If you’re a Canadian of a certain vintage, chances are you remember these:
I posted a photo on the socials this morning and these badges are like cilantro. You either loved them, or you hated them. There is no in between.
I remember doing these tests. I also remember Hal and Joanne McLeod’s Body Break! But that’s because it was on CBC, one of the 3 channels we had. I digress.
I never achieved that elusive black and red badge. In elementary school, I was about 3ft tall and weighed 80 pounds soaking wet. I did not enjoy exercise. My gym teacher, Roger, did everything he could think of to help me. Ultimately, I failed on the running part. Seriously.
Anyway. Clearly I’ve let it go and I really want to allow my children to experience this delightful challenge. Maybe, they too can be scarred for life!
The Canada Fitness Test was implemented in elementary schools nationwide in the 70s and 80s. To encourage “physical fitness” (and ultimately discontinued because it discouraged too many participants), it was based on this:
Fun fact: in 1979, they replaced the notorious flexed arm hang with a push up. I’m not super old but I still remember the stupid flexed arm hang. Maybe Roger didn’t get the memo.
Here are some delightful illustrations to help explain what the test was made of. To achieve “excellence”, you needed 95% in all 6 challenges.
Bust our your onesies and short shorts!
It helps to have someone right in front of you smacking your shoulders.
Do as many as you can, no time limit.
Ensure that you completely collapse at the end.
Test: Place 1 wooden block at one end, 2 wooden blocks at the other end, 10m apart. Start lying down with your forehead pressed into the gravel (fun!), run to the other side, pick up a block, run back, drop the block, pick up the other one, run back aaaaand time!
I’m pretty sure these are no longer recommended. By anyone.
Plus, this one requires a metronome.
But if you’re game, do them at a beat of “3 seconds per movement” for a max number.
Standing Long Jump
I’m quite fond of the rainbow shooting out of her butt. That’s what gives her the oomph.
The only place I ever long jump is into bed to avoid sharp cat claws hidden beneath it.
So yeah, measure the distance between take-off and landing. Feet hip width apart seems to be key.
Unclear what’s happening in pose #2.
This one made sure to bold that runner had to sprint past the line. I dunno. Whatever. Break out your stop watch.
This is my favourite. She’s like, “C’mon. Fuck. I’m done. WAIT! I’ll prance. Ok fine. I’ll do it but I won’t like it.”
Guidelines indicate that the endurance run must be executed around 50 square meters, and to ensure everyone has running shoes. And then run around said box for between 1600-2400m. I’m dizzy already.
Here’s how many laps you had to run around that dumb square:
God, no wonder so many kids hated this.
Here’s how you measured up. I tried to find the scoring for kids under 12, but no such luck. Y’all are smart, you can probably figure it out. Just click on each one to enlarge.
So there you go. My contribution to your homeschooling. I’m going to see if I can achieve bronze, for old times’ sake.
Might even throw in a flexed arm hang for kicks.
If you guys really want to dig into the descriptions, click here.
Just typing that made me laugh. I had to look up that it was actually Tuesday.
So, with that:
How’s everyone doing?
Over here, it’s mostly positive, trying to steer clear of the pit of despair. Ok, maybe it’s not quite ‘pit’. More like, puddle. Regardless, I’m trying hard to steer clear from the edge.
The harsh reality?
We’ve got it pretty easy over here, in the grand scheme of things. First and foremost, we are all healthy (although, today I woke up sniffly and was quite certain that this was the end for me. I pulled it together after a cup of coffee).
We have space here – indoor and out – so we are not constantly on top of one another. I can still safely kick the kids outside when I need a break; better yet, I can kick myself outside. Or, I sequester myself in the basement on my bike, sweat and sing 80’s tunes very loudly.
Work has dwindled but hasn’t halted completely and for that I am *very* grateful. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it looks very different. But that’s ok.
We have food, friends and family. And I have wine.
A thought I’ve had a lot, lately:
When this is all over, and we can go back to “normal”, will we? Are we going to hold on to some of these new norms we’ve adapted to? Or will we quickly forget what this was all like, and go back to worrying about things like bouncy running shoes and where to go for March break 2021?
I hope we hold on to this connectedness (weird word). This feeling of “we’re all in this shit together” seems to have made us more open to reaching out to one another. We check in on each, have virtual drinks, etc. I kind of like it.
That’s my 6-feet-away-touchy-feely feeling for the day.
On that note, I hope to never utter the words “social distancing” again, once we get back to being able to high-5 in real life.
