Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Andrea and I ran Melissa's 10km Saturday, fighting migraines and bowel discomfort, but we survived and we will both run again.  There is a man who won't!  


A lady I know from work, also ran Melissa's 10km with a group of her friends.  They all started across the finish line together, on time, but eventually got spread out, making sure every one of them had a running buddy.  My girlfriend and her "buddy" crossed the line at the time they thought they would and waited for their friends. They all straggled in, except for one pair of men. 

Those who had finished running, grabbed well deserved snacks, stretched and waited near the finish with the wife of one of the runners left on course.  Within 10 minutes of the girls finishing, the men approached the chutes that led to the finish line.  There were crowds of runners, all finishing at the same time and the two men got separated.  One went through the chute to the right and the other went left.  Only one man emerged from the finish area.  He was greeted by his friends, but everyone was waiting for the big celebration until their last friend made it through the crowd. 


They waited and waited, his pregnant wife, holding the hands of their two excited pre schoolers, waiting to be swept up in daddy's sweaty arms.  But Daddy never came through the cutes!  After a couple of hours and lots of anxiety the wife found a police man. She explained that her husband had run Melissa's and now he was no where to be found.  The police mentioned that one runner had been taken to the hospital but he was un identified.  Her heart sank.  See, her husband was wearing her race bib, he would be impossible to identify!

 Melissa's is a race you have to enter for in February.  In February, the wife didn't know she was expecting a third child.  Her husband, a fit man, had decided he'd run in her place. He'd just use her bib number, how fun!  

You can imagine the confusion at the finish line with race officials trying to track down the actual identity of this runner, when they realized his face didn't match the female name on his bib!  To make matters more confusing another of the friends had actually registered the whole group using his address and phone number. The hospital could not reach the wife!


He had collapsed at the finish line but because of the crowd, his passing went unnoticed by the crowd, including his own friends.  Race officials had tried to recessate him, however, he was gone.  He was transported to hospital.


The wife, surrounded by her friends went to the hospital in Banff, after talking to the police man, where they were met in the lobby by a doctor, holding her husbands shirt!

As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death. 
- Leonardo da Vinci

