of our 5 homes here in Calgary. Though L'Arche does receive government funding we still need to raise $12,000 for each home each year to keep them safe and comfortable for our members with disabilities. These funds cover very basic costs like utilities and repairs and, this year, will subsidize some of our food costs as well. Rogers has raised close to $6000 to date and we would love for all of our efforts to reach $12,000 - to ensure one of L'Arche Calgary's homes is fully funded for the year.

If you still need to make sure that I finish, I respect that. I'm waiting to find out myself! (Though I gotta tell ya I feel pretty good about it) But I hope you will consider making a gift to L'Arche Calgary in support of this Madcap Medoc Marathon. All of your donations would go directly to a L'Arche home, none would come to me. I just ask for your positive vibes on September 11, when I'll be hitting the streets in French Wine Country.

To make a donation, you can go online at

You can also send a cheque to L'Arche Calgary, 307 57 Avenue SW T2H 2T6

As this race approaches (it's now a matter of days), I think I'm looking for reinforcement, for hands to hold and people to walk alongside me, for blessings from my fellow L'Archers. I certainly feel blessed to be part of this worldwide movement. I'm thrilled that I will get to meet its founder, Jean Vanier, as a result of this run. I'm happy that I now actually have some muscle definition in my thighs. I'm grateful for the one period in my life (outside of childhood) where I've been able to eat whatever I want. I may very well be the biggest beneficiary of all.

This isn't my last post. I'll try and do a couple from France and definitely let you know how I did. And I'll let you know when the two newspaper articles that are being done on us come out!

Thanks for sticking it out with me :-)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One Is the Loneliest Number

Every man is an island in the running world. Yes, you train in groups and race with a cast of thousands but at the end of the day you're running with yourself.

I don't know how to feel about this. It makes a huge difference to run with other people. Running alone, quite frankly, sucks. When I do my long runs on Sundays (26km this past weekend!) I feel like can take on the world. I haven't felt the runner's high yet but I definitely get into a zone of some sort. There are 7-8 of us all running at the same pace and we get into a rhythm which makes it easier to push on.

But running on my own for my training runs during the week is ba-ru-tal. Maybe I am just that boring, I don't know. I have to set my own pace and make sure I keep to it. The minutes drag. I feel every ache. I think I sub-consciously make my knee or Achilles hurt just to give me something to think about. I can only think about Colin Farrell for so long.

A few weekends ago I was wracked with guilt. In with my running group was my new friend C. She's been running about as long as I have, training for a marathon in December. And she just wasn't having a good day. So she dropped back about 3/4 of the way into the run. And the rest of us kept on going. It didn't feel good to just leave her and for the rest of the run I kept having this debate, "Should I go back? No, I gotta stick to my own pace". It just felt wrong somehow.

It reminds me of a story I heard from Special Olympics. I'm paraphrasing so I hope I get it right. It was a track and field competition and several Special Olympians were lined up at the starting line for a foot race. The gun went off and the athletes took off down the track. Part way through the race, one of the athletes tripped and fell, ending any chance he had of winning. The other athletes obviously had an even better chance to win the race with this new development. Instead, they all turned around and went back to help.

This story makes me cry every time. Another life lesson to be learned from people with developmental disabilities. That winning isn't the most important thing. That success is measured in other ways. That life lived together is better than life lived solo. So what's my strategy for surviving the marathon, where its every man for himself?

I will be running with 8500 people but I will be alone. That stresses me out a bit. I've relied on lots of other people to date but during the race its all up to me. Will the finish be as sweet then?

Check out the race I'm running,
Check out who I'm fundraising for,
Check out how to donate to my run,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Let’s face it, I took up running to look better. That’s what all runners do, really. "Being in shape" is a euphemism for "Dayum, I look goooooood". Being healthy as a result is a bonus.

