Saturday, January 19, 2008

" When everything seems to be coming your way, you might just be in the wrong lane"

How are you? how about now? I have been very sick lately and with my new job my kids back at school and training, I have become as mythical as Bigfoot.During Christmas it seemed as was everywhere, but now,I am most often found at home. Lately I feel over exposed, I am just glad to be home with my kids or out on a trail with my bff Nadia snowshoeing. Nadia and I if you haven't met us, we are like Oprah and Gail with out the gay rumors, at least I don't think there are any, but that will explain why I have more male fiends than females and why some people will not return my call.

We where out for the first time together last Sunday to Moose Mountain. It was a beautiful Sunday morning and we had a great time together

I haven't been feeling well so I was glad that she was making all the talking, I was struggling to keep up with her uphill, nothing raised flags, you know the usual, but I guess she was wondering that since I wasn't talking something was up. " I am fine you know"" the kids are great, I love my new job, it pays my bills, I really for the first time, can't complain" " really" she said still not convinced, " I guess, I am surrendering to my life after all" " But where do you see yourself in I don't know 10 years" she added still not convinced.

The greatest thing about snowshoeing is that is tiring enough that with that short conversation both of us greeted silence with relieve. The problem with surrendering is that it looks a lot like giving up and no friend wants that for a friend, embracing yes, giving up hope, no.

I do have to admit that even a best friend will be concern when she will get a call from me Friday night and saying " You are going to be so jealous" " Do tell" at that moment for the tone of her voice I realized something, my answer was not what she was expecting, then I recalled that this weekend is Robert Kennedy's Waterkeepers weekend at Banff and a lot of celebrities are in town, she was probably thinking I had met someone famous and asked me out. " you know with all this snow that fell today, I can go snowshoeing in Nose Hill park tonight when I take our kids swimming, no need to wait to drive to the mountains" I said now rather embarrassed " I know I am a loser" I added " you are not a loser and yes I am jealous"

The truth is hard to explain why my races mean so much. I am sure that everybody expected things to fade by now but it doesn't work that way. It's ingrained in me and it's hard to let go.

The best possible way to make you understand is to take you back to Mexico, long time ago, when I was 5, I remember asking my mom if I could try for the dance competition. My mom said yes and I am sure it was hard, we didn't have money and being in the dance show meant she had to buy me clothes, never the less she said yes, I got in the dance show but it was a small part and as a boy, my mom aways dressed me as a boy because we couldn't afford new clothes and we only got hand me downs, the girl clothes where for my sisters, "plus you looked better as a boy anyway" she told me when I asked recently.

I remember dancing my heart out for years until one year when I was 9 where I got my first solo part as a girl, my mom of course run to buy me a dress, I remember wearing my dress for the first time, it was white and brand new, she couldn't afford shoes so she bought me white sandals and with white socks underneath, from far away they looked like shoes. I will never forget the feeling, and also watching one of my male cousins cry because until now he assumed he had been playing with a boy, he never talked to me after that. I of course continued to dance, even when people though I should stop, I was a bit to old to be doing that, shouldn't she be out dating? .But dancing got me to a better school, where I continued to dance then eventually to modelling then to TV and then to Japan at age 19 away from poverty and crime in Mexico.That is what I see and feel standing at a race, I see a 9 year old with a brand new white dress. That is all I have ever know, grab a dream and don't let go.

I am excited about racing season, and I bit disappointed, Swiss Jura Marathon might be out, but I still have my hopes, the organizer couldn't wait any longer, I looked at my bank account and decided fixing my roof was a priority. " Please one more month" " no go. you too late" Urs said with what I assume was a very Arnold like accent on his email. $790.00 is a lot of money, I pay for my races, every cent I collect goes to the CNIB but for every dollar I spend I raise 3 so I am happy.

But I did sign for a new race the Blackfoot Ultra 100K and I am thinking about racing 6 out of 7 of the Alberta Ultramarathon series. At $50.00/race they are a bargain. I would like to do all 7 but I am in Europe the month on July. Too bad there is a new ultra race this year, The Sinister Seven
I would love to run this race, 135K in Crossnest Pass, but I am counting on running it next year.

As for the answer of the question Nadia had, by the time we where on our way back down Moose Mountain, I had figure out " Here" I said," Here?" " yes here, I am not sure if you will be here, or my kids, or a boyfriend or by myself but one thing I do know is that I am going to be here, out on the trails ten years from now"

Sunday, January 6, 2008

"The starting point of all archivement is DESIRE"

2008 here I come. If the start of the year was any indication of how my year is going to be, I am fully embracing the year to come. On January first I flew to Denver Colorado to try snowshoeing. "Why" that is the question that I heard over and over. All I could think was 'Why not" is it because I am going alone?, or because is cold there? I have no idea why going snowshoeing in Colorado didn't make much sense. I guess I could have done that here in Canmore, but this was New Years, a new beginning. Going to Denver for new years day turn out to be a fantastic adventure. Here is a quick overlook of how my trip went.

I arrived in Denver January 1st and stayed at the Hyatt Tech Center, a beautiful place away from downtown, it was a lot cheaper and very accessible by light rail commuter train, 12 miles to downtown and 1.2 miles from Cherry Creek Trail. A quick google search and two of my runs where decided.

