Monday, September 29, 2008

Just Don't Stop!

Today I find I can do little more than hobble from my bed to the bathroom and back, and apparently to my computer. My knees, you see, are a tad sore as I got it into my head a few weeks back to run the Toronto half marathon. Yesterday was THE big day.

I didn’t tell anyone, aside from IronMan, that I was going to it in case I backed out. But at 7:30 I found myself mixed in with 14 000 other masochists at the corner of Bay and Queen. Iron Man had a few friends join the run as well and we all started off as a little band. Soon however, I found myself with Karen and Karen alone. Iron Man had to stop at 6 km due to a bad knee. He bid us a farewell and away we went.

Things went swimmingly until about the 13 km point. Actually, it was actually quite enjoyable. When I looked again at the marker however, I realized the wind had blown it in half and what I thought was a 13 was in fact at 12. Feeling like I had just added another kilometer played havoc with my mind. None-the-less, Karen kept my pace and spirits up and all was good until about marker 17.

I waved Karen on and put my head down. I tried singing in my head, planning my yoga class for that afternoon, anything to keep my mind off the pain. My breath was fine, I could speak (a measure apparently of whether you are working too hard or not), no stitch in the belly but my knees were saying “No”.

Knowing full well that if I stopped to take a walk ‘break’ I wouldn’t start again, I just kept going. “Put one foot in front of the other….” So to speak. As I rounded the corner and headed up Bay Street I cursed the incline. No matter how slight, I hated it. And then those five signs that taunt you at the end 500 meters to go, 400….. they were the longest of the race.

Iron Man joined me at the 500 meter mark and said “okay, let’s pick it up”. “You go any faster and you are going to be picking me up off the ground” I said. I crossed the line and was shocked by the crowd of people standing there. How can you run 21 km and then just stop? I had to push my way through just so I could keep moving.

After things settled, we waited by the finish line for the others (I somehow managed 2:02) and I ran into Iron Girl and her running group. I was instantly labeled a poser and am now committed to two things, first, never mock their Iron Man efforts and two, if I am doing Iron Man 2010, I better get my ass in gear!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Last weekend, with picture perfect weather, IronMan and I headed for Niagara-On-The-Lake for some wine (he can’t drink wine, so I was drinking for two), a picnic and a spot of theatre. I have never been very good at sticking to a budget, but with the impending trip to France next year, I have tried. But when I discovered that The Little Foxes was on at the Shaw this, I had to make and exception.

This Lillian Hellman play was made into a splendid movie in 1941 and starred Bette Davis. As I settled into my seat at the Royal George Theatre I was impressed by the set. The staircase was there, the piano and the period furniture was all as I had hoped for. But how were they going to make a set change for the dinner party, and what about the scenes at the bank? Panic began to set in as the play started.

I quickly discovered that there was to be one set and that some of the more dramatic parts were implied to have taken place elsewhere, while the dialogue moved into the Hubbard’s living room. I was mildly disappointed when Regina made her way on stage – while Laurie Paton did a good job, she was no Bette. But then, who is? Oscar over delivered some of his lines here and there but Sharry Flett did a good Birdie. Poor thing. I know how she feels with those awful headaches.

At intermission, I delivered a somewhat backhanded compliment to IronMan by saying he was the best looking one in the theatre. Given that there were about 20 years between us and the next youngest patron, he took it with a grain of salt. I was quick to point out two cute ushers, and that elevated my remark to least a compliment level. Or at least you could see it from there.

I have to say I was surprised at the “advanced” years of the audience. I thought people that age would all be home tucked in bed at the hour of 8:00. Or perhaps waiting outside the local diner waiting for it to open and offer its early bird special. I guess they wanted a stroll down memory lane and a set from 1900 was just the ticket. The house was packed and I guess that is the important thing.

Play over, we headed to our hotel for some well deserved slumber – N-O-T-L is not known for its nightlife. The following morning we had a YUMMY brunch at The Queen’s Landing. Feeling a bit like Regina, I scanned the room and was disappointed at the standard of dress some people adopted. Really, an Iron Maiden t-shirt at brunch? At the Queen’s Landing? Really? Oh my.

I tucked into my omelet and discussed the idea of producing a line of Iron Man dishes to sell down in Lake Placid next year. They have everything from pens to backpacks, so why not eat your Wheaties out of a bowl with the Iron Man symbol at the bottom. “Isn’t that a girl on your dish”. (That one is for CJ and Dollhouse Girls).

All round, it was a fabulous weekend. If you get the chance, see the play. But if you miss it, definitely watch the movie (I have it if you want to borrow) – it is fabulous.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Good Times!

When I first heard that one is now required to pay to shoot the rapids in the Elora Gorge AND wear a helmet AND a life jacket, I was outraged. “They take the fun out of everything! Why when I was younger, we just jumped in with our swimsuits and hoped for the best”. We also walked to school. Uphill. Both ways. With no shoes.

But yesterday, as I stood at the top of the run, I was secretly glad that these rules were in place. I gave my PFD belt a little extra tug just to make sure it was snug before dumping my arse into the middle of my inner-tube. The water was cold, but at least it was high from all the summer rain and that would keep us safe from the rocks. Or so I thought. “Keep you butt low to prevent tipping” I advised IronMan and my niece.

As we went through the first “girlie” rapids, my backside met the topside of a rock….so much for that theory! Popping my hips up to keep me safe, I settled in for some fun. Approaching the main section, I quickly dropped them back down as low as I could get them. My concern now was for my life, not getting a scratch or bruise where the good Lord split me.

I floated on through without incident and even managed to get to shore with little trouble and without going too far down stream, saving myself a long walk back to the top. Childhood confidence returned, we went further up the gorge so we could have a longer run. As we bobbed along, the heat was sucked from my body and my teeth began to chatter. Looking towards the rapids, I told myself I just did it no problem. Be the river. Be the water. All will be okay.

Well the water took that literally and as I went down the first big drop, I went down, my tube went up and my helmet floated away. Chin strap too loose apparently…who knew? A couple of gorge water mouthfuls later, I popped up about halfway down the trench. Thinking myself safe, I grabbed my tube and let my legs have a rest. And that they did until my right thigh met a submerged outcropping.

Checking the water for blood, I managed to reclaim my helmet and make for shore as IronMan defied his name seemed to glide along the top of the water. “This is fun” he said as he stepped onto shore while I spit up water.

Luckily, that was the only tip I had for the day and the next few times were more fun than flounder. As we wrapped ourselves in towels catching some rays from the fading afternoon sun, we saw one foolish soul secure his helmet strap around his leg (I guess technically he was wearing it) and jump in with no lifebelt. He came out the other end none the worse for wear.

For a moment I thought of doing the same for “old time’s sake”. But when the next person we watched tipped out of their tube and we actually felt them smack against a rock, pause for the briefest second before floating on in obvious pain, I pressed myself back against the tube and patted the ground with my hands and feet. Feeling the warmth of the stones, I decided to stay right where I was.