I think I do look better, actually. My body has changed somewhat over this past year. I’ve shrunk in inches but my basic shape is still there. Unfortunately? Fortunately? My cursed knees are still fat (Moth of Optimism: beloved knees). But I’m toning for sure. .. from the bottom up and the top down. I’m seeing definition and musculature but it only seems to have made it up to my mid-thighs and from my shoulders down to my belly button. I’m trying to figure out what shape this makes me. I’m not an apple, or a pear, or an hourglass. I keep picturing in my head those yoyo-type toys where there are strings on either side that you pull to make the round yoyo thingy in the middle spin around really fast. Or a Tinker Toy.

My calves pack a punch but looking down on them they appear to be gigantic. Maybe a bit shapelier but that could be the huge, cramping knots in the muscles. They don’t fit into my zip-up boots anymore, though. I have mini-muffin tops!

Side note: have I told you about IMS needling? My physio does it to my calves. Puts acupuncture needles straight into the muscle knots to the base of the needles (we’re talking a couple of inches) and keeps moving it up and down, poking around the muscle to release the knot. This is an interesting kind of pain. It’s like it’s buried, muted some how. Kind of bubbles up to the surface. Last week she hit a capillary or something and I felt it in my toes. I think she’s in cahoots with my chiropractor. Some kind of fiendish, Sweeney Todd-like plan. (Moth of Optimism: they are saintly people with only my success in mind!)

I still have the squidgy bits at the tops of my legs but I learned a great thing: these bits are likely not fat but built up scar tissue on my hip flexors! Not good for running but good for my self-esteem. I’m hoping this applies to other parts of my body, like the bit right below my belly button, or the backs of my upper arms. In fact, I’m hoping that I am just a mass of scar tissue and not fat...wait...that would mean to get rid of it I’d need hourly ART and Graston therapy with a tool the size of a boat oar.

And then there’s my butt. I’ve been really hoping to see a big change there. It’s smaller, I think. But it’s retained its shape: pseudo-cube. My friend calls it Spongebob Squarebutt. I call it Office Butt; comes from sitting most of the day. I thought with all the leg lifts it would round it out somehow but no such luck. It does look okay in my new running skort, though. Skort!

Other good news: Yesterday I think I actually saw my obliques.

News to balance it out: I think the fat deposits that were there have moved around to my back.

Good news: Now that I’m starting to get some colour on my legs (albeit spotty) the cellulite is far less noticeable.

Balancing news: I think I have a varicose vein on my right shin. This may not actually be running related.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Some marathon links

Food! Wine! 8500 people! Mayhem!

All coming up in a little over 2 months!!!!!!

Note: I will NOT be running in a coconut bra!!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lethal Weapon

I have learned a ton these last months of rehab. Enough that I’m halfway through Chiropractic College, apparently. I’ve found all this biomechanics stuff really interesting (must be the systems thinker in me) and I’m eating up all the various treatments I’m being subjected to for their therapeutic qualities and associated information.

And this has all resulted in me being a judgy, judgy bitch.

I’ve noticed that in running, everyone is an expert. You have an injury? There are 18 million reasons and corresponding solutions, take your pick. Most seem to have a mostly anecdotal basis and I don’t find fault in that. We’ve all got our own experiences and realities. But lots believe that what works for them should work for you, too, and that they know what’s going on with you.

Me included. It’s not quite clear what my expertise is but I now feel compelled to critique all other runners. Not to their face, of course. But if you run past me on the pathway one Sunday morning know that I am eyeing your heel whip and counting your cadence. And you will be found wanting, guaranteed. I look at several things:
· Foot placement: There are a lot of ducks out there. From what I’ve seen, the majority of people run like their toes have opposing magnets. Or worse, only one foot resembles the duck’s, which makes me wonder if they end up veering off to one side when they run.

· Core activation: There are lots of booties sticking out there, folks (though this very well may be on purpose). Suck in that tailbone! It will actually make your glutes work more, which is better for your knees and will do a much better job of filling in the junk in your trunk than pushing that trunk out there.

· Arms: These things flap around all over the place. Half the time I think people are gesturing at me. Or doing a Ukrainian Polka. Your thumbs need to be pointing up, people! Keeps ‘em from swinging around, keeping your core stable.

· Attire: I have witnessed a lot of inappropriate clothing choices. Cotton T-shirts are bad news, especially for long distances. There will be chafing. Those hot pink Keds look fab but will destroy your feet (and everything attached) at kilometre 30.