January 3. for my first day I decided to run to downtown and do some shopping along the way. Armed with directions from mapquest I headed North on side streets, stopping at gas stations for snacks and washrooms. The run itself was very quiet one except for a couple of guys on pick up trucks that slowdown while I run to ask me for help finding their puppies, at least that is what I think they where asking, I had my ipod on and they didn't look like runners so I assume they wheren't offering pointers. Arriving downtown 3 hours, 1 lunch, and 2 shopping malls stops later was worth the 12 miles, the architecture was spectacular. I walked around for 2 hours to places such as State Capitol, Civic Center Park, Denver Performing Arts Complex the 16Th Street Mall before heading back the hotel by light rail.

January 4th

Before leaving I had schedule snowshoeing lessons with Denver Adventures. Kevin picked me at the hotel at 9am and headed to Jefferson County. We arrive at Elk Meadow Park. The snow at the bottom of the trail was packed so I didn't need my snowshoes yet, I went ahead of Kevin and started to gain some ground on him. I run ahead and waited for him at intersections, after 30 minutes he handed me a map and told me where to go. he said to go ahead until the snow was to deep to run in. He said the equipment was slowing him down, I offer to carry some and he looked as insulted as if I had offer a date to change his flat tire. Half way Bergen Peak the snow was too deep to run and I waited for Kevin. Strapping on snowshoes for the first time felt like a kid trying on a new bike. after 10 minutes Kevin told me to go ahead once again and to wait for him at the peak. The feeling of running on the snowshoes was of strenght, I was going slower than my usual run but a lot faster than I thought I was going to be. At the peak Kevin and I exchanged some quick snacks, I didn't want to stop to long, I wanted to try running down Bergen Peak on snowshoes. At this point Kevin swallow his ego and handed me the car keys. The freedom! running downhill was so much fun, I got to the bottom and instead of waiting for Kevin at the car I decided to add an other 40 minute loop, and caught up to Kevin 5 minutes before he arrived at the car. Driving back to the hotel 4 hours later, you would have thought we had been friends forever. Kevin and I talked about trail running, he run the mosquito marathon and that is when he got hooked on trail running, he was a single father or 3 and didn't have much time now working two jobs and all.

January 4th

I woke up sore in muscles I didn't knew existed. My calves and quads where killing me. Running on snowshoes forced me to run more on the ball of my feet, sort of chi running, leaning forward. After breakfast I was ready to go to Cherry Creek Trail. The trail is 17 miles of open spaces, once again strapping my snowshoes I felt giddy. I was now running significantly slower than the day before but it felt great to be out there. The weather in Denver is a lot warmer than Calgary, mid to late 30F's. about an hour after my run I stooped at the reservoir where there was a family ice fishing. Snowshoeing is such as a hard work out that at the end of my two hour run, I had hardly any layers on.

After 3 days in Denver, I decided that that is what I wanted for myself for 2008. Booking trips to different destinations is out of my budget but I am lucky to have it all in my backyard. The only difference is that I should book trips overnight not just for the day. It felt great not to have to worry about laundry, kids, house cleaning. After a few days away I run into a person I hadn't seen before, me. Not Norma the mother but the person that can run for hours before heading out for some shopping then dinner and drinks ( I didn't know I had it in me any more, Lindsey Lohan here I come). I thought I might even start a new adventure, the single runner's guide to fun. Traveling alone was more fun that I thought it was going to be. it was unusual for most people, walking to a restaurant and asking for a table for one made people nervous but I felt great. In my short trip I got to meet some fantastic people, and yes I might never see them again but they where a great part of my life for 3 days. Randy the beach volleyball player, Steamboat ( I was afraid to ask why he was called that), Laura the minister, Kevin the single father of 3 and my guide. Traveling alone taught me to live in the moment, to keep my head up and absorb my surrounding. My only regret is not adding more destinations to my trip, like Aspen and Leadville but this will be a great excuse to once again pack my bags and head to the mountains. There where moments of doubts, I did cry once in my long snowshoe run the day before I came back, I started to go over the things I needed to do once I came back home, phone the CNIB and schedule Karl's Braille lessons, phone the Children's hospital to schedule Hans bone scan, Schedule Karl's eye appointment to see how he is progressing. I somehow felt once more overwhelmed. The beauty of long runs is that I have enough time to work through things. There were a lot of great things waiting for me, seeing my kids again, my new job as marketing director, a field I love and that will finally pay enough to pay my bills and fix my leaky basement, the 50K frozen ass race, my friends. I arrived in Calgary to a flat tire at the airport, I had taken my car there, try to find a cab or a friend sober or willing to drive you to the airport at 3am on January 1st. I made an other friend at the gas station as I waited for the tow truck to arrive, the tire key was missing from my car and they had to tow my car to the dealership. Nadia pick me up and we caught up to each others few days, once more living in the moment a skill I had learned in Denver, prevented me from focusing on the negative instead of the positive. After only 5 days into the new year I was ahead of most people who where to busy writing down their goals, I was instead full on living my goals.Living in the moment will be a skill that I will need in 2008 to make sure that my spirit keeps growing. Living in the moment teaches me to enjoy the journey until I reach my destination.