Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vancouver snow and Running over 50

Magnolia buds against a background of snow

These poor croci seem both bedraggled and affronted . . .

And here's an example of why Vancouver's pretense at being a palm-growing locale is somewhat ridiculous. Somewhat?

 I'm trying out Blogger's new-and-improved editor, which is supposed to be easier for uploading photos -- not sure I'm a convert yet, but it's probably my failing rather than Blogger's.  Thought you folks East of the Vancouver area might like to know that Lotusland gets winter as well. I know it's a rather paltry contribution to snow lore, but we did shiver and we had to boot up. . .

Still, enough of the ground was clear yesterday morning that I enjoyed a fabulous run around the Sea Wall at Stanley Park. This was a gravy run for me, not because the weather was great or my time was speedy, but simply because  two weeks after my half marathon, after two weeks of being fairly ill, then slowly recuperating, I ran easily and steadily for 12 or 13 kilometres. What I really grooved on for this run was how obvious it became that the longer-distance running foundation I've laid down over the last year and a half is a solid foundation. That is, it doesn't disappear with a bout of flu; a rest of two weeks doesn't erase it; it's there like money saved in the bank, loonie by loonie, week by week (for my non-Canadian readers, "loonie" is slang for a dollar, based on the loon whose image fronts the dollar coin).

Pater once described to me an evening run with a friend when both were 19 or 20. He remembers being  conscious of a seemingly limitless ability to run, talking about past adventures, present concerns and amusements, future plans, surveying their surroundings as they moved easily through them, kilometre by kilometre. I thought of that run yesterday, grasped a tiny edge of what my then-so-young husband had felt, and I tell you, it was a new kind of runner's high for me, paradoxically sobering in a way, because I'm running away from youth as surely and easily as I ran that seawall yeterday. But still, I felt it, for that moment, for that run, and I felt it because of good luck, yes, but also because of work I'd laid down, step, literally, by step.

Hard to express momentary exultation, I find, without appearing smug. I know my running ability at the moment is shadowed by the possibility of loss, I know I owe much of it to luck. And I'm going to rush, now, to knock on wood . . . . But yesterday, by myself on the seawall, dodging those patches of ice, it felt good. And I wanted to share that as part of the complex package that is life "at a certain age."  

Another French lesson today, then I'm back to the island. Next post, I'll be doing some thinking about shopping and packing . . .


  1. You must get a time to mull things over and get inspired on your runs...and such a picturesque path tht you have chosen...the seawall even with ice is pretty.

    as are the wee yellow crocuses popping their heads above the snow.

  2. I'm glad you're feeling better. Isn't it nice to know that you have reserves that you can rely on?

  3. Palms in Vancouver (or Victoria)? Ridiculous? Yes. I find them quite contrived and they just don't fit in with the landscape.

    Your running experience sounds like a form of meditation.

  4. It's good to hear you're feeling better.

    The croci look awfully cute peeking up.

  5. You earned every bit of this, babycakes:).

  6. I'm so envious of your running. My hip troubles put an end to that (and Morris dancing) for me. Even though I move well with the replacement, I'm supposed to avoid "jarring" activities. But yes, that effortless feeling ...that's when the work seems worthwhile, and you feel like you can just keep going and going. There's nothing like it.

  7. Like Pseu, I'm somewhat envious, but really I know it's down to your ongoing hard work that you get to have these running epiphanies ... As Lorrie said, it sounds like a form of meditation for you.

  8. Hostess: It really is -- treacherous, but pretty!
    Nancy: Yes! It takes a while to recognize that the reserves are there, but when you do -- brilliant~!
    Lorrie: It's a gardening philosophy that doesn't quite work for me, although I'm not comfortable with a rigidly indigenous approach either.
    And absolutely, there's a meditative aspect, a being-in-the-physical-present that pleases me about running.
    Susan: Aren't they great? And can I admit that I really want to say "crocuses" rather than "croci"-- I'm soooo NOT an early Latin speaker!
    LPC: Thank you! For crediting me with earning this momentary exultation AND for calling me babycakes. Love it so much I've e-mailed you!
    Pseu: You sound as if you know precisely what I'm speaking about -- as for the envy, it's what I feel when I hear you speak about skiing. I wish I had the skill and the nerve. . .
    Tiffany: I know you have an up-close-and-personal perspective on the relationship between the discipline and the epiphanies. for me, it's generally more about the former, accompanied by pain, fatigue, etc. so when I get the latter, in flashes, I savour . . .

  9. The way our body retains the memory of exercise is amazing, I find I can miss Pilates for a couple of weeks and get away with it. I do really admire your ability to run though, I truly could not, never could, I am way to 'heavy' and my joints crack and grind just moving! But like you I am determined to remain as mobile as possible for as long as possible.
    Looking at those photographs of Nola I was struck with the idea of how fun it would be to dress like that just for a day!! Pink on pink looks fabulous.
    Yeah, to your long trip to Europe, it is always nippy in the spring, but I have got away with a Mac in Paris before, the key to warmth is layering lots of thin thermals.
    Mother really enjoyed living in an apartment in Paris it gives you even more opportunity to hit the patisseries!
    As for docking a boat just how much more multi skilled can you get!!

  10. Sometimes running delivers grace. Glad you had that moment, and hope that it stays with you, just like that memory of Pater's.

  11. Alison: I do feel v. fortunate that (knock on wood) I have been able to run, and to enjoy it.
    As for the pink, yes, it's so flattering. . . but there are already some stubborn spots on that almost new snowsuit . . . not such a practical shade.
    Duchesse: Oh, you know exactly what I mean -- grace, surprisingly, is precisely the word I want, and nothing to do with my own gracefulness, but rather in that nearness to blessing. Something to carry with me.


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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