I, of course, am doing it all

How did I get so insufferable? A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, they say. I suppose that makes me lethal.

There’s a bit of envy there for sure. Because it looks so effortless for others and has been such a struggle for me (But not anymore, right? No! I am the moth of optimism, I am the moth of optimism, I am the moth of optimism...) . And so I want to cut them all down (moth of optimism!), make them as miserable as me (moth of optimism!), make me feel like I’m not the only inept one out on the pathway (moth of optimism!). I’m afraid I’m not benevolent enough to wish them success. Something else to work on, I guess.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Robyn - The Rehabilitated Runner

It's been a while since I wrote. Some more knee issues and an itis in my ankle tendon. And lots of feeling sorry for myself. But I've sucked it up and emerged from my cocoon of negativity! I have shed the caterpillar of misery! I am the butterfly of good thoughts! The moth of optimism!

Or at least I'm trying to be. I've had several messengers telling me to get over myself and while I secretly seethed as they were telling me this, they're right. This milestone is not going to be achieved by being a sucky grump. I know it's been the theme of this blog but you'll just have to deal.

To date I've been focusing on the things that are going wrong, that make me crazy, that are just plain dumb about this whole running thing. And look where it's got me! Hobbling about, swelling up, bruising, deep water running. Obviously this strategy isn’t working for me. So I’m subscribing to the Power of Positive Thinking. We’ll see how I do because in the past I’ve struggled with that way of moving through the world. Yes, I’ve seen The Secret; I even own a copy. But I believe that some of life’s biggest learnings and areas of growth come through toil and trauma and just plain wallowing. I think it’s okay to allow yourself to do that every now and then. Why, I did it just last Friday! For the whole night! By myself! It was............good..............

So now I have to turn these thoughts around. Here are my biggest whines thus far with my new thinking:

Having to watch what I eat –I will lose my cellulite that much quicker if I stop eating pizza pops for breakfast, using cheese like I would salt and pepper, and drinking gin.

Spending lots of money on running stuff – If I look the part, I become the part. I’ll be safer....and dayum, I’ll look good....

Injuries – I get a lot of attention wearing bandages and limping.

The agony of regular Active Release Therapy – At the end of my sessions I can usually get a small little neck massage out of my chiropractor under the guise of an “adjustment”.

Trying to fit it all into my very busy, very important life – I can blame having to run in order to get out of things I don’t want to do.

This body of mine really is a wondrous thing. I look how far I’ve come in a year and a bit in terms of strength and endurance. Wowee. I know it will take me where I need to go.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Want Some Cheese With That?

I feel sucky. This running thing sucks. It seems like I'm taking 5000 steps forward and 4999 steps back. I resent it. I curse my sore knees and cramping calves. I lament my tight quads and flabby glutes. I sneer at my weak hips and pronating right foot. I give the side-eye to my dropping hips and disengaged core.

Everything hurts. Stretching hurts, cross-training hurts, chiro hurts, and running hurts - again. I know, I know. No pain, no gain. Blah, blah, blah. But I was hoping that some part of this would be fun.

And I'm really, really annoyed at all the time and money this is taking up.

This is definitely the muck in the middle. I'm trying really hard to trust the process but I'm not enjoying it right now. Maybe because I'm on my own at the moment. I'm not part of any running clinic so I'm just doing my runs myself, doing my training myself. But I don't want to hold anyone else back. My ego is definitely asserting itself.

I can totally picture myself running the marathon which is reassuring. I can visualize me running down the country road, winding through little French villages, sampling some vino along the way. I can see it. But I'm having trouble getting there.

And last night my roommate's cat bit me. Harrumph.

Monday, April 5, 2010

ROCD - Yeah, You Know Me!

