Sunday, October 08, 2006

3 reasons why I love being a mum on my recovery days:

1. Being a tourist in my own town: Maia hams it up at the Wax Museum.

2. I love the beautiful park at Fort Rodd Hill and the climb into the Fisgard Lighthouse.

3. Watching Ross with the goats at the animal farm in Beacon Hill.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Well, I am just back from the race, having walked from the impressive War Museum through the paths to Wellington and passing two weddings on the way.

I had a successful day and another good race, though it did hurt like hell for the last 2k, when I decided I better increase my pace and go through 7 more minutes of pain in order to get to the line first. Yes, I am competitive when it comes to running races, just ask my friends. I won, in 33:52, slower than I thought I would run but there seemed to be lot of uphill from 3-8K. Sort of long gradual inclines.

I started fast, running the first kilometre in 3:07 because I felt like hammering the pace and stretching out the field, and then only Nicole Stevenson was with me at 2K and we ran together, and I could feel that she was rallying hard to stick with me. So at 8K (I had scoped out my 'GO' place as I was heading out) I turned it up a notch and hammered home. I knew I could go hard until 9K (another little crest) and then it was all downhill from there and I concentrated totally on turnover and figured nobody would catch me then. Crossing the line, I won my 18th National Championships.

Well, It was lots of fun and a good pay day. I felt strong and smooth, and I wanted to run the way Emilie would: with heart and a lot of desire. Before the race there was a short memorial for Emilie Mondor, who died tragically in a car crash four weeks ago. It was beautiful and her parents were there and of course I cried. I don't think I have ever been on a start line crying, but it was just so sad. After the race I ran back to talk to Emilie's parents in what French I could muster and although I didn't really know what to say, I just wanted to say hello. I can't imagine what they are going through but they smiled and told me they are just trying to remember the wonderful things about Emilie and they know they have to go on. I guess you just have to be sad, and be sad until it fades as there is nothing you can do when you lose a child this way.

Thinking about Emilie, and also my friend Tori who also died in an accident last year, I feel happy that I accomplished my goal of coming here to perform, and that I get the opportunity to keep racing and running with joy.

Ottawa, National 10k Championships 2006

Friday morning I woke to the beep-beep-beep of my watch at 5:45, instantly aware of and amazed by the fact that Ross was still asleep in his crib, and had, in fact, been there all night, like that: asleep. From 8 PM until now, he was still asleep in his own bed and I had received a full nights' sleep myself. As you can tell by my surprise, this doesn't happen very much. In fact, there was a small part of me that wanted to go lift his little body up over the sides of the crib, to hold his warm soft body close in my arms and feel his silky hair against my cheek and lips. I wanted to hear his soft sighing breathes. Being a parent is so crazy. For nights, he has woken us constantly with his teething fidgeting, wakefulness, crying. Now he sleeps and I have gotten over 6 hours of consecutive sleep and I am wishing he is here with me.

Though. I had to get up and have a shower and leave in 30 minutes for the airport to catch a plane to Ottawa for the National 10k Championships. Ross was still asleep at 6:20. At that point it was a good thing, as I find it unbearably hard to leave the house if he's crying and reaching towards me with desperation like I am abandoning him forever. 6 year old Maia got up though, and despite the early hour wanted me to fix her a bowl of Rice Crispies before I left.

So. I drove out to the airport in the early morning dark, along wet, shiny roads, filled, as I always am, with the inexplicable emotion of leaving my children. As soon as I drive out of the driveway I am free in a sense, free for 48 hours of the responsibility to care for them minute by minute. That freedom expands outwards into the longing that forces its way in. Longing to see them again right now, to touch them and hug them and make sure they are OK, which I know they are, as they are in the capable loving hands of my father (Grandad) and Janet our babysitter.

And. I don't stop thinking about them. Maia and Ross, my shining beacons of love, light and joy. Even in the silence of the aircraft, or the muffled, fabricated serenity of my hotel room here at the Delta, their spirits fill me.

I arrived in Ottawa in the early evening yesterday, and after a short course tour, I went for a little jog before I lost daylight. After sitting all day in planes and busses, I felt surprisingly light (maybe those compression socks really work!) and light hearted as I ran up Wellington along the broad stone sidewalk. I ran beside the historic edifice of the Supreme Court of Canada and entered into the front gate of Parliament Hill. The evening sunlight glowed warmly on the massive building, the sky was blue turning to pink and I had one of those beautiful moments where everything feels just right and as it should be. Right at that moment I was where I wanted to be and I did not wish to be anywhere else. The huge, almost full moon was rising. It expanded into the pink air between two buildings like a glowing balloon. It occurred to me that so much of my running life has been like this. Moments of experiences all over the world.

I slept well last night, after the dog in an adjoining room stopped barking and whining. I don't know what struck me more odd: that a dog was in the hotel, or that a dog had been left alone in the hotel room to feel obviously desperate at being left alone. In any case the dog was quiet after midnight, which was still only 9PM my time so it was OK.

Went out to find Starbucks this morning. I know this section of Queen Street too well after years of trips to our nation's Capital; I knew there was a trusty 'bucks over off the lobby of the Marriot. Then I walked around breathing the fresh autumn morning and took a look at the sculptural waterfalls in the Garden's of Canada. While I was there I decided to memorize all the flowers of all the provinces and territories. After all when I was doing grade 8 geography, Nunavut (Firewed) did not exist. I wondered how long it would take Maia to memorize them?