mickey mouse

mickey mouse

Monday, 22 April 2013

Boston Strong at the TYS10K

What a beautiful day to run 10K

This was my first race since the horrible events at the Boston Marathon, and I have to admit that I was feeling a bit uneasy. Not because I didn't have faith in the race organizers, not because I didn't have faith in the Toronto Police Department, not because I thought something would happen. I think it was because it had never occurred to me before April 15 that such a thing was even possible.  
I went through my usual pre-race ritual of eating pasta, drinking water, and lying out all the things I'd need for Sunday.  I even polished my nails Boston blue and yellow. The ribbon I wore on my jacket was an actual Boston Marathon medal ribbon, from the medal donated by Rick Hellard to Medals4Mettle. I thought I'd wear it as a small tribute, before I sent the medal back to it's home in Boston, to be donated to someone affected by the bombing.

As part of our race kits we were given special bibs to honour the runners, spectators, first responders, and the city of Boston. Since I already had two other memorial bibs, I thought that they all deserved pride of place, and I attached them all to the back of my jacket. Many sites invited runners to submit photos of themselves at races showing their Boston spirit.
Get Out There Magazine included me in their photos on Facebook in an album entitled Canadians Remember Boston. 

I've never run the TYS10K before, and this year I was invited to participate as a Digital Champion. It was a great experience, to promote the race as an Ambassador on social media. We ran awesome training runs in Toronto with other TYS10K folks, and it was wonderful to be a member of the group. For a very modest donation you could customize your race shirt. I chose my Twitter handle and the hashtag for our group.

The race was wonderfully organized, from reminders that the subway wasn't open, to offers for shuttle rides back to the start line. The bag check was flawless, organized and faster than any I've ever experienced. The corral placement, the volunteers directing us, the start. All went off perfectly.

The race course is a favourite of mine, having done it for the Goodlife 1/2 Marathon and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I love running down Yonge street, the memories of living in Toronto, of making great friends, meeting my husband, and working at some awesome companies make the miles fly by.

One of my fellow runners had recently fallen off a ladder, causing whiplash a small concussion and discs in her back to mess up. That meant she hadn't trained as much as she'd like, and despite the fact that she's way super faster than me, she was stuck limping along toughing it out. She never complained, only once admitting that she could use an Advil or two.
As we neared the finish, line, keeping a pretty good pace (but WAY slower than she normally runs) we started laughing about how we could finish with a big kick, but hey, why? This race was to remember, to celebrate, not really to PB. Would I have liked to smoke my prior fastest 10k? Sure. Will I when I run this race next year? BOO YEAH! Here's a link to the Garmin data for the race, we did 10:1s for the most part.

What's next for us? My first ever half marathon is back (and I seek revenge on the final stretch were I considered calling it a day). In a couple weeks we run down Yonge street AGAIN, in the Goodlife Toronto 1/2 Marathon


 This year we'll run together, as a team, with Boston in our hearts, our minds and on our bodies.  A group called Boston We Run With You has created shirts, with the monies going to the Boston Children's Hospital. As Mother Runners we all feel deeply the loss of young Martin Richard. I can't begin to imagine what the family is going through, and I'm overjoyed to be able to give back, even in some small way. Hopefully we will all be healthy and ready to go.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Boston Pride

When my friend and coach Rick Hellard of Zone 3 Sports donated his Boston Marthon finisher's medal to Medals 4 Mettle I was speechless at the generosity. I spent a few moments just holding it, marveling at the fact that I'll never earn one.

Then the events of this week unfolded, and the medal took on an even greater signifigance. Knowing that so very many people- runners, spectators, first responders, and more- were forever changed leaves me shaken.

I wondered what to do with the medal, because it seemed so much greater than the sum of it's parts. Then Medals 4 Mettle sent out an email from our Boston Chapters:

All of us at Medals4Mettle are saddened by the unimaginable events at the 2013 Boston Marathon. This historic event celebrates the freedom we have to run through the streets of one of America's great cities on Patriot's Day. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who must deal with the loss of life and the pain of injury. Medals4Mettle will humbly accept donations of 2013 Boston Marathon finishers' medals to be sent to our Boston area chapters. We will then place Medals4Mettle ribbons on them and award them to the courageous victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon and the first responders that raced to help them while respecting the privacy of all victims and family members. To donate, please send medals to our Boston Area chapters listed on our chapter page. 