For me to actually get out there and run, everything has to be just so. I think I have ROCD: Running Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Here is my checklist:

* Weather no colder than minus 20, no hotter than plus 20 (In my defense, I will go to the gym if the weather isn't cooperating)
* Socks can be no higher or lower than just above ankle bone. Lower and the sock slips over my heel and bunches up in my shoe; higher and it just looks dumb.
* Running pants have to have a drawstring so they don't slide down
* Running shirt has to cover midsection. I'm easygoing on T versus tank but I will not wear a singlet because I that word irritates me.
* If it's a tank, it can't be one of those that zips up on the side because the zipper chafes against my arm and it adds bulk.
* Jacket has to be zipped to the middle of my chest. Higher and it scratches my chin, lower and the wind gets in. And if it's too low the collar flaps around and hits my chin.
* Must have sunglasses, even if it's overcast
* Ears must be plugged in some fashion, usually with a headband. I HATE wind in my ears; legitimately, because it gives me earaches.
* Must have lip stuff of some kind on; sometimes I'll put it on my cheeks if it's windy.
* Hair. Hair is the biggest thing. Hair absolutely must not be in my face - ever. My headband does double-duty in the winter. The headband is challenging, though, because it pushes my bangs up and then when I take then headband off they stick straight up and I look like a fool. In the summer it's elastics and clips. If a strand dares to venture near my face I will rip it out so I use 2-3 elastics and A LOT of clips. It looks like I'm trying to keep something IN (like my dignity?) rather than keep something attached. And I can't wear a basic ponytail, it has to be more of a knot. A ponytail swings too much.
* Unless it's below minus 15, NO HAT.

It's funny to me because I'm pretty laid back most of the time. Other than, inexplicably, the colour of my toenails, I'm not overly fussy about how I look (when you have freckles, you get used to a bit of chaos in your appearance). I'm an outdoorsy, granola-girl at heart. I feel happiest being outside, in grubby clothes, mucking around in a garden or tromping through some woods. I'm not a crazy housekeeper either - and you should see my desk at work...yikes....

So what's with this fixation with what I'm wearing when I'm running? Really, with all my gear on nobody knows who I am and no one cares how I look. Comfort is important for sure. When you're running long distances the rest of your body feels so uncomfortable that being comfortable in what you're wearing can keep you from going over the edge. You would think I'd want the distraction, though.

Or maybe it's about control? If all of these details are taken care of then maybe I'm more likely to succeed at the actual running. Hard to tell if it's actually working, though I've had 5 pain-free runs now!!! Maybe that should be my strategy going forward. Like other athletes have rituals before they play so they do well, my weird dressing routine can me mine. Can't hurt!

I got back up to 10km yesterday!!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Metal Bar of Death

Last post, I neglected to talk about a key component of the runner's therapeutic process: The Graston Technique. Or, as I like to call it, @#$%^&* &^%%.

Scar tissue is bad. Scar tissue causes all kinds of problems. At some point, someone figured it was a good idea to take a metal bar and rub it back and forth over a muscle to break up said scar tissue. There are different sizes of bars for different muscles. Some have a greater weight to them. Some are pointy so they can get at the smaller muscles hiding behind the bigger ones. Some are curved and bent to get around some of the bigger muscles and bones. There is something very medieval about it all.

And Holy Dinah it hurts. But it leaves much more impressive bruises than ART, at least on my sickly, pale, Canadian, red-headed skin. I feel like I have something to show for all this pain. Battle scars, if you will.

Here's a link to a site which describes it with visuals: I also included a recent visual in my profile pic. This is my right IT band 24 hours after my chiro got after it. He barely touched my leg with the bar. Nice work, Tony!

PS: I ran 8km yesterday which is my best distance since my body fell apart!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What Seems To Be the Problem?

Well, many of you may think that I should have gone years ago but I've finally done it, I'm in therapy.

I've got a couple of busted knees and haven't been able to really run since my 22k three weeks ago. Normally I would have just said, "Thank gawd. Now I can go back to eating and watching 'Friends' re-runs". But I'm committed. There's money down. I'm racking up the air miles. I have to push through it.

So I've sought help. Namely an Athletic Therapist (for making me exercise even more??) and a chiropractor for Active Release Therapy (for punishment??). The Athletic Therapist did an initial assessment and discovered all sorts of quirky problems. Based on her description – one hip higher than the other, one shoulder higher than the other, one arm more raised than the other, knees turning inward, one calf fatter than the other, one butt cheek flabbier than the other – I have this vision of myself as looking like some kind of Dickens villain.

