August 2010

Acceptance of the unacceptable is the greatest source of grace in this world.

Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

I haven’t run a race in a long time.  The last one was pretty hellish.  I did the Johnny Miles 10k in New Glasgow.  It was in early May which is a great time to do a race because it forces you to get into shape, and it’s the worst time to run because you’re in such lousy shape after a long cold winter.  The day of the race was damp and chilly and rainy.  I felt lousy because either I hadn’t trained as much as I thought I had or it was just a lousy running day.  

I felt good for all of 10 minutes and then it all went downhill from there.  The friend I was running with resembles a giselle in body and she galloped away from me at that 10 minute mark and I didn’t see her again grinning at the finish line until I’d plodded heavily around the course carrying 10 pounds in rainwater. 

The race ended with a nice uphill at the end, about the time when I was ready to die, it was all I could do to finish the thing.  I hated it.  I couldn’t drop my expectations and think, ‘oh well this sucks, so let’s just finish the damn thing.  No, instead I hated every minute of it and kicked myself for not doing and feeling better and keeping up with my friend to boot.  Afterwards I thought, now why do i do this again?  And obviously there wasn’t a good answer because it’s been years since I raced.

Until another friend and I started running together again.  We’d done the Navy 10k about 10 years ago and decided to do it again.  My friend was excited about getting a centennial Navy race shirt.  I was excited about trying my femme fatale line that might start with, “well hiyah sailah”.  Sadly no one was in uniform, they were all wearing their centennial Navy race shirts.   Also sadly,  life got in the way a number of times we planned to train together so we downgraded our goals and went for the 5k instead.  Our goal was to do it in 30 minutes.

I was actually nervous the night before.  It was the control freak in me convinced that I’d forget something really important like water or underwear.  But when we got there I was excited.  The race was so much larger than when we did it last.  When we got going there was a sea of dark blue shirts running up Agricola street ahead of us and it reminded me of how much I love the energy of a race. 

It feels completely different than me schlepping my butt around the neighbourhood solo.  And that’s the tough thing about a race –  it’s a total head thing.  My buddy and I decided we’d speed up a bit half way through, but I noticed we sped up about 10 minutes into it.  So about 2/3’ds of the way through I was puffing to hard to hold a conversation. 

Then a bit beyond that my friend went out to pass someone and i just didn’t have enough juice to follow.  She looked back and i said, “I’m comin’!”  But I really wasn’t and I was ok with it.  That was a switch.  Watching the giselle friend pull away last time made me feel like a capital-L Loser.   But this time I thought, well she *is* a soccer player so *of course* she has more kick than I do from my schleps around the ‘hood.

Before I would have felt like i should say something too.  But that wasn’t an option because now my breathing had a wheeze in it.  I was going so hard that if I pushed any harder it would have meant a heart attack and a stroke two-fer and as I fell to the road I would then be stampeded by the runners behind me.

So I thought, I’ll keep the speed i’m at and see how it goes.  Before I wouldn’t have been able to do that.  I would have spent the whole time resisting the fact that I wasn’t going faster even though that’s all the speed I had.  This time I listened to my breathing and sure enough, there was a slight downhill before the last turn, the wheeze dissipated, i lengthened my stride and got a little closer to my friend. 

Then before i knew it I was in the chute and I sprinted and passed two people, while two people passed me and my buddy and I finished the race in 28 minutes.   We beat our goal.  We were thrilled.

It felt so good to run a strong race.  I swear the endorphins lasted all day.  It felt even better to see how my head experience improved since I last ran a race.  To be ok with what’s going on even if it means a possible heart attack, stroke and loserhood feels pretty good.  Which will make racing so much better in the future.  Because yes, my friend and I are thinking about the next one and plan to make it a 10k.

Karli (age 5) “When I grow up I want to be a rock star and a dentist”

Me (age unknown) “That’s sounds great Kar, Angus what do you want to be when you grow up?”

Angus (age 6) “I want to be a Dad”

On the one hand I thought right on, I’ll probably be thrilled to one day be a Grandma.  On the other hand,  I gotta break it to him that the pension plan sucks.

As mentioned earlier, I’ve been busy working on my fitness this summer.  I’ve been training for a 10k race, the first I’ve done in forever and being 40-something and just because i think it’s better for our bodies, I’ve been trying to cross-train.  So I might only run a couple times a week but I do lots of yoga in between, strength training and other cardio.  I dunno if it’s “right”, but I’ll find out when I run my race.  The bootcamp stuff is also intriguing to me.  It’s hard as hell but what a great use of time – you can really challenge your body parts in a short period of time. 