Yet another brain dump! Bear with me, there’s nothing cohesive or exciting to write about, anyway.
On Monday, I started this:
Woof, what a month this day has been.
Today, since all this fun began, it rained. I also decided, after not sleeping, that the kids could do whatever they wanted – even if that meant 7 hours of stupid TikTok and Netflix. It won’t be like that every single day. But Monday, it was the right thing to do.
On Monday night, I added this:
I lie in bed at night and notice how eerily quiet it is. No cars going by. No hum of the nearby highway. No one walking home and getting into an argument at 2:37am.
And then this:
Anja and I went for (another) walk and tried to list the positives. For example, we haven’t driven anywhere lately. So, this is good for the environment in a manner of speaking. We can spend time outside, which is very lucky. We aren’t shopping for anything other than food and fresh flowers (which make me happy, so I consider them essential), so we aren’t spending money.
My dog is getting a whole lot of exercise and attention. He’s tired and confused.
Maybe I’ll finally learn to cook.
On Tuesday, well.
My work has, for all intents and purposes, evaporated.
(I realize I’m not alone in this situation, and I’m not complaining. It’s just a fact). When you are an event planner/producer/person and events cease existing (except virtually), well then, there goes a chunk of my sense of purpose.
Which may or may not have led to a mini-existential crisis.
What can I contribute in these rather surreal times?
I don’t know yet.
Roll to Wednesday. And the only reason I know that is because I checked. It’s very quickly become the new normal to not have an alarm in the morning or a destination in mind for the day. I know it won’t be like this forever, but right now it feels like that stretch of time between Christmas and new years day, except exponentially.
I know that very soon I’ll have to set a schedule for myself and the kids with the premise of homeschooling. I have no idea what that will look like, beyond taking a lot of deep breaths.
I asked friends to send me their thoughts on their current situation. Here’s a compilation, kept anonymous:
“I think I gave my last handshake a few weeks ago.”
“It would be nice if we could play with our friends.”
“It’s like Groundhog Day… I mean I love my kids and the extra time together is for the most part great! But ya, Groundhog Day here! Same but different but still the same.”
“It’s trying to give the kids a real sense of the proportion of this virus yet not scaring them! Then realizing they just don’t understand (or really care….. I mean they’re just kids) so you get upset and then try and scare the shit out of them so they’re on the same page as us adults! ( I’m scared) Then they start calling people stupid and dumb and even though you agree you have to teach them to be compassionate and understanding !! This whole thing feels like it’s compressing the growing up timeline for my kids and I don’t like it!!”
“I actually quite like it! No pressure. Extra family time. It feels like a vacation from life if you just stay home and don’t watch too much of the news. We still have an income though so if that went away I’d be WAY more stressed I’m sure…”
“My thoughts feel random and rapid fire, interspersed with periods of calm nothingness. I go back and forth between manic “do all the things” (house projects, books, shows, home workout routines posted on social media) and a sort of aimless, almost deer-the-headlights existence.”
My normally short attention span has been contracted to that of a sea cucumber.
The world feels like it is shrinking daily. Our little physical bubble gets a little tighter with each new press conference and news release. Oddly, rather than feeling restrictive, I’ve found it a little comforting.
And yet at the same time, the virtual bubble gets a little bigger. I’m grateful for my friends who put up with my endless texts, who send me stupid videos, who check up on me.
Don’t get me wrong – the online news feed is like a fire hose of pure crazy, and it feels good to turn it off every once in a while and stick my head in the sand and pretend life is 100% normal.
I look out my window, everything looks normal: it’s a nice spring day. Kids are on the trampoline. People are biking by, walking their dogs. Just an average day.
But it isn’t, really.
I think back to this day, one week ago, and it was all systems (mostly) go: kids were planning their trip for March break, I was still going on mine (though wondering if we pull the plug, given that the US seemed, well, yeah). Work was normal, but I was making contingency plans. We celebrated Will’s 14th birthday with a terrific family dinner. Oblivious.
Business as usual.
But it wasn’t, really.
If you’d asked me, what would a week later look like, there’s absolutely no way I could have predicted this. NO WAY.
Cue the global pandemic. And the endless Covid-19 memes.
And the giant “?” floating over all of our heads. I mean, COME ON.
So, explaining this to the kids is interesting. Their little bubble of bliss hasn’t changed all that much, expect that they can’t ski. Oh my word. What a hardship. I don’t know how many more times I can say “wash your hands”. I encourage them to go outside and to stop eating my supply of snacks. I need someone to hack Fortnite and Tiktok, stat.
