Saturday, February 14, 2009

Patience

Vancouver was showing off today. The sun was out and the air was brisk but welcoming. The snow on Grouse was decent, especially in light of the lack of precipitation recently. We have waited out the worst of the winter out here and spirits are beginning to slowly rise. The snow has left all but the higher elevations and the sun is shining both when I leave for work and when I leave for home.

The blog has been eerily silent of late as well. Part of the reason for this was the madness that was the end of the semester and the start of the new semester. I have to say that everything worked out well and my classes this semester, all four of them, are very good so far. Part of the reason has been also that I have been waiting to hear about the Marathon of Hope results. It took longer than we had expected to hear back, but in the end the best outcome for me occurred - postponement.

When I first heard about the intention to recreate the Marathon of Hope, I emailed with a very kind lady at the BC chapter of the Terry Fox Foundation and suggested that the run might be better conducted in 2010 as it was the 30th Anniversary of his run and it would give sufficient time for people to train for the run.  Terry had trained for a year to prepare for his run, so giving people four months (or less as we still weren't sure who was going to be selected by mid-February) was a little tight.  The reasonable response that was given was that the CBC had budgeted for the event this year and the Terry Fox Foundation was unsure if there would be funding available again next year.  But, for reasons that I am unaware of, the producers (Paperny Films), the broadcaster (CBC), and the Terry Fox Foundation decided that 2009 was too tight a timeline to make it a success.  Darrell Fox, in a kind letter, said "You can expect to hear from us, if and when there are further developments on this initiative and corresponding programming. Thank you again for believing in the vision and principles of Terry Fox." I am not sure if the logistics of an event of this magnitude caused it to become a victim of the dreaded economic downturn, but it is on the shelf for now. Darrell's words leave it open for next year, but it wouldn't surprise me if it were not to happen either - especially as CBC, as well as private broadcasters, deal with falling advertising revenues and this will not bring in any advertising money as it will essentially be two one-hour shows with weekly updates during a news show - not much for an advertiser to hang its hat on. The premise is amazing, but Terry did it for free and to fund 12 people would not be cheap. I was honoured to be able to apply and to share, even tangentially, a moment with Terry.

The other reason for being quiet had to do with me. On December 30th, while running in Barbados, navigating a small alley leading from the road to the beach, I stepped on a large piece of coral with my right foot and twisted it violently, again. Suffice it to say, I was walking back to our apartment, much the same way as I did when I broke my foot at the Knee Knacker last summer. The pain was immediate and severe and the profanity flowed eloquently. The frustration of injuring the same foot just 6 months after breaking it was overwhelming. For two days I was pretty upset, but then I turned my energy to getting healed. My cousin, who I haven't seen in years, happened to be visiting Barbados as well, and since he is now a doctor, he had a look at my foot. The swelling was different than it was last July. The pain while in the same general location, was slightly different as well. He didn't think it was broken, and nor did I, but it sure felt like it could be. However, the recovery plan whether or not it was broken was the same - nothing. I iced it and used my cane (which doubles as a monopod for my camera and thus was with me in an ironic twist of fate) and generally tried to start the healing process.

Upon returning to Vancouver, I had to put together my Terry video application which concerned me as I wasn't running, but I didn't not want to run in the video. Therefore, the running you see at the end of the video was the only time I had run in the previous two weeks. And I am pretty sure it put me back two weeks in my recovery. And I didn't want to write about being injured in case that would have hurt my chances of being chosen as a participant in the Marathon of Hope. I knew I would be fine in April as I was healing quicker than I did in July. I also have too much respect for the run that Terry did to put myself in a position where I would not be prepared to be a part of the event. I had no idea if I would be selected and I wanted my inclusion in or exclusion from the run to be based on my qualities, not my current physical state, months before the run. 143 marathons in 145 days. There is no training that one can embark on in 4 months that would prepare one for that kind of running. A year? Yes. Four months? Not in my opinion. Much like the Tour de France, this would be an event that you would have to run into fitness during the course of it. In fact, the downtime would allow for other nagging overuse injuries to heal and thus I might be in a better place to begin the run. But, all that hypothesizing is for naught. I do believe that the postponement is best for the event as with the year lead in, so much can be done to promote it and capture the imagination of people.

So, today, February 14th, 7 weeks after re-injuring my foot, I ran 20 minutes on the treadmill. It took me more than 3 months to get that point last time. I am being patient and thoughtful as I get back to running. Once again, I have been in the gym regularly doing strength training and building core and stability. I would rather have been running, but I am on the way back and it feels good.

With the postponement of the Marathon of Hope, I am able to think about the Knee Knacker and the ENDURrun again, two races I dearly wanted to compete in last year. My goals of running fast in shorter races this year might have to have their own postponement as I have missed a crucial base building period in the winter, but a fall half-marathon (the Royal Victoria Half-Marathon?) might be a place to go for a PB. This will also mean that I am not gone all summer while Sonja and I figure out wedding planning and plan an Okanagan wine tour this summer. I am excited that the Terry Fox Foundation will have the proper amount of time to put together a first-class event should they choose to do pursue it next year. I cannot commit to applying again as I have no idea what next year will hold, but it was an amazing experience to put together the application, both written and video, this year. Learning more about the little details of Terry's run, the person he was before losing his leg and the person he developed into as a result of the amputation, was influential on me. There are people who I believe need to be a part of this event, Steve Gaul mostly, and I hope that they are running in St. John's next April.

So, that is my story. I will begin to update again on a regular basis and let you know how the return to fitness goes (again). In respect to my application, I want to thank you for your support and kindness. I am really touched and humbled by the quality of people that I have in my life and I, not even for a day, ever take that for granted.
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