Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And we're here...

We have some intermittent internet here so I will post when I can.  

After crazy flights and running across Terminal 1 of Toronto to catch a flight that was leaving without us, we ended up in Barbados only two hours behind schedule, but a little more worn.  

Barbados has been nothing short of spectacular so far - clear ocean water, white sand, sun with just enough cloud to give a short respite from the heat.  

I went for my first run today.  The traffic here is a little more crazy than I remember, but fortunately we are close to the Garrison race track, a thoroughbred race track with a running trail around the interior.   A three minute jaunt up to the track and a few loops around the less traveled roads around the track and back to finish with a 15 minute barefoot run along the beach - a 54 minute run in all.  I kept it very controlled and slow so as to not overheat on the first day and and so that I would feel good at the end, but how can you not feel good when your run ends in the Caribbean Sea?

That's right, it can't.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

En Route...

 Sonja and I sit in the departure lounge of YVR wondering if the snow storms will subside prefectly and allow us free passage through to Barbados.  Yes, that's right...Barbados.  I know some of you are jealous, but don't feel too badly - I will think of you when I am running sans chemise.  Did you know that YVR has free internet?  I KNOW!  It must be one of the only Canadian airports to have allow its passengers the opportunity to surf without gouging them.

For the flight I have two peanut butter and jam sandwhiches, some Camino chocolate, Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Berries, almonds, and movies (Revenge of the Sith, Strictly Ballroom, and I rented Run, Fat Boy, Run from iTunes which was an altogether painless process).  

I also ran into the venerable Kelly Guest, an unexpected Christmas treat, as he and Amy head back to London to see what real snow looks like.  What was even odder than seeing Kelly was finding a random copy of The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior lying on the table where you are supposed to bag your liquids before going through security.  What makes it odd is that about five years ago Kelly told me to read that book.  I did.  And while it doesn't reach its claim to be life changing, it is a thoughtful book and one that should be sitting randomly on a table outside security in an airport, waiting for someone to pick it up.  I left it for that person to find.

I am not sure what internet access I will have in Barbados, but I will update the blog when I can.  I would like to take this chance to wish everyone who follows my humble blog (and thanks to those who have recently let me know!), a safe and wonderful holiday season.  

Friday, December 19, 2008

From ESPN...

Worth the watch when you have 10 minutes to sit quietly....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Four seconds

A lot can happen in four seconds.

You can take a picture that will change the world.  

You can flip through 8 channels.

You can make a buzzer beating basket.

You can run 10 meters.

You can die.

Sorry for the seemingly melodramatic ending to that, but tonight four seconds, 10 meters, separated me from the car traveling 120 km/hr over the curb and into a tree.  I didn't see it coming as I was running west along the Hastings St sidewalk uphill.  What was unseen was a Dodge Viper weaving through traffic, losing control, careening toward the sidewalk at a 45 degree angle at over 100 km/hr.  I heard it and everything was done in less than 2 seconds.  From out of my peripheral vision into my path, the car jumped the curb, bounced of one tree and ricocheted off another back into traffic, crumpling and losing tires and panels in the process.  I came to a stop, confused at how the car could be driving at that angle on that street and, then a moment later, how the person in the car was able to walk away unscathed.  It was only in speaking to another witness a few minutes later that I came to understand the reckless driving that lead to the event and how lucky I am to be at home and not in the hospital.  Her words were "You are the luckiest person in the world right now.  I thought he was going to hit you."  Apparently someone was looking out for me.  

Thank you.

I am fine because I really didn't see the event unfold.  Had I seen the car coming at me and been unable to move and/or just got out of the way, I might be a little more shaken, but as it is, it looked like a movie and similarly to watching a film, I feel a certain distance from it.  But when I got home I thought things through a little.  If I was looking for a sign about what to do, I don't think I could have received a stronger one than this.  So, as it stands at this moment, I am working on my application for the Marathon of Hope 2009, with the caveat that there are many things between now and January 8th that may necessitate that I not apply.  Until those things materialize, if they materialize, I am going to put my name into the ring.  Whether it gets chosen is another thing, but once in a lifetime means that you only get one chance.  Seems like tonight I was given my chance.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hmmmm...Should I?