I try to explain that no, I don’t know what the fuck is going on, I have not lived through something like this. The closest thing I can relate it to is 9/11… and even that had us on a plane “business as usual” about a week after those planes flew into the towers.
This feels different. However, the need to be near people, to be close to those important to me, feels very much the same.
Buzzword of 2020: “social distancing”. How quickly we’ve adopted it into our vernacular.
I’m freaking tired. I’d like to think I’m handling this well, but the constant, minute-to-minute change is rough (this isn’t me whining. This is fact.) Anxiety is pretty high. I want to keep my routine but that seems selfish, somehow? Staying off social media and reading too much news helps. Going outside helps. Seeking normalcy helps. Squeezing my people helps. WINE HELPS.
Today, we found out that school is closed indefinitely. Kids were all stoked until they realized… I’m the new homeroom teacher.
This quote popped up in my social media a few days ago and when I read it, I realized that I felt like it was pointing an imaginary digital finger right at me.
In a newsflash to absolutely no one, parenting is tough and relentless. Good days, bad days, great days, terrible days and everything in between.
No matter the phase you find yourself in, be it the newborn, the terrible twos (uh, hello terrible threes!), it can feel like it’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done. Each phase is hard, different and challenging in its own unique and all consuming way.
I look at my friends with younger ones and don’t really find myself missing those days (except for the cuddles). I see friends who are now happy empty nesters, who seem to be relishing their new found freedom (what do they do with their time, I wonder?)
Meanwhile, my foreseeable future is entrenched in the tween/teen phase and let me tell you…
I was not prepared for how challenging I’m finding this particular phase. Whoa.
Maybe because I’m a control freak and seemingly suddenly this house now holds 4 very distinct and vocal personalities that don’t always mesh?
Maybe it’s because I set unrealistic expectations, do a crappy job of voicing them and then am annoyed when these aren’t met?
Maybe it’s because – and here’s where my irrational voice really takes over – time is flying and what if I’ve messed them up and it’s too late and they are moving out too soon!
Maybe because I try to draw on my own experiences as a teen… but the realization that my upbringing could not have been more different than theirs dawns on me (catholic boarding school, anyone?) and, well, kinda flailing around in the dark over here!
Fellow parents, how often have you gone to bed at night hoping you haven’t ruined your offspring? Asking for a friend.
I’m grateful to my parents for granting us so much freedom (even though at the time we were probably desperate for more); that much I can pat myself on the back for passing along to our trio. But as for the rest, it’s a steep learning curve for me, and the kids. It feels like we’re in the same class, together! I hope we pass the final.
I’m trying to take little steps back from time to time and try to take a view of the bigger picture ahead. Forcing these little people out of their own comfort zones and into the mold of my expectations isn’t working. I’d never let anyone do that to me, so why should I expect them to let me do it to them?
Trying being the operative word, up there.
The point of this post? None, really. Except to hope that someone will tell me that the next phase is easier?
I did a pretty deplorable job this year, keeping this thing up to speed. Every time I’d start to write, I’d get about 3-4 lines down and the- ooh something shiny over there! And voila! Another unfinished draft post added to the list of topics I started to write about but couldn’t quite finish.
So, mostly for myself, I thought I’d smash 365 days worth of thoughts/events/recaps/listicles into one year-end post. That way, I figure I’ll have something tangible to look back on for 2019… rather than all those judgy, unfinished drafts staring back at me, waiting to be tackled.
(editor’s note: I will delete them in 2020. Clean slate!)
These past few years, I’ve tried to give myself a vague goal of planning something fun each month. I’ve learned that I love having something – big or small – to look forward to. Some of these are clearly a little more look forward-to worthy than others. I can’t truly remember what 2017 or 2018 ended up looking like, hence me forcing myself to commit it to … the screen. I debated about posting this. While proof-reading, it really drove home how lucky I am. I felt this vague need to apologize for all the fun (or at least, I consider it fun) stuff I get to do. But then, I’d be apologizing for living my life. And that’s silly.
Please be forewarned that this post will read alternately like:
A very poorly edited travel blog;
A scented journal written by a 12 year-old in sparkly pen (wink, wink @bopstardom)
Utter nonsense to anyone but myself. Which I’m completely fine with. ‘Tis my domain, after all.
So, without further ado, here’s a peak inside my very own memory lane.