Saturday, September 26, 2009


My girlfriend, Andrea, and I left my house this morning dressed to run the infamous Melissa's 10km run in Banff. We had Scout on the back seat of her jetta, ready to drop off for a play date, we had our timing chips fastened to our shoes, our numbers pinned to our Lululemon tops and our hearts filled with anticipation of the fun, beautiful day that waited for us in the majestic rocky mountains. Andrea had been training religiously and was ready to tackle this run with the single goal of beating her previous time of 1 hour and 14 minutes, a time she had run the same race in, after finishing chemo treatments three years ago. Today, she was stronger, a survivor, ready to race! I was uncharacteristically nervous. My recent bowel troubles have side lined my training, but it wasn't lack of training that made me nervous about today, I know I can run 10km, no prob. The idea that my stomache could retaliate and cause me to have uncontrollable gas, which could turn into liquid in my pants(ew), is what made me nervous!!!
We had carefully planned to leave my house by 8:45am, which should have given us plenty of time to arrive at the 10:30am start of the race with time to spare, and we did. What we had forgotten to factor into our perfect plan, was the time it would take to drop Scout off at her play date. By the time we left Andrea's brother's house it was 9:15am and we still had an hour to drive. Ok, we'd be cutting it close, but we, techinically could still make it. Things were still looking good....then we got stuck behind the BMW. It was a black car and looking back, I see that following the obnoxious driver of that car was the start of our real "adventure." He was the kind of driver who controlled the road. He wouldn't let you pass him, he'd slow down and speed up like a maniac and when we finally managed to squeak past him, he waved a creepy wave that sent chills down our spines. Now, we were both rattled, but we chose to focuse on getting to Banff, to the race start! We hit the town of Banff at 10:22am, still feasable to make it to the start. All we had to do was find a parking spot, not an easy feat in the little touristy mountain town. After driving to the top level of a parking stadium and back down again without finding a vacant spot, we had lost all kinds of time. The clock in the jetta now read 10:30. We pulled illegally to the side of a street and parked beside a yellow curb. We raced out of the car towards the start line, at least a km away. This was not the ideal way to start a race, but we knew, from previouse experience, that it would take the runners at 
least 10mins to get through the starting chute, so we could concievably make it. Ofcorse we had to stop at the washroom on the way to the start line, hey no one can start a run with a full bladdar, and Andrea noticed her timing chip had fallen off her shoe! We had no time to go back for it, we'd have to use mine as our official time. We ran from the washroom to the start line with my wrist watch reading 10:45am. We passed the runners as they made their way across the bridge, our anxiety levels raised, but there was nothing we could do, we had to get to the start. This was clearly not going to be an ideal "start," but we'd make it before they took down the start gate. By the time we made it to the official start crossed over the timing chip pad, and started the race, we were last!!! We had already run an extra kilometer and we were last!!! We were so far behind the others that we couldn't even see the pack at all. Andrea and I had to rely on the race volunteers in their bright orange vests to guide us on course. We got to the bridge, the same one we had passed the runners on, however the race volunteer at the bottom of the bridge, instructed us to run under the bridge. Against our own judgement and despite our confusion, we followed the direction his finger pointed, and we ran under the bridge. It wasn't until we hit the sign that said 1 mile, that we learned our adventure was going to continue for a lot longer than we had anticipated. "Yay," I said to Andrea, "only 5 more miles to go!" The lady holding the sign heard me, smiled and said, "you mean 12 more miles." I assured her that I definately meant 5 more miles!!! She gave us a confused look as we jogged by, and when my eyes met hers, I figured it out, we were on the 22km race course, NOT the 10km. We were now running in a half marathon!!!! Ahhhhh! This was not what Andrea had been training for, this was not what I had promised my bowels they had to behave for, this was not plan A!!!! Andrea handled all of this stress very well, afterall she was there to run a Personal Best and so far, nothing that had happened was helping her reach her goal. We decided we'd run to the 10km mark, check our time and see how we felt. We could stop after 10km, like we had planned, or we could keep going and see how far we could go. I have run lots of races, including more than one half marathon, so I wasn't worried that my legs and lungs could handle the run, I just wanted Andrea to have an awesome race. I know what it is like to chase a personal best and by now I would have been mentally destroyed, but she kept a smile on her face and determination on her brow. We hit the 10km mark at a time Andrea was proud of, she had done it, she had beat her post chemo time, gotten the PB she had come for! The only thing missing was...the finish line!!! There was no music, no muffins, no cheering. The only thing there, to witness her stellar finish were trees and the cannon camera I had carried to capture the moment!! We had a mini celebration, but quickly realized, we were far from...anything. We did not have a choice at this point, we had to keep going! We walked for a while, we ran for a while and before we knew it, we had run 12km, 2km farther than Andrea had ever run before!! 12km was a big accomplishment, but we still couldn't drop out of the race, there was no where to go, we were in the middle of the rockies....we decided to run one more km and quit.

The 13km marker witnessed a mini celebration from us, but offered no opportunity to quit.

 Just after mile 13 we hit "smiley bridge" where the volunteer Crazy Larry greeted us with balloons and smiles, he encouraged us and we made it one more km where we finally saw TOWN!!! Andrea made the call, she could feel a migraine developing and didnt feel she could run any farther, who could with a migraine??? We staggered our way back towards the finish line where we indulged in the donuts, cookies and bananas, treats reserved for race finishers, which we considered ourselves, though we never actually crossed an official finish line at the end of our race!!

I tip my hat to Andrea for having such a positive attitude throughout this ordeal and for achieveing a personal best! Here's to next year and Plan A!!!

