Friday, October 26, 2007

Nuts anyone?


For brief moments in my life, I think I’m a little nuts; one such moment occurred a little less than a year ago.

It was New Year’s Eve 2006. The sun had gone down on what had been a beautiful day and while most others in the City were readying for a memorable night on the town, my wife Gloria was lacing up her running shoes and I was covering my nipples with band-aids.

We had signed up for our first ever “Resolution Run” put off by a local running store. The event consisted of a 5-K run at five o’clock in the evening followed by refreshments and door prizes during an in-store reception afterwards. At about the 3-K mark, I decided I was a little nuts and loving every minute of it.

Runners just want to be out there – times of day, weather conditions and family commitments have little impact on our decision about where and when to run. We long for the perfect run, effortless and easy, and we chase our way to the end, reveling in the foot-strikes we leave behind us. On this night, our technical tees are our tuxedos, the sweat on our brows the champagne – we can celebrate too – we’re nuts and we wouldn’t change a thing.

And as crazy as I can be about running, I couldn’t help but notice that most of our Running Club has signed up for this year’s “Resolution Run”.

Welcome to the nut house.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Learning to run again


I'm recalling a recent trip to my Chiropractor's office, not so much because of the cracks and screams that usually keep me remembering my visits, but more because of what was said to me by the receptionist, Diane.

As I made my way up the stairs of the office, bent over a cane, and looking more like a walking letter "C" than a human being, Diane commented that I didn't look so good. I took advantage of the opportunity to wollow in a little self-pity and uttered something about never getting better again - she didn't see it that way. "You'll be alright, she said, you seem to bounce back well."

Diane was right and I came to realize it last night while doing a little workout on the treadmill. The human body, and mine in particular because it's the only one I have, is an incredible structure when working properly, but more amazing when something goes wrong. The body's ability to recover in relatively short periods of time after we've pushed it too far is nothing short of miraculous. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been able to get back at a walk/run program at my usual, slow pace, a feat I couldn't envision that day talking to Diane.

Smart people learn from their injuries and begin listening a little more attentively to the signals their bodies send out; stubborn people keep getting hurt. I vow to be smart, and here's how I'm going to do it:

Take it slow. I will get back to form by taking it slow, never wimping out, but never overdoing it.

Lose weight. I will lose 30 pounds between now and the Halifax Half in May 2008. I will accomplish this by eating smart and exercising smarter. A smaller gut means less stress on my wonky lower back.

Have fun. I will enjoy every foot-strike while I am able, because I know how lousy it feels to watch from the sidelines, or worse, stare at the ceiling.

I'm committed to reaching these goals - I have to - I don't think Diane would sympathize with stubborn.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Picture this


Today, was a good day. Aside from washing the car and mowing the lawn, relatively pain-free, I put twenty minutes in on the treadmill doing a 4/1 walk/run session without any problems. There weren’t any noticeable changes to my usually poor running form, and both the walking and running segments were at my normal pace - a return to training is imminent. But before that happens, I will enjoy spending time at a new hobby for which I have developed quite a passion since being on the injured list - running photography.

I’m not much of a runner, and perhaps even less of a photographer, and I can blame both shortcomings on having inadequate equipment. But following the Running Club around on Sunday mornings looking for and setting up the “money shot” has become a highlight of recent weeks gone by. Club members might see it more as a stalking ritual, but they have yet to order me to cease and desist. Running during the fall was meant for photography. Autumn colours mixed with brilliant sunny mornings make for some memorable shots. And what better way to keep a smile on a runner’s face than by pointing a camera at him every 10 minutes along a route; again, Club members may see this differently than I do.

But for now, when you see me, don’t forget to say “cheese”.