I really thought I’d kick off January with a bang. I think I succeeded… but not in the very best way.
Things turned around when we hit the beach. I relished the time with the kids somewhere that saw them really just act like kids, and less like small humans trying to be too cool to be with mom. We read books, built sandcastles, ate fish and checked off one “touristy” thing a day. I get in trouble for saying that “holidays with kids is just parenting except somewhere hot” and yet… it felt different. In a good way.
The sunrise attempt that failed
I like to say there’s nothing redeeming about February (sorry Brad). It’s dark, it’s cold and incomplete. It feels like spring is far away, and winter has only just really set in.
But, there’s a silver lining! It also kicks off the race season. In 2019, the First Half was unseasonably cold but I got to run it with the 2 running partners I’ve had the pleasure of knowing since we started these runs with 1 shared gel 17 years ago…
I also travelled to Montreal for my dad’s 80th (!) birthday and what would end up being my final trip to Tampa (foreshadowing)…
2 big deals… my first born turned 13 #ohmygodihaveateenagernow. He’s taught me a lot about the world and myself, he knows how to push my every last button, he’s almost taller than I am and… I love him to bits and hope that one day he will read this and blush.
Then, I ran my first Ultra! It was snowy and sunny and not what I expected in any way. I had no expectations and 50k is a long way to go on your own 2 feet. I can say that I am proud that I actually pulled it off.
March was topped it off with a visit to what triathletes affectionately call the “Dirty-T” to ride some trails that are really all just out to get you, with 2 of my favourite people. I learned lots of new things about Phish and the Grateful Dead and yet I’m still here to tell the tale. I’m also plotting my return.
Up, and up, and up….
And then it was hard to get up.
Rocks and pokey plants abound
My groundhog day event that also kind of lets me be a tourist in my own little hamlet. It was my 4th or 5th… maybe 6th? Whistler Cup.
And then we wrapped that up and moved right along to…
The first work trip of the season was a dream. Great company (hi, work husband!), amazing country and, really, I could go on and on about the coffee. I won’t, I’ll spare you.
I think my favourite thing about travelling somewhere completely different is how quickly we are able to adapt to being out of our element. Day 1? Fish out of water. Day 4? I feel local, ask me a question as a test. On my way to catch my flight home? Oh, I live here now, sí.
You know when you find those colleagues who make you laugh for absolutely no good reason? Find those colleagues and hang on tight.
Just doing my job. NBD.
Another year, Another cup
An overlap with April really, since I didn’t get back from Spain (literally and jet-laggy) till mid-May.
Problem solved by a quick mission to the Sunshine Coast and reintegrating into real life with my people. The kind of getaway that only involves plans insofar as “what will we ride today?” and “is there any more coffee?”
Then I broke a few ribs (whoops!) and didn’t finish a mountain bike race that I started.
We could do this for hours…
And this, too.
The pace seems to change in June. We’re all anxious for school to be done (each of us for our own reasons). The calendar gets a bit busier and a little less predictable. The days get blissfully longer and warmer. Events and work ramp up.
The flip of the calendar also meant the start of triathlon season! Xtri Whistler was a great return to dirt – I highly recommend it!
And Will, my aforementioned teenager “graduated” from his elementary school.
There aren’t a lot of kids anymore who get to experience their formative school days with the same tight-knit group of pals for 7 years. I hope that one day, they will realize how lucky they are. Living is a small town has many perks; I consider this to be one of them.
Whistler X Triathlon
He blames me for the discrepancy.
For the last 6 years, July has been a lycra-clad, sleepless, spreadsheet-hell blur. Ironman Canada would trump all, I’d work a ton and essentially let my children parent me/themselves and rely on everyone in my world to help in any way they could.
Sidebar: my friends are truly incredible and know how to make me laugh in the best possible and also most inappropriate ways.
This year was no different, but it came with the added twist that this was to be the race’s final iteration in Whistler.
It was… bittersweet. That’s it for now on that.
That’s all she wrote
Final race morning
A fitting end
The greatest part of August is that we challenge ourselves to cram 8 weeks of summer into the remaining 3.5 weeks before the return to class.
We spend a lot of time at the lakes while baking in the Pemberton heat… we bike… we do a whole lot of nothing (in fact, my most favourite day last summer was an afternoon spent on the deck with the kids and their friends, during which we did exactly nothing. Absolutely glorious).
