Thursday, November 24, 2016

Grateful for X?

Sometimes, that is the question. It's not about being an ungrateful person, just that sometimes things don't seem sweet.

I'm grateful for X today. Not certain what it is, but I'm sure there's something. If I name it I might jinx it, so I won't say it. I won't name that elusive X that I am grateful for.

What's so important about being grateful, anyway? I'm not planning on going down the privilege rabbit hole right now. I'm talking about a more profound reason to be thankful. What does that feeling do to our souls? What does it do to our bodies? Our minds?

Is it even a good thing to be grateful? What am I doing when I'm "being grateful"? I'm feeling a feeling of .... of what? contentment? No, not really.

Am I feeling happy that I have something that someone else doesn't have? Am I comparing myself to someone else?

How else would I know that I was grateful? Am I saying thank you for having something? Who or what am I thanking?

I am grateful to be alive. I'm grateful for my health. I'm grateful for having five kids and a husband. I'm grateful for the love I feel around me.

Why though? What makes me grateful? Is it all just a big ole hoax?

So ... what do y'all think?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Run, lady, run

Well, I ran my ten k (68 minutes, I'll tell you why in a minute). I was signed up for a half marathon but my heel was hurting and I was afraid of the dreaded Plantar's fasciitis, and the Running Room wouldn't let me push it forward so I downgraded to a ten. It was fun but, as always with running, I learned some things along the way that I would like to share with y'all.

These tips are all interconnected, and if you follow them you will have a better time and make a better time too!

1. Get to your place destination an hour early! I arrived at the race area (no public transit, it was in a beautiful spot in the country), had to park in a distant parking lot, took the race bus but I ended up at the start line four minutes late (with a bunch of other runners).
If I had gotten there early, I would have had time to figure out where I was going, check in to the washroom (see next point), and get to the starting gate early.

2. Pee before you run! Gotta do it, even if you don't think you need to. Get in there and pee! Especially those of us with the female anatomy, it takes longer to pee at the side of the track, and its not always seemly to dribble as you run.

3. Figure out what's going on!!! If you're in your home town, or even your home country, you will probably be able to read the directions or at least understand what the MC is saying (btw, just a shoutout to my favourite Canadian mc Mark Stein). But what if you're somewhere you can't understand the mc? What if you go to Rome in the spring? (Check it out!)
All the more reason to GET THERE EARLY!! You need to know where everything is so you don't have to try to understand what is being yelled in a foreign language through a loudspeaker.

4. Wear a running watch or your smart phone so you can log your distance. Smaller races don't show you the kilometers, and of course its nice to know, even if you don't have your eye on your pace.

So why did I clock in at 68 minutes? I got to the starting gate, but I was with a large crowd of runners from the bus. Everyone was jolly, walking fast, and the mc was yelling loudly in French. All good. I was also walking fast because I wanted to get to the REAL starting gate. Then we passed a small red sign that said "1K". Shit! I started my TomTom watch and started sprinting, so basically ... my pace for nine of the ten was ok but for one of the ten it was snail slow. Also, yes, because of my late arrival I did have to make use of the Portapotty at k 5 ... so ... live and learn.

Looking forward to getting faster and stronger.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Runner's Blues

This is where I want to be!

But for now, I'm limping around the house in my old running shoes with a sore heel, a sore neck, and a sometimes pain in my hip.

What the hell happened?

Well, the first thing that happened was I started running minimalist. Three years ago I got my first pair, a pair of Merrells that were amazing! I have always worn flats, flip flops, and I have super strong feet...
Then I got my first pair of Vibrams. The first run I went on wearing them, I literally ran the fastest I had ever run! I love these shoes! But, like anything you love, I overindulged. I ran many, many kilometres with them and I ran down the heel... and hurt my bod.

And, all you social justice warriors out there, you say, why do we care about what shoes you run in? Granted. I remember how guilty I used to feel while the South Africans were fighting for justice and I was going to university, drinking, and having a good old time. It tore me apart. I remembered when I was in Africa and someone brought me her baby, the little one was dying. There was nothing I could do... 

But when I look at the running movement around the world - man, we are just out there running, in shoes, without shoes: men, women, girls, boys, wombin, people that identify as whatever they damn well please so long as it includes "runner" somewhere in the title. Titles mean so much to us though, don't they? I don't call myself a midwife, or do I? Do I do midwife stuff? Is it a duck or a zebra?
A duck LOOKS like a duck. A Zebra LOOKS like a zebra. A runner LOOKS like anyone. 

So, I was supposed to be running a half marathon on Sunday but I can't do it because I don't want to hurt myself any more. So I'm just doing a ten k and really looking forward to the challenge! 
I ran the other day in my new shoes, Sayonara Wave, it was great! No pain, just a little tired after five k, a little out of shape. I spent my run trying to empty my mind, had a sore neck as well from tension, because of some awful witch hunt thingy I heard about, also worrying about the inaccessibility of decent midwifery care and midwifery education for people who can't afford it.

But I ran anyway. Then I ran yesterday, lovely to be back out there, I ran through a leafy suburb behind our house, trying to keep my pace under six but I didn't, I kept it under 6 and a half though.
The thing about running is, you're competing against yourself, even if you're in a race, you just want to run faster and better than you've ever run before. You empty your mind: you don't worry about your kids, or why you ever left the farm, or how the people in the birth community are treating each other so badly, or why the good people die young. You just run.

It's kind of like life that way. You just keep doing it, and trying to do it better and better and better and better, and it feels so good to keep on keeping on!
So, wish me luck! And wish y'all luck and - hey, give it a try! You might like it!