Friday, November 25, 2011

Hey Rosetta, come run with me?

And we don't look back, cause we don't need that
And we're going too fast, and we don't want to, 
we don't want to crash

Seeds, Hey Rosetta, Seeds

How was your run? The same question.
It was great. The same answer.

How do I describe the run. The joy of moving?

How was your run?

Well, I'm so glad you asked, stop me if I go on....

The run was thrilling and simple and left me breathless. I am in awe of my strength and my commitment to my body. I am powerful and my mind is sharp like a tack. It wanders, my mind. I review my day. I plan for tomorrow. I reflect on family. It's all so clear and positive. The music, Hey Rosetta, sings to me and I dance alone along the trail, sometimes slow, I like the slow dances. I dance to the tempo, the tempo becomes the run, the lyrics become the reason for the run. I walk the footbridge because it's just so damn beautiful. I need time to absorb the moment. The frazil ice all jagged and sharp. The sun bleeds from the dusk sky. Moments of beauty that give meaning. Meaning to life and being. We remember these moments, we file them, and we take them away for when they are needed most. They shape us and give us character. The memories of beauty become the treasures of the old. They become all we have. I run to create memories of beauty.

I run fast at the end, breathless and heart pumping, I dont look back.

How was the run?

It was great.

It's a good day to be alive.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Harte Trail

Harte Trail in west Winnipeg is part of the Trans-Canada Trail.  It runs parallel to Wilkes Avenue on the south and Assiniboine Forest on the north.  Harte Trail is part of a network of trails that meander through some of the prettiest parts of Winnipeg. Harte gets its name from the Harte Line, a section of the old Grand Trunk Railway built in the late 1800's.  Just south of the trail is the modern day CN line.  The trail transitions from fields to forests, to middle class Charleswood suburbia.  There's a ditch full of critters and a large variety of interesting vegetation.  I saw a deer but it bolted as I reached for my camera.  It's a sweet little 6.5 km trail (13 return) with many inviting benches perched strategically every kilometer or so.  
I saw young lovers strolling the trail arm-in-arm, happy dog walkers, geo-cachers walking purposefully through waist deep vegetation (why do geocachers always look lost... they have gps) , speedy bikers with serious faces, old people with canes and warm smiles, children with parents.  It was a nice run. In a word, pleasant. There's any number of trails leading off the Harte, some are cross-country ski trails, some mountain bike trails, some for horses, some for walkers, some for old farm machinery.  I left the Garmin in the car and brought the camera.  So glad I did. 

The downside of the trail is that it crosses six different streets.  The streets come up suddenly, especially in summer when the vegetation is thick, and cars don't always give right of way.  It's also straight as an arrow and flat which makes it less interesting than a winding trail with changing elevations.  It also just ends... almost anticlimactic... at the perimeter highway.  There is a nice bench but the view is disappointing, an open field looking on to a 4 lane highway.  The Headingley Grand Trunk Trail is on the other side of the perimeter highway but crossing all that high speed traffic is not something I would relish.

My total distance today was about 9 miles but I stopped to photograph (90 pictures) and I walked down some trails just to see where they would lead.  I wasn't in a rush, time was the last thing on my mind.  The chocolate break at mile 6 was blissful, yes purely blissful, no exaggeration.  Chocolate does that eh?   How often can we stop to simply sit on a bench and eat a piece of chocolate.  Such a simple pleasure and yet almost impossible to achieve in our busy lives.  
One of the many off-shoot trails.  This one was particularly inviting.  I followed it for about 1 km. 
I received an email from a friend today recommending Once a Runner by John L. Parker.  Apparently it's a cult classic.  How did I miss out on this? My only question is to buy a paper copy or download the audio file from iTunes.  It would be a good one for the iPod, but I think I want this one in my bedside library  Spoiler alert... don't read the Wiki review because it gives way too much.
Tonnes of amazing vegetation.
Here's the opening line from Wiki...  
The novel opens with a physically fit young man standing on a track, watching as "the night joggers" toil around him. He begins to walk toward the starting post, and thinks that now that the Olympic games are over for him, he does not know what he will do with his life. The man starts to walk around the track, and thinks back to four years ago.  
I'm going to order it this evening.  
I never met a bench I didn't like , but this one spoke to me like none other.  Good old Simon and Garfunkel...  looking for fun and .... feeling groovy.  

Lindt Chocolate... one square... mile six, sea salt... feeling groovy, yes indeed.

Gotta love this little clip... a shout out to all the vegetarian and vegan runners out there.  Enjoy the day, it's a good one to be alive.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A perfectly beautiful day...

Yes friends, it's a perfectly beautiful day for a run. Steel grey skies, foreboding and whisperings of colder weather sure to come. Faint glimmerings of sunlight poking through weakly and with no warmth other than the memories of sun.  The sun, like impossibly gorgeous blobs of colour on canvas... a grey canvas, sad and yet hopeful, the blobs, yellow and golden on a sea of grey, they make me smile.  Faint traces of rain, a soft rain the Irish say, a rain from faraway. The meteorologists say confidently -smugly,  it's the perimeter of a Colorado low... as if they can predict, as if they know.  It's a soft rain, the Irish say, and that's all that needs to be said.  And the wind, from the south, or was it the east, the wind too was soft at times, but chilled the bones as we turned around at the Forks.  The wind blows strong here, off the river with little shelter.  Shelter From the Storm, an old Dylan tune from Blood on the Tracks, now looping through my brain, such a lovely song, but I show my age.

We hunch our shoulders, shorten the stride, and forge homeward.  Me in two layers, synthetic base layer and Merino wool outer layer, both light and fitting snug -just the way I like it- and working well together, providing wicking and warmth from the wet.  Beads of rain gather on the brim of my cap and roll onto my face like tears. My chest now lightly drenched ... can something be lightly drenched or is that an oxymoron?  It's my blog so I take artistic license and I say lightly drenched stays.

Thinking of music as I run.  Wilco's new album, The Whole Love, has been getting lots of play time lately... so many amazing tracks, Black Moon is haunting and tugs dearly at my soul or One Sunday Morning... so beautiful, like the grey skies of today's run with blobs of colours and textures, tender and harsh like the soft sun against the steel sky.  Music is like that, it takes us away and soothes the brain... sorta like a good run.  A good run does that and more. Yes?

I have decided to register for Fargo Marathon.  I've registered twice before and had to pull out both times due to injuries.  Last year a mere 5 days before race day I twisted an ankle.  Two years before I strained my calf about a week before race day. I need to slay Fargo.  This is the year.  I also need to slay Chicago, but that's another story.

And finally, a word about Ted's Run.  Every day is a good day for a run, some are just better than others. Such was the day for Ted's Run.  Big blue, blue sky, warm sun, cool tunes, smiles everywhere.  Ted was in the sky and he smiled openly and his love radiated warmly.  It was vibrant and it was Kodachrome.

Early in the morning before the crowds arrived walking next to her in dawn's light she stopped and tried to articulate what this day means ... to her ... to Ted.  The words choked and failed as they often do.  Silence was appropriate so, in silence we held one another and it was good and it was right. I thought of the last time I saw Ted.  He was running, not fast for speed was irrelevant to Ted, he was strong, smiling, proud.  It was a good day to be alive then as it is a good day to be alive now.  Ted's is gone but -my oh my- how his spirit continues to motivate.

If you're reading this, I suspect you either attended the run, volunteered at the run, or otherwise supported the run through your good cheer and your good vibes.  I am indebted to your kindness.  I am grateful for your suport.  I am a better person for knowing you.

To all of you, it's a good day to be alive.