The day I took a DNS

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Signing up, training for, and getting to the start line of a race is an accomplishment in itself. Managing weeks or months of training (injury free) can make the race feel like a completely different entity. It is a finish line beyond a start line.

I ran a fun summer half-marathon. I signed up for the half-marathon when I was full of gusto and inspiration. I was losing a bit of motivation (and speed) by the time the race day came around, but surprised myself by almost running a PB (personal best). I thank the two km’s of downhill along the course for that.

After that I kept running. As usual after a race, my coach ensured I had fun, easy, inspiring, no-time-goal runs. I was reminded of why I love to run.

One day my foot hurt. It was a strange pain under the arch of my toes, like my metatarsal bones were suddenly squished. I stopped, loosened my laces, massaged my foot. It was sore, but I finished the half hour run home.

For the next weeks, between visits to physiotherapy and massage, I kept running. I limped when I wasn’t running. My foot caused me a lot of pain, but in my runner-brain I figured it wasn’t broken so I could probably keep going.

(runningonpb.com)

(runningonpb.com)

I had a marathon planned in six weeks. My mileage was not increasing. I decided that if I could work up to run three hours without altering my stride to compensate for pain, I would run the race. I was currently topped out at two hours and was (literally) limping from a standstill. (Momentum and adrenaline (and sheer stupidity) helped a lot with keeping me going).

Diagnoses were varied as I could never express my symptoms in the same way twice. It was hard to distinguish root causes from deferred pain. The top of my foot would swell (tendonitis) and the side of my foot was sore (stress fracture) and I would get pain under my toes (intermetatarsal neuroma).

I write this the night before the race. I picked up my bib today knowing that tomorrow will be my first DNS (did not start). It happens, certainly. When I talk to other runners they all have a story of the race -usually races- that they had every intention of running, but didn’t. Such is the nature of sport, and life.

Consequently, I have not spent the last week checking the weather every 15 min.

I do not have three different outfits laid out depending on how I may feel in the morning. I am not wondering how many grams of carbs and protein I am eating. I am not strategizing the least amount of time needed to optimally get to both gear check and the port-o-potty in the morning before the start. I am not counting how many hours of sleep I could get tonight. Or how many I got last night, the more important night of rest.

I am still getting up early. I plan to go and watch friends run and take in the atmosphere. I will cheer on their efforts and applaud their dedication and determination. I will embrace the DNS in a new way: as a Daring New Spectator.

August: Attitude of Gratitude

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Most days I write down up to five things I am grateful for, big or small, subtle or apparent. I archive and post the list monthly. This is August 2014.

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 a planned mommy-daughter outing — that my foot will feel better — my well-timed physio appt next week — avocados — the realization that when we are separated from some thing and don’t really miss it, it’s not as sentimentally important as I had thought.

“you don’t know how good yoga is for you until you stop doing it” — the ice I had for my sore foot before my run — making it through my run intact and no worse off — seeing old friends — coffee in the sunshine.

 the quiet and sunshine and creek on our trail run — my daughter getting ready for her camping — my son’s enthusiasm for his garden — having dinner together — being in a crowd, but also being able to get away from it.

the drive to take my daughter to camp — her quiet confidence — ch00sing not to stop for a morning coffee, but coming home and making chocolate cake instead — taking a “do nothing” day — still getting loads of laundry done (with my husband’s help).

old friends coming back to work — only one kid to get ready in the morning — the serendipity of getting a B12 shot — my naturopath’s kindness and energy — remembering to return Library books and DVDs.

making the decision not to run — still being able to go to the gym — a workout that made me weak in my knees (in a good way) — fresh kale from the garden (this never gets old) — watch tennis with my son from the comforts of the couch.

 finally!  a physio appt — finally! some relief for my foot — going to the gym and feeling better after — being able to go to a great vegan restaurant for lunch — my husband finding a cheaper and realiable and decent plumber.

my last day of work before holidays — thinking about packing/planning/prep for holidays in small increments — icing my foot — sorting lights from darks — that there is still so much sunshine.

packing in advance — Cookies — good neighbours — time off from work — that the Cat is not really phased much by us leaving (although she knows!)

my mom — running with my hubby — the kids being entertained by in-laws — going to bed early — a good read (Indian Horse / Richard Wagamese).

in-laws — change of scenery — time (alone) with my hubby — a beautiful resort with 3 nights booked — doing nothing — no expectations or obligations.

coffee dates — going to the gym — fresh towels — another day! — reading a book that reminds me of how precious the present is (February / Lisa Moore).

bike rides — run dates — lazy mornings — not having to drive 4 hours to retrieve the kids — being prepared for another adventure.

having all our gear/camping stuff/food fit in the car — good directions — sunny weather — camping with more family — seeing cousins for the first time in 15 years.

camping coffee — extra blankets — lifejackets — kayaks — beer.

communal meals — camping chairs — clean showers — still being able to run — bats.

not losing anything when packing up — shorter than expected drives — time to myself — hot showers — running.

making the trip home in shorter stages — encouragement from my hubby to get another run in — the feeling after the run — that the hotel had a pool — that the hotel was across from a Starbucks.