Check out Andrea's blog where she has posted her own "take" on our race adventure at http://andreasanimals.blogspot.com

Friday, September 25, 2009


I've been having troubles lately with my tummy.  I mean, worse troubles than usual.  My guts, or "bowel" as the doctor likes to call it, has turned into this giant, hard knot. The start of an ulcer? IBS? Not sure yet, the lab will disclose that soon enough.  While I wait it out in discomfort, fatigue and constant nausea, I gotta admit there are a few laughs that go along with the symptoms of an irritated bowel. Yep, I'm gonna use that word alot cause I bet it makes people squirm...he he! Anyway, my angry bowel becomes quite a bit happier when I can release some of the pressure on it. This, as you may have already guessed, involves farting, which, as anyone who knows me well, can attest to, I do a lot. While I have always had, what my sister refers to as a "rotten ass," lately things have become significantly more rotten, if that's possible!  The rotteness grows more intense, however, I continue to be reining champ of the "silent but violent" signature emission.  This has become extremely handy in my professional field.  As a teacher, it is easy to get away with these horrible flachulents, mostly undetected...I've had a lot of fun with this over the last couple of weeks.  I will "let one go," walk away and watch the drama unfold.  It always starts with the student who happened to be closest to the "drop zone," catching a whiff.  His nose starts to wrinkle, he looks around, with an accusing glance at other classmates.  Within seconds he is pulling his shirt up over his nose, a move that is always followed by a verbal blaming of the guy sitting next to him.  By this time several students have gone through the same motions and before I know it, more than half the class, shirts up over their noses are making gagging noises, pointing fingers at suspects.  I move around the room continuously avoiding eye contact with all victims.  Most of the time I can't help but get into the action, by commenting, "ewww, someone stinks!!!"  My comments are always followed by my lips turning up into a grin, which is indefinately followed by an outloud laugh, after all, farts are always funny. The best though, is when one of the little gaffers proudly claims the stench as his own!!!  "Excusez-moi.  It was me," the boy called out with a pride so convincing, no one questioned it, especially not me!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


On the last day of school, I packed every dumbell, all exercise balls and my plyometric laddar out of my classroom into my car. I had taken to teaching a Bootcamp class, two afternoons a week to some of the staff. We'd had a lot of fun sweating together, but over the summer, I planned to continue my workouts at home, HA!!! 
Just yesterday, I picked every dumbell, all exercise balls and the plyometric ladder, up off the garage floor where it had sat all summer and loaded it back into my car.  All the good intentions in the world had not been enough to make me to leave the sunshine, my running paths and the bike trails to spend anytime at all on developing my biceps.  Yesterday afternoon though, my biceps got a wake up call!  Only a few short months ago I had biceps and as far as I was concerned they surly must still exist. I am not the kind of athlete who believes that I could have possibly gotten out of shape, just because I took a break from working out.  As I shouted words of encouragement to the ladies I was training, I curled, pressed, squated, side raised and lunged with weights similar to those that I had lifted in June. I crunched, skipped and stepped with the same vigour I had during the last week of school.  I wiped my face with a fresh towel, waved good bye  to my sweaty friends and headed for home, wondering how I was so lucky to be one of those people who could stay fit and strong without spending all summer in the gym...this morning, I realized, I AM NOT!!!!!  My legs barely supported my weight as I threw them over the bed and tried to stand up.  I braced myself against the wall as my legs wobbled under the pressure of holding up my body and felt pain race across my chest. Not heart attack pain, but chest muscle pain.  I stumbled to the bathroom, sure that my walk resembled that of someone with a stick shoved down their pants.  It took me 20 seconds to lower myself to the toilett seat, my quads screamed, but not as loud as my butt cheeks upon contact with the porcelain.  Scrubbing my hair and applying mascara proved to be challenging as my shoulders burned and fatigued after only a few seconds of being raised.  I grabbed the railing with both hands, but getting down the stairs was slow and painful!! All day, I hobbled along, strained to sit and avoided all stairs.  My entire body screamed, "you did this to yourself, you idiot!!!!!!"  The ladies who had sweated with me, cursed me all day as they too struggled to do everyday simple tasks like sit on the toilet seat and sneeze! I did my best to try to disguise the fact, that I too was suffering and thought, OMG, if we think this is bad, wait until tomorrow, when the DOMS (delayed onset muscle sorness) set in for real! Ahhhhh!! No pain, no gain right?????

