Friday, April 26, 2013

What I Like Best About/Announcement: Number 4

What I Like Best About...

Not Working
This time between the end of term and before starting my summer co-op work assignments for my graduate program has been nothing short of glorious. The weather has been sunny and warm. And despite a penchant for being home-bound, I've been remarkably productive this entire week: the laundry is done, the dishes are clean, the bunnies' supplies are well-stocked. 

But obviously, the thing I like best about not working is being able to run whenever I want. I ran to complete errands. I ran because it was beautiful. I ran because I was bored. I ran simply just to run. And it was totally rad.

Running in the Spring
The weather has been perfect: not too hot, not too cold. As Goldilocks would say, "It was just right." 

Not Having Too Much Time Off
As I said in my last post, I could get used to this beautiful weather and having loads of time off. (Boy, could I ever!) But I start my first co-op assignment on Monday. I'll be back to the grind, and having to fit runs into a less-than-strenuous-than-during-the-school-year schedule. Not having too much time off really will be a good thing, however, as I won't get too comfortable where I am right now. I'm thankful for the break, but a little responsibility is not such a bad thing.

Running Outside
On today's run, I came across a cyclist wielding stereo speakers and playing some old school R&B. While still in motion, I had a five second conversation with volunteers for the NDP election campaign. I smiled at seeing a man wearing a pair of seriously tight pants. I watched dragon boaters on the creek as they worked on their form. And if I chose to run indoors, I would never have experienced these things today. Running outdoors is a special joy that cannot be replaced by elliptical machines and treadmills.

The Lingo
Running lingo just cracks me up. It's a special vocabulary. For example: fartleks, intervals, split times, race pace ... these terms I know. But I came across a few more this week that I'd never heard of before, and wanted to share because I thought they were cool!
Example of a tangent line!
Image ©

Turkey or Bandit: an unregistered runner, trying to race for free.

Running the tangents: shortest distance between two points, usually referring to running the shortest line in the curves/corners.

Event Shirts
Every time a runner participates in a race, he or she is likely to get a T-shirt from the event. Many people wear these shirts while training - partly because most are technical shirts and are of good quality for running, but also out of pride i.e. I ran this race and want to share that with everyone I see on today's run! 

I was wearing my Marathon by the Sea tech shirt on today's run and thought I was kind of "all that" for showing off an east coast race. But I saw a runner today wearing a shirt from the 2010 Chicago Marathon - and that was pretty cool. Runners participate in races all over the world; it's neat to see where they've been and to know they've achieved those goals for themselves.

Announcement: Number 4

At the end of January, I blogged about the races I was considering for marathon #4. But after looking into them a bit more closely, I eventually decided I didn't want to run any of them. 

So which marathon am I running, you ask? Well, it's a British Columbia marathon (bringing 'er back home) and it's early in the fall ... it's the Surrey International World Music Marathon on September 29!

© Surrey International World Music Marathon

Surrey is a suburb of the Lower Mainland and, while it doesn't have the greatest reputation, I think the event will be great. For one, it's close to home. And even though this is only the second year that Surrey is hosting this event, I'm really excited at the prospect of seeing the neighbourhoods on foot and adding to my local medal count. 

Now ... to get back into shape! I'm currently working on building my base mileage and hope to be in good form by the time I start to properly train at the end of May. It's kind of nice to have a definitive running goal, once again. Yippee!

Have a great weekend, everybody. Happy running!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Could Get Used To This

Springtime in Vancouver doesn't always mean dry weather but the last few days have been all about sunglasses, shorts and sunscreen. I built a run into some of the errands I had to complete yesterday, and went out for an hour-long run again today. Being off from school is a wondrous thing. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Support of Volunteers: Reflecting on Boston

I've been struggling with trying to express how the Boston Marathon bombings affected me. Every time I've tried, it's seemed so trite and trivial - I wasn't there. My husband wasn't in the crowd. No one I knew was hurt or killed in the incident. 

But as part of the running community, I know many of us have had great difficulty in coming to terms with what happened on Monday. I think we can relate the experience to our own, having run so many races ourselves and having that familiarity of what it's like to be involved in a running event. I, for one, have watched the video footage, imagining what it would have been like to be running that final stretch, on extremely tired legs, and in anticipation of crossing the finish line. I've imagined seeing my husband on the sidelines, waving his arms and snapping photos. Then to imagine a bomb going off where he stood and seeing fellow runners being knocked over by the blast ... it's just too difficult to even think about. 

But I can imagine it. I have imagined it. And I cry every time.

Of course, there have been many inspiring stories that have emerged in the aftermath - stories of hope, courage, and the bravery of those to help others who are in need. As my husband says, "Sometimes the worst brings out the best in us." There were so many ordinary (extraordinary) people who offered assistance that day to people hurt, stranded, or in shock, but my mind immediately goes to the volunteers at Boston. These are people who had already given of themselves - their time, their efforts. Volunteers make running events tick; they are the ones who hand out the bibs, who check the bags, and who inspire the tired runners to go that extra bit further. There were stories about the volunteers at Boston who cleared the finish area after the bombs went off to help emergency vehicles get through, and of those who came back the next day, without hesitation and with no questions asked, to help reunite runners with their bags and belongings. 

I've always admired the volunteers who have been involved in the races I've run. They are a crucial element to every running event. I'd long considered volunteering at a running event and, since I'd planned to not run any races this spring, a few months ago I signed up to volunteer at the BMO Vancouver Marathon, which happens in 17 days. I was so excited when I chose my shifts; here was my chance! to give back to the running community which has done so much for me these past four years. 

When I'm helping out this year, I think it will be even more poignant. I'm looking forward to doing my part, being involved - and providing assistance to my fellow runners at a time when all of us could use a little extra support. 

This video is about volunteering at the BMO Vancouver Marathon. If you'd like to be involved, they are still looking for volunteers. Sign up today!

© BMO Vancouver Marathon