changing plans with ease (bribing kids!) — not spending too much money at IKEA — being inspired to do more at home — the benefits of mid-week travel: catching the ferry when only waiting 15 min (instead of the usual 1.5 hours) — being home in daylight.

waking up at home — get up before anyone else — an emergency physio appt – that my physio made me feel better — running.

days off during the week — not doing more than we wanted to — zucchini — the cheap and friendly reno guy — getting the kids newspaper route done with ease.

trail running — that my foot was more cooperative than I expected — chai latte — napping — meals together.

managing to start and finish another longish run — the reminder that the mind can be weaker than the body — the perfectly placed water fountain on my run route — the kids being excited for soccer camp.

sunny weather — still summer days — the leftover bits from holiday that give you a bit of energy to get back to work.

free coffee — dark and spicy chocolate.

being able to stay home when my mind was elsewhere — finally getting to the gym — a good distraction a workout can provide — a good grounding a workout can provide — zucchini.

taking the day off from running — watching a marathon tennis game — being excited for someone else’s success — the kids appreciation of dinner together.

getting out for coffee — that it didn’t hurt my foot quite as much to walk — that my new barista comically unintentionally still gets my drink order wrong — new fiction to read (The signature of all things / Elizabeth Gilbert).

Saturday morning run — the beautiful views despite the fog — running with others — a restorative and quiet afternoon — no expectations.

a long Sunday run on a new route — that my foot was feeling so much better that I could actually mostly run — the simplicity of enjoying my run — the satiated feeling of exhaustion and completion and fulfillment — going out for brunch.

July: Attitude of Gratitude

 

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Most days I write down five things I am grateful for, big or small, subtle or apparent. I archive and post the list monthly. This is July 2014.

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having the day off (thank you Captain Canada!) — the hot weather — finishing my run — lots of d0-nothing time — that my husband took my daughter to see fireworks while I went to bed.

 less sugar  — reading funny commentary — not having to wear so many layers — coffee visits — picking up my kids.

emails with photos from travelling family — the man who held the door open for me –the extra bag I brought to buy groceries — my favorite yogurt  — my favorite yogurt on sale.

slow day at work — leaving early — clean floors — enjoy my dinner — my coach recognizing how tired I’ve been.

running with my husband — taking it really easy — lots of rest time — kale from the garden — lots of me time.

my son’s humour — his positive energy — his help with groceries — not being so scheduled — sleeping in.

green lights in traffic — healthy choices for lunch — giving my daughter options she could accommodate — being patient with my feelings — chocolate.

my son’s exuberance about his cooking camp — recognizing when I am overwhelmed (even if it may not appear like it) — being mindful — finding parking.

an easy run — a (legs only) dip in the ocean — dogs and their funny personalities — dogs on the beach — spending time with my kid.

the way newspaper stuffed into your shoes really helps to dry them out faster.

eating the last bite of something delicious and knowing it was just the right amount.

going for an easy, sunshine-y run — taking the time in my day to take care of me — being able to also fit in activities for the kids — riding the train — afternoon rest.

chocolate and almond power bars — running with friends — living in such a scenic and accessible place — mango popsicles — beach time.

 sunshine — yoga — predictability — decaf coffee — an end to the day.

resisting temptation — strength in choices — accepting me now — my son’s comment when we were brushing teeth “boy, I have a handsome smile!” — my daughter’s steps towards independence.

 a day off — a good “float” — that to lose weight means I need to be okay with where I am now — pants that fit — familiar strangers.

lunch with a colleague — that people are not as scary as they seem — that I do seem to have a “work” persona — running for fun — lemonade on a sunny day.

a better night’s sleep — reminders of the past — realizing I made it through some of the experiences I’d forgotten out — how much the kids are enjoying their summer camps — fresh kale.

still taking the time to be easy on myself — starting to feel better physically — patience — trusting that things will change — trusting that things can change.

the quiet of early morning — how predictably delicious my breakfast tastes — a good trail run — sunshine — beautiful scenery.

a few extra moments at the end of the day — easy traffic — the boy’s positive attitude — getting weekend laundry done — summertime meals.

a new cleaning lady — good neighbours — blue sky — a small kindness with big rewards — feeling sore from my run but immensely satisfied.

patience for challenges that I cannot relate to — longer evenings — my husband for feeding the kids — making time for my workout — an unexpected glass of wine.

making vacation plans — simplifying plans — taking the time to do what I want — running shoes — feeling present during my run.

running errands at lunch — doing nothing in the evening — letting go of tentative plans and not feeling obliged — the upcoming forecast — chocolate milk.

longer runs — having water on my longer run — not feeling great, but still feeling accomplished — fresh salad — espom salt baths.

trail runs with great people — the view from the peak — a haircut — watching buskers with the kids — still having a few hours for Sunday nothings.

the kids up early — the kids getting out of the house on time — finding money in my wallet — the free coffee on my rewards card — the giant potato my son grew.

my husband’s texts —  a planned workout — a modification to the planned workout — seeing old running friends — seeing kids in their pajamas when I get home.

the thermostat being fixed at work — being able to do both a run and a gym workout — the kids enthusiams for their job — not having to make dinner — summer running clothes.

my son’s explanation for what a wedding is: “that thing where they kiss” — bananas — finding a shortcut in traffic — warm summer nights — finding inspiration in how others overcame adversity.