Monday, September 21, 2009


Remember when you were little and you couldn't wait to grow up so you could stay up as late as you wanted at night? I do. I remember thinking that when I grew up I would never go to bed before 10pm.  I would sit on the couch after supper, eat corn chips, drink beer and watch TV.  That's what it seemed like my Dad did. Every time I came downstairs to pee, after I'd been sent to bed, I'd see Dad, sitting on the couch, eating corn chips, telling me to be quiet and go back to sleep.  He looked so relaxed, one hand on the remote, the other wrapped around a beer.  I desperately wanted to be in his shoes and I couldn't wait.  
Now, here I am in my thirties myself, and the only thing my hands wrap around after 10pm is the pen I use to cross things off the "to do" list sitting on the counter!  Sooo much to do, so little time! True, the things on my list are all fun things, so it's hard to feel sorry for me.  But even fun things like, walking my dog, riding my horse, taking riding lessons, grocery shopping, teaching Bootcamps, talking to friends on the phone, talking to Nic, in Nepal, on the phone, finding jelly-bellies at Walmart, wedding dress shopping, running, calling Oasis Weddings Mayan, need to get done in the waking hours.  There just doesn't seem to be enough of them to do all of that and have time to sit on the couch eating corn chips, drinking beer.  How did Dad do it? Maybe that's just the way I remember it....or maybe it is just the male way...even as I write this at 11:02pm, Marty is laying on the couch a bag of caramel popcorn in one hand, the remote in the other......

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I spent almost 5 hours, Saturday at Spruce Meadows, Calgary's premier horse jumping facility during, The Masters, Calgary's world class horse jumping event, and didn't even see one horse jump one fence, not one!!  See mom and I wondered into the Equifair, before heading over to the jumping arena and, well, never left! We got swept up in the excitement that is horse people selling horse stuff to other horse people.  We laughed at silly T-shirts with sayings like "silly cowboy, trucks are for girls," we slid large silver and turquoise bangles and rings over our apendages, we watched Sahm-Wow demos, stared as one lady squirted ketchup on white breeks, and watched in amazement as she demonstrated the technology inside the fabric of those english riding pants that allowed her to just spray the red tomatoey stain off with water.  We tasted food from around the world, enjoyed countless free candies, displayed at almost every booth, tried on everything from boots, to scarves to raincoats and we pet every breed of horse imaginable, but we did not see one single horse jump one single fence.  We spent time in bathrooms, changerooms, alleyways and barns, but not one minute in the stands at the jumping arena.  We spent money to park, money to eat, money on clothes and other great horsey "must haves" but not one dime on a "Spruce Meadows Masters" souvenir.  We had a great time together all over Calgary's premier horse park, except in the spectator stands.  Why did we spend 5 hours at Spruce Meadows during an elite jumping event and not watch any jumping? Because we were having too much fun to notice we were missing anything!!! For all we knew, there was nothing else going on in the park! Thanks mom for an awesome weekend!!

Check out the adorable English riding breeks and tops we got!! Yes please!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Scout ate my two hundred dollar running shoes today!!!! I shrugged off the Walmart flip flops she destroyed this summer, I chalked the missing toe on my Merrels up to her being a brand new puppy last fall, but this, the two hundred dollar shoes, this cannot be ignored....but I guess it has to be. Marty texted me this morning, when he discovered the "accident" but there was nothing I could do from my classroom but shake my head.  By the time I got home, Marty had obviously cleaned up the crime scene, well kind of.  Weird how boys clean things up.  I got home and saw what was left of my two hundred dollar Asics!!!  The tops of the toes were chewed out of them, the laces were strung out across the floor and bits and pieces of plastic and rubber were scattered near by.  Okay, so maybe Marty hadn't actually cleaned up the crime scene at all...weird. I would have.  Who leaves a gory murder scene, even a shoe murder scene all day for the Victim to see, in detail, when she gets home from a long day at work?????? Oh yeah, her fiance, ofcorse!
Anyway, standing in the middle of the now 8 hour old crime scene was the criminal herself.  Her whole body shook with excitement when she saw, her tongue started licking the air with kisses for me, her best buddy!  All of this love made it IMPOSSIBLE for me to be mad at her, impossible!  Instead, I decided to be mad at Marty.  That's how my night went....think I'll go eat some nutella....