So there it was, my answer. I have contacted Rick to see if he'd like to include a message with his medal, and I'll now return it to it's home in Boston, where hopefully it will serve as a small token of thanks to someone who deserves our support. The fact that our running family is so far flung yet so close just makes me all the prouder to be a member.

My first race since the tragedy in Boston will be as Digital Champion for the Toronto Yonge Street 10k. This Sunday I will proudly wear the bib above, along with my race bib, to support our running family. I'll also wear as much blue and yellow as I can find. 

As a final thought, I leave you with something that brought me to tears. The article sums it up far better than I ever could. I followed this story from the runner's first posts on FB, and am beyond happy that she succeeded in finding the man who's act of kindess was felt the world over.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Final Finish Line

As a runner, as a mother, as a citizen of the planet, I'm heartbroken over the events at the Boston Marathon.

I've always been sort of paranoid, I hate to fly, and I've got issues galore about things that keep me up at night.  Now someone has tried to take away the one thing that I did which didn't scare me.

From my desk at work I watched Twitter and Facebook feeds as friends and friends of friends and total strangers crossed the finish line in Boston. I felt the pride I feel when my fellow athletes succeed at something that's tough to gain entry to , tough to train for, and tough to finish.

Then, the bombs went off.

I can't imagine being there, I can't fathom running into the fray (as so very many first responders did). The saving grace is that the finish line was filled with people qualified to give aid, ambulances ready to transport, and (hopefully) photo and video evidence that will help capture the inhuman being that did this.

There's a horrible feeling as a parent when something happens and you can feel it like it's coming toward you. Knowing that an 8 year old boy was a victim turns my heart inside out.  As a runner, knowing that there are people who lost limbs, who may never walk (let alone run) again, shakes me to my core.

Imagining the fear of the runners who were stopped and re-routed, knowing as a slower runner that my faster friends would have been ahead of me somewhere in the mayhem.

Several groups on Facebook and Twitter suggested wearing a race shirt today as a tribute to Boston and to salute the fraternity that we all belong to every time we lace up our shoes. As a runner of the Around the Bay Road Race, I have a collection of shirts with the tag line 'Older than Boston' on the back. I thought as a way to pay homage I'd put a 'bib' on the back.

Tonight, a group called the Run Junkees is hosting a virtual run in support of Boston.

Tonight my running friends and I will gather to run.

This weekend I will run the Toronto Yonge Street 10k. Do I feel safe? Yes, as safe as anyone can feel in public. Do I belive that the organizers, just the the ones in Boston, have and will continue to do everything they can to keep us safe? Yes.

Will I think of Boston and the runners each time I cross a finish line? Yes, for a long time.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

I sent a plea out to my running friends, asking if they'd consider donating a medal or two to Medals4Mettle as I've become the Hamilton ON Coordinator of this amazing charity.

A few days after my message was sent, I got a reply from my friend and coach Rick Hellard from iRun Magazine's "So You Think You Want to Run a Marathon, eh?" contest that I won. His advice and council got me through the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and it's amazing to ponder all that man has accomplished.

He said that he had a 'few' medals lying around that he'd be happy to donate and that he could send them my way. We arranged to have a friend of his deliver them to the Around the Bay expo as I was volunteering there.

The huge heavy box of medals arrived and I realized that Rick's idea of a 'few' was more medals than I could amass if I ran every weekend for the rest of my life.

This photo didn't come close to giving a true look at the sheer number of medals....so I tried to sort them out (and apparently take a horrible photo). There must have been a hundred medals, everything from a 5K to multiple years of Around the Bay, to Marathons by the dozen.

Then I realized that there were several medals that I'd never seen in real life, including TWO Ironman Hawaii and Boston Marathon medal.

I had to take a moment to ponder the fact that I'll never earn either of those medals....and to send a silent thank you to Rick for so selflessly donating these medals to our cause. I was in shock, as a runner, since it's sort of like sending your Oscar to someone else who might enjoy it.

I'm so excited to start sending these medals out into the world....

And speaking of exciting, there's a VERY famous runner who might be lending his star power to our cause too......stay tuned :-)