Honeybunny sent me a link to this chick,  I’m not going to ask how he found her but he wanted to know if it was real exercise – like, do people really do that?  From what I saw I said, yeah she and her sandbag are doing a real workout there.  It looks painful as heck but she says she only does it for 15 minutes per day. 

Anyhoo a friend of mine passed me some bootcamp workouts from a program she did at the gym.  And then that made me think of my own.  I have a wide stairwell that goes up to the yoga studio and always thought that there could be a lot of exercises you could do just using those two bottom stairs.  I thought of things I could steal from those step classes I did long ago, a few things from yoga and some other stuff I made up. 

The numbers here are place holders. You want to do it until you feel it in the muscles you’re working the first time around, because you do the routine twice. Here it is:

First, turn on some rockin’ dance tunes

  1. Step up to the 1st step (or jump with both feet) and do a deep squat, step down and repeat x30
  2. Step up and down the 1st step as fast as you can x50
  3. Put your foot on the 2nd step and lunge.  X20  Change sides
  4.  Step up to the 2nd, bring arms overhead and tip your body forward to Stick Pose/Warrior 3 engaging your glute (don’t hold), step down x20 total
  5.  Do full push-ups with hands wide on 2nd  step x15
  6. Turn to face the right side, left foot on 1st step.  Squat down, then with weight on left leg straighten both and lift right leg out to the side.  X20 then change sides
  7. Tricep dips from 2nd step x10
  8. Facing away from steps, put top of foot on the 1st and lunge x20 then change sides
  9. Come into Updog with hands on 2nd step (so shoulders are over hands, engage your abs so your hips don’t sink too much) then bend your elbows a few inches and straighten again. X 15
  10. Do your favourite abs exercise.  I was back on my butt, hands on the floor kicking my legs out straight and bringing them back, knees to chest (x10) then with my weight on one side of my butt, I kicked to each side (x10) then center again (x10) 

And then do it again!

We did a family visit to the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park.  It was our first time, it’s a great little zoo, all rescued local wild animals that look well taken care of.  Afterwards  we had a picnic near the playground and then I laid on a blanket soaking up the sun.

I could hear a parent coaching his son at soccer.  It went like this:

Clayton don’t use your hands!

Clayton no hands on the ball! 

Clayton don’t touch the ball!


I was laying there thinking, hmmm, maybe Clayton is 10 and they’ve been playing soccer together for 5 years and one would expect him to know better.  Curiosity finally got the best of me and I got up to look.  It turned out Clayton was a scrawny little 4 year old in a floppy sunhat.

What is it with these Type A parents?  Maybe Clayton’s Dad could have taken more of a “show me what you can do with your feet!” kind of approach.  Rather than losing it with him.  Over soccer.

And my son’s a five year old in soccer, I see it all the time.  There is a wide range of kids and knowledge and ability and interest. 

There are the ones who want to examine the grass or the cloud formations instead of running after the ball.  There are the little keener dudes who are right in there.  And some of the keeners do great and there are others who get hurt at least twice a game and take a cry break.  My son is more of a run around near the ball having a great time, but not actually pushing himself in there to kick it.  You can read a lot about a kid’s personality by watching them in soccer.

And the parents are either enjoying the soccer playing kid they have or trying hard to make him different.  Like Clayton’s Dad.

It’s been a theme for me lately.  I’ve been letting go so much with parenting.  Angus, the five year old is at the stage where he wants to question everything and push every boundary.  The other night, just a silly example, he was heading to the bathroom before bed and wanted to wear my flip flops.  I immediately said no, they were my shoes and then he reacted and then I thought – Corilee!  give him the freakin’ shoes!  Give him all your shoes!!  Empty out the closet!  Why not?  Especially if it’ll get him to bed. 

I always thought I’d be an easy going parent with the nutty things kids want to do (wear mitts to school in May etc.).  But my first response usually relates to the reasons why not.   When really, if it doesn’t hurt him or destroy my shoes or his mitts, why not? 

I want to be the kind of parent that lets the Claytons of the world figure out how to play soccer with their feet in their own time.  I want to be the parent that doesn’t demand it has to be today.  I want to be the parent who can keep cool even when I feel like they *should* know how to do it different.  I want to be the kind of parent who gives up her shoes without thinking about it.