This just came across my email today and I am kind of considering it.  For those of you who have been around the blog awhile, you know my respect and admiration of Terry Fox runs deep.  Vote for what you think in the comments section.  I am on the fence about the possibility, somewhere between concern for health and financial well-being and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity....

Greetings Canadian athletes,

Are you a passionate athlete who draws inspiration from Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope?

At CBC Television, we are presently creating a program which would illustrate in detail what Terry accomplished in 1980. The event will reacquaint new and existing generations with Terry’s example of athleticism, determination and self-sacrifice.

A team of twelve runners will start the marathon in St. John’s, NFLD on April 12th. Each participant will attempt to run 3,339 miles in 143 days - matching Terry’s daily mileage - arriving in Thunder Bay, ON on Labour Day weekend. Our camera crews will document the journey from the first day of training through to the end of the run, providing viewers with updates on the participants and their fundraising efforts.

Our first episode, to air in April on CBC, will see the introduction of the participants and the stakes set for the run. Terry’s enduring and building legacy will be highlighted. We are working in conjunction with the Terry Fox Foundation, who in the past have declined proposals where the intent is to symbolically or literally finish the Marathon of Hope. This concept does not infringe on that wish.

If you are interested in participating in, or supporting, this initiative — we want to hear from you. We welcome any questions at any time along the way.

An ideal candidate would possess the following:

1) They have been inspired by Terry’s story and have a history of supporting Terry’s vision and principles
2) They have the ability and willingness to fundraise
3) They believe and offer evidence that they are capable of physically attempting the run
4) They are willing and able to put aside work/other commitments for 4 and a half months to document their personal journey.

Do you have what it takes to go the distance?

If you would like to participate as a runner in this historic event, please reply to marathonofhope2009@gmail.com, sending us your contact information and telling us why you are the ideal candidate for the show.

In addition, we ask that you please create a 3-5 minute video so we can see you in action. Your video should include: Your name, age, hometown and why you want to be a participant in the Marathon of Hope 2009.

Please upload your video to YouTube.
Need extra help uploading your video?

Deadline for applications:
January 8, 2008

Please notify us immediately by sending the URL when you’ve uploaded your video.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Michelle & Lara,
Marathon of Hope 2009

Saturday, December 06, 2008

When someone writes what you think....

This helps a little to explain the love that some people have with some tech things.  I am not saying that I am this way, but I am not saying I am not either.  

An excerpt from the article "The iBook is dead, Long live the Macbook" written by  Leah McLaren on globeandmail.com

Buying a new laptop is an emotionally harrowing experience. Never mind the expense, there's also the research, which requires reading a lot of eye-glazing stuff about new software developments, external hard drives and DOS RAM thingies. And finally, there is the matter of change, something I avoid at all costs, particularly where technology is concerned.

Despite my aversion to progress, my laptop is the only constant in my life. In the whir of travel, work and social drama since my university days, my laptops have been loyal companions - a stalwart series of Tinkerbells to my Paris Hilton.

While I used to forbid laptops in the boudoir, this rule has softened. Where else am I going to jot down a dream or check e-mail if insomnia strikes? Like Tracy Ullman's impression of blog queen Arianna Huffington, I am a woman irrationally attached to technology. I may not kiss my laptop goodnight, but I often fall asleep with it warming my belly like an hyper-intelligent hot water bottle.

Looking back, I count the chapters of my adult life not by relationships or jobs but by microchipped companions. There was the orange clam-shaped iBook on which I began my career writing nightclub listings and résumé cover letters. Then, a brief, ill-fated affair with a buggy Sony VAIO, which I never forgave for eating a 3,000-word essay while we were on assignment in Bosnia (I had to retype the whole thing from memory in half an hour). And of course, my most recent love: a 12-inch Mac workhorse in old-school white. My laptop holds not only the contents of my recent working life (one and a half novels, several dozen drafts of a pilot script, countless furious e-mails I didn't send), it is also as physically close to me as any object I own - its keyboard literally soiled with the grease of my toiling.