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Went riding with my friend Jamie after work today. Jamie, her horse, Panda, DirtFace, Scout and I have been riding together quite a bit this summer.  Panda has gotten used to Scout dashing in and out of the bushes carrying long, scary sticks, Dirt Face has gotten used to Scout "helping" me lead him across the pasture by grabbing the lead shank in her teeth and Jamie has gotten used to Scout's over zealous welcome ritual, the one that involves lots of wiggling, plenty of licking and a little jumping.  All in all, I'd say we had a great summer!  
Today, though, it is summer, it felt like fall. We went riding right after work so we didn't have Scout with us, which just felt wrong!  But then, right from the get go things didn't quite feel right, especially for Jamie.  First, she had forgotten her riding clothes in her car and had to change out of her skirt and blouse in the back of the barn, she had no socks and had to wrestle with her boots to get her sweaty feet into them, and then Panda had a few new scrapes and scabs on his butt.  Finally we got the boys saddled and headed out on another riding adventure, minus our trusty sidekick, Scout.  We randomly decided to ride into a part of the pasture that we hadn't ridden all summer.  When we got to the gate, I jumped off Dirt to open it. Dirt stood, munching on grass while I struggled with the barbed wire.  Jamie sat on Panda while he reached his head down to gobble grass, as he was clearly starving, ha!  Anyway the longer I struggled the more vigourously Panda chewed at the grass.  At one point he started stomping his foot. Like, really stomping.  Jamie and I both, startled looked at him and cursed, "what the hell are you doing Panda?" From where I was standing on the ground, I could see something in his eyes that told me he was not just having a temper tantrum.  His stomping became more urgent and Jamie grabbed a hold of the reins.  Finally, I saw a hornet on his foot, "he's got a bee on him, " I pointed out casually and as soon as those words had come out of my mouth, I realized, he didn't just have a bee on him, he had several!  "Ahhh, your standing on a wasp's nest!" I screamed! Jamie, wheeled an agitated, jigging, stomping, head tossing Panda out of the area and dismounted as soon as she could.  Needless to say, we cut our ride short and headed back to the barn.  Jamie hosed down Panda's already swelling legs, which was easy to do without Scout running around trying to "help" with the hose.  Today's ride wasn't the same as our fun summer rides, and I think all four of us went to bed tonight longing for those lazy, Scout accompanied, wasp free rides!

Monday, September 7, 2009


This is not a retriever, it's Jasper.  Scout found a great playmate in Aimee and Shane's dog, he could almost keep up with her, almost....
Just got back from the dog park, where Scout invented a new game: Rolling Retrievers! Anyone who has met Scout, knows that she has a an abundance of energy!  She plays hard, sleeps hard and eats hard, if you can't keep up, you better get out of her way!!  That is what the dogs down at the park are learning. Either, you chase her in a million high speed circles, you get up on your hind feet and attempt to box with her, or you get rolled!!!  We must have met three golden retrievers today, ranging in age from 6 months to 2.5 years and though all three displayed valliant attempts at playing with Scout, they were no match.  Each one of them in turn found themselves rolling down one hill or another after being accidently knocked to the ground, by an exuberant Scout, who then licked them to death! Her tongue worked with such force that it literally gave each dog just enough of a push that he or she found themselves tumbling down slopes, Scout excitedly chasing after them! While it can be intimidating, hers is the kind of energy that scoops all, within a hundred foot radius, into a giant frenzy of happy excitement! I wish I could bottle that enthusiasm up and drink it each day before heading into my classroom, or better yet, I wish I could feed it to every kid in my classroom.  I would way rather have them racing around in crazy puppy circles than sitting, lifeless and tired in their desks!  Not that there is any sitting unaffected in my classroom! Anyone who knows me, knows that I too, have an energy all my own.  It starts with my "loud talking" and doesn't end until all of my students, from the 9 year olds to the 14 year olds are standing singing "Vive la Vie" en francais, with actions ofcorse! :)
Tomorrow, I have to go back to work and Scout will go back to the park.  We'll both pack our energy and see who we can intoxicate!!!
Vive la vie!