Simultaneously, I’m having my body beaten into submission with ART. My chiro told me to book 30 minute sessions (as opposed to 15) because of the amount of work required. And because I need long breaks. Basically, he takes his thumb, puts it right on the muscle, and proceeds to throw his whole body weight into it as I flex. SO PAINFUL. We’ve set ground rules that he can’t hurt me on purpose and I can’t kick him. Not surprisingly, I have bruises everywhere and I’m getting worried looks in the locker room at the gym.

Like in other therapeutic situations, the origin of the problem is never what is initially presented. You think you've got issues with your sister when it's really about when you got lost in the shopping mall when you were five. Same thing with the knees. They're hurting me but it turns out the problems are all in my hips and butt. Not all that surprising since I've had a tumultuous relationship with these body parts for years. Apparently, ample does not equal strong, and strong makes all the difference.

The body is so interconnected, working synergistically to make it all happen. Our muscles in particular. And when one part slacks off it affects everything else. My body has a classic therapeutic situation going on: dysfunctional family. My butt and hips are the third child, knees the eldest, and my quads and hamstrings are the long-suffering middle children. My brain as the parent is letting the baby of the family - my butt - off the hook. It doesn't have to do any work, it gets to sit around and do nothing. My bossy, first-child knees are not happy and are making it known. And my quads and hamstrings are just trying to keep it all together, keep everyone happy.

So the therapy is trying to change the dynamic. It's training my brain to step it up and parent my butt and hips. Not nag, just firmly tell them to start chipping in more. In the meantime, it's coaching my quads and hamstrings to take a break, spend some time on themselves and not worry about everyone else so much. It's not their job to make everything work right. And my knees...well, they probably won't stop being bossy and voicing their opinion. But hopefully we can work it so they'll only pipe up when it really matters.

I've still got some months before the marathon so that should give me enough time to get things sorted out. The dysfunction makes me a little nervous, though. On a day-to-day basis it should be manageable but a marathon is like a family road trip. It's close quarters, for an extended period of time, people get hungry and irritable, lots of stops for the bathroom. All the idiosyncrasies could come out and old patterns emerge.

Fingers crossed.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


When it comes to fitness, I'm great at starting things; not so great at the follow-through. Which usually means I expend a lot of capital with little to show for it. I've bought several gym memberships in my life and I'm diligent at going the first few weeks. And then it tapers off. I've bought velcro weights to wrap around my ankles so I get toned merely by walking between the couch and the refrigerator. I have no idea where those weights are and I developed cankles. I've been on several packaged cleanses - a quick fix where two weeks after I've tasted the last bit of the tincture, I'm full to the brim with toxins again.

The point is I've spent a lot of money to get fit, with little to show for it. So when I took up running it was because I needed a cardio activity and I figured that all I needed was a good pair of shoes and I was set.

I was soooooooo wrong. In fundraising we say you have to spend money to make money. In running I apparently have to spend the dimes to make my times. I know I'm doing it for charity but I could soon be a charity case myself.

Here's the list (to date) of what I've had to spend my hard-earned cash on:

Four running clinics
Two pairs of shoes
2 summer pairs of running pants
1 winter pair of running pants
1 winter pair of running pants with wind panels
9 pairs of running socks
4 long-sleeved technical shirts
2 short-sleeved technical shirts
2 technical tank tops
2 sports bras
2 toques
1 neck warmer
1 headband
1 running jacket
1 pair of mitts
1 pair of gloves
1 water bottle holder
1 jar of stuff for my skin to protect it from the wind
1 gym bag
20 drop-in gym passes
1 book on running marathons
1 ice pack
10 clips to keep my @#$%^&* hair out of my face
5 Active Release Therapy sessions
1 Athletic Therapy assessment
Many power bars and other post-run snacks
Many electrolyte replacement chews

You'll notice a theme. I think if I lived in Hawaii running would be an economical form of fitness (and I'd probably want to do it a whole lot more). Not so in Calgary. Winter adds a whole other layer (or five if you're smart). I've been trying to be frugal but I acknowledge in doing so, I'm taking my life into my hands. I've acquiesced to the layering and special pants and fabrics created by NASA that would let you survive in the sub-arctic as well as repel bullets, but I can't quite seem to bring myself to buy the strap-on spikey shoe thingys that enable one to run on the curling sheets known as Calgary's streets and sidewalks in the winter.