No single person is there for me like my laptop - ready and eager to flip open and hum to life when I want to check my e-mail or dash off an idea. Who else would I carry through customs in a dozen different countries, even insist come with me on holiday?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Score

Running and Hiding - 1
Standing up and taking responsibility - 0

Inertia - 0
Me - 1

Scratch and Win Ticket - 1
Sonja - 0

Surprise - 0
Amazon.ca - 1

Guitar Hero World Tour - 0
Me Playing Bass on Hard - 1

Red Wings - 6
Canucks - 5

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Odds and Ends

With the arrival of December, the to-do list has grown exponentially at the exact moment that motivation is beginning to drop.  The darkness descending at 4:30pm today did nothing for my desire to do, well, anything, but I did make it out on a run.  And as it has been a while since I last posted, I will update in a manner befitting my state of mind right now, which is to say very random in nature.

- The Victoria version of Gunner Shaw went well.  This was the race that I wanted to refocus on after breaking my foot in July and I glad that some friends kicked my butt and made me go over as I was balking at the idea.  It was a new and tougher course, but running around Thetis Lake never gets tiring.

- The Vancouver Gunner Shaw is this weekend and I will be participating in that one as well.  A very different style of race but same atmosphere.  This will be the last race of my season and I am looking forward to just running around.

- Jay MacDonald, of whom I speak often on the blog, raced at the National Cross Country championships this past weekend and acquitted himself quite well in the process.  What is scary is that he has come back with a renewed since of dedication and motivation to improve even more than last year, when, you know, he dropped about 2 minutes from his 10k time.  And not the "easy" two minutes going from 54 to 52 minutes, but from 33 to 31 minutes.  We are all in for a world of hurt!

- If you have ever played Mario Kart, please watch this video.  I almost cried.

- The next five weeks are my "down time" according to Coach John.  Although I am only about 2 months back into training, the combination of work, darkness, and training has me a little worn out, so I am welcoming the time to run freely.  The proposed schedule is to run when I want, as hard as I want, for as long as I want (and the converse being true as well - as easy as I want, as short as I want).  

- I had the chance to walk out of Thetis Lake holding one hand of PK's while her Dad held her other one.  Honestly, that was cooler than the race.  She is one cool kid.  And her Mom raced very well.

- Sonja and I have been IN LOVE with 30 Rock of late.  If you haven't given the show a chance, you REALLY need to.  I am not sure if I have said this before in this forum, but Sarah Palin is the best thing to happen to NBC in a long time.  Tina Fey is brilliant, as is the rest of the cast, including, surprisingly, Alec Baldwin.  I mean, what other show can get AL GORE to come on an parody himself!?!?

- I may or may not be partially distracted by Guitar Hero World Tour.  It is empirically demonstrating to me that I have no drumming ability.  Maybe not quite none, but if I was filling out a survey, which I am wont to do, in the ability section I would be ticking off the slim to none box.

- My last two longer workouts with VFAC have been the better than they were at this time last year.  My 2 x 3 miles in 16:09 and 16:05 and the 4 miles, 1 mile, 1 mile in 21:30, 5:03, 4:54 was a bit of a breakthrough for this time of year.

- I am forcing myself to read Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.  I am not sure how I made it through high school and a minor in English without ever having to read Atwood, but I figure I have to do it to legitimize myself as a consumer of Canadian literature.  I would rather be reading the new Joseph Boyden novel, Through Black Spruce, which just won the Giller Prize.  If you haven't read Three Day Road, and you are at all interested in WWI, you need to read it - beautiful and devastating.

- I am enjoying my new iPhone.  I use it to read Kafka on the bus to work.  And listen to music.  And get directions.  And sometimes, I use it to talk to people.  Sometimes.  

- And lastly, if what is occurring in Ottawa of late isn't a call to become more involved in our democratic process, I don't know what is.  For the record, I support the coalition, but mostly because of the arrogance of the Prime Minister in playing partisan games in these times.  I am not sure that the coalition is the best thing at this juncture, but it is better than the about-face that Harper pulled just after delivering speeches in which he said he would work with the other parties in the best interest of Canada.  It is that hypocrisy that really fires me up.  If he were to step down and allow someone else to lead the Conservatives, someone who would truly offer a more diplomatic approach to governance, then I would support that, but as The Dude said in The Big Lebowski - "I do mind, the Dude minds.  This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man."