It's kind of bizarre that in this day and age an activity that the vast majority of us are able to do merely because we're homo sapiens comes with such a high price tag. I've been trying to figure out if I'm spending all this money because I must or because I feel I should. True, I did need more protection for my legs from the achingly cold wind that we're blessed with here. But I suppose I could have thrown on my cheapy biking shorts (that I got at a trade show for getting a four-year gym membership ......that I used for two months.....) rather than buying those NorthFace pants that, for what I paid for them, should also be able to shave my legs, give my car an oil change, and do my taxes.

Is it because we humans like our toys? Am I buying all this stuff so I can feel like I fit in better? Or am I just succumbing to the rabid consumer in me that I self-righteously deny most other times (except at consignment stores)? I can try and justify each expense (Winter: the Calgarian's Scapegoat) but there's definitely more at work here.

If I was running purely for fitness I know I wouldn't have spent as much. So I think a big part for me is that running a marathon scares the crap out of me and I want to be so completely and absolutely prepared that I can't fail in any way. These expenditures are insurance.

Which leads me to wonder if much of the other stuff I spend my money on is some form of insurance as well. Against what requires far more navel-gazing than I'm prepared to go into on a Sunday morning but it's worth a look one of these days. Gotta be more in there than lint :-)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Whip It Good

There's a reason for the saying, "Whip you into shape". This exercise thing takes discipline!

The United States Marine Corps states that "Discipline is the instant willingness and obedience to all orders, respect for authority, self reliance and teamwork. The ability to do the right thing even when no one is watching or suffer the consequences of guilt which produces pain in our bodies, through pain comes discipline."

You got that right. Why would we choose that???

Discipline is all about choices, though. Saying no to some and yes to others. Or saying yes and feeling no. Or saying no and knowing you should say yes. Life is about this, too. Hmmm, running as metaphor again.

How is it remotely possible to have any kind of discipline and make good choices during Christmas? I was doing reasonably well before the holidays but when you have a plate of perogies (with fried onions, butter, and sour cream, natch) in front of you it's HARD to stick to the right diet. And when there are Hugh Grant movie marathons every second day it's a CHALLENGE to get your butt out the door and on to the running path. And when you finally have time to read trashy gossip rags it's IMPOSSIBLE to write a literate blog.

How is discipline different from commitment or routine? Can you be committed to something but have no discipline (which seems to be where I'm at)? Is keeping a routine a discipline? I like routine in some aspects of my life, like flossing just before bed. If I don't build some activities into a routine they don't get done. I don't know how to make running routine yet, though. There's a lot involved in it. Clothes and water and nutritional supplements. Having something to eat right after a run. Not planning anything afterward because you know you’re going to have brutal, sweaty headband hair.

I think I could be disciplined about it if I had less things going on in my life. An ongoing challenge for me. I'm being punished for my lack of discipline, though (and for a few deadly holiday sins). My knee hurts again. Triggered by a 16km run (ahem). Which just tells me I'm not training enough. I'm doing the bare minimum and it's not paying off.

Disciple and discipline are obviously connected. A disciple is “a follower and student of a mentor, teacher, or other wise figure”. Maybe that's my problem! I need a wise figure! There is some guy named John Stanton, founder of some Running Room thing. Wrote some books. I could try him. Or Forrest Gump. "That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run."

There is little logic to this whole running thing. Maybe I have to stop looking for it and just do it. Maybe that’s the discipline I need to progress.

And maybe I just need to keep this in mind: "And when I got there, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going.”

# of km this week = 0!!!!! (The knee. But I did try the Elliptical for the first time)
# of hills = 0 (just the stairs up to the TV room)
# of meals today = 56
# of days until my half marathon race = 39!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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