I capped it off but a European adventure that melted into September. We have (dangerously) cracked the seal on racing in Europe (foreshadowing on September)…
The Euro Redemption tour of 2019 started with some lost luggage and delayed flights (my travel mojo follows me closely), a visit with one of my oldest and greatest friends, exploring the countryside on two-wheels and rekindling my love affair with rosé.
From there is was a work trip to one of the prettiest and also priciest (!) spots over there. Trains! Chocolate! Tiny hotel rooms! Belly laughs! Police escorts (long story)!
To kick off Europe!
Sticking to my day job
France is awesome.
Hence the escort…
Cut off my access to the bakery
I like to be juvenile and pretend that September is my birthday month (because it is). What better way to celebrate a birthday than racing a World Championships in the south of France with your twin? Yeah, I pretty much nailed my birthday month.
The race itself wasn’t a performance of a lifetime. But it was memorable for the venue, the company and the experience. Say what you will about triathlon and its odd little community, it has brought me fantastic opportunities and introduced me to my closest friends.
Plus, I got to come home to some spectacular trail runs with my village.
We went to Kona and it was ridiculous. In a good way! Sun. Coffee. Bikes. Underwear. Volunteering. A fake wedding. All things triathlon. Will we top this in 2020? It’s gonna be tough but I am willing to work for it.
ALSO! Anja ran her first 10 k trail run which was both awesome and adorable.
I can’t believe we did this.
Here come the bride(s)
Proud mom moment.
November is like February’s ugly red-headed step child. Seriously. Out here, it’s dark and gloomy. Kids are tired. I’m tired. I scour the internet for last-minute get aways.
I pretty much nailed it this year… a restorative girls trip to Montreal with a surprise detour to New York. To watch Anja wander, wide-eyed and amazed, through the crush of NYC was so worth it.
Tip: make sure your life includes people who are there for you, not matter what. The kind of people with who you can reconnect after not seeing each other for a year or so and it feels like no time has passed. Everyone needs people like that.
Happy Holidays, y’all…
While this journal entry was completely self-indulgent, writing this made me realize that I really do lead a charmed life. I have my share of tough bits and heartache (don’t we all?) My highs are high and my lows are low – just like everyone else out there. I’m not unique, or exceptional in this way. I am learning to be grateful for all of it.
Most importantly, I am surrounded by people who know how to pick me up if I am down, whom I can lean on when I need to and I’m learning to ask for help (sometimes. This is a work in progress). I’ve got a great “modern family”, who alternately make me laugh and make me crazy and because of that, my sense of humour remains intact through it all.
7 years ago, on a sunny fall day that was meant for being outside, soaking in the last bits of summer, mum died.
I write about this and her every year on this day; mostly it’s so that I can contemplate and remember. Gives me a good excuse to cry, and be sad, but also grateful. The posts get a little easier to write because everything is less acute. They get harder to write, for the same reason.
Maybe 7 years is a good time to end these? I don’t know yet.
I recently had the chance to visit with an old friend who ended up knowing mum well, when he and I became friends. We talked about our time together and laughed so hard at shared our memories – in which mum played a starring role, front and centre. We were an inseparable (and unlikely) trio, my friends and I, but for whatever reason, Mum tolerated (appreciated?) our ridiculousness with an eye roll and a glass of wine.
I love hearing these stories, which perhaps time has distorted a little bit, because they make me laugh so hard that the best kind of tears stream down my face.
She definitely had an impact.
I miss her less a little less for me, but more for my kids. Anja doesn’t remember her, but she knows the stories. The boys have vague memories that I hope they hold on to. We do talk about Omi quite a lot, still. They are getting old enough now that I can tell them the stories about when Mum (me) would do stupid teenage things that would make Omi so mad.
They absolutely love those stories. Which is a good thing, because I’ve got a lot of them saved up.
I think of her most when I am doing something with the kids that is so different than any of the things she and I would have done together. The kids are so active and I try hard to be a part of all they do. I can hear her in the back of my mind, fretting because someone might get hurt and asking me “when are you going to grow up”? But I’m not, really: that’s my way of parenting. It reminds me of how different I was/am to her.
Reading books together on the deck? I look down and my hand rests on my lap exactly the way I remember hers doing. I am my mother.
One arbitrary day on a calendar can stir up so many emotions. Today, I’ll hug my people a little tighter. Tell them I love them a few more times than usual. Send them a few excessive ❤️ emojis. Because I still can.
I know that blogging is pretty much dead. And that’s fine. But every once in a while, I feel the need to tell a funny (at least, it’s funny now) story.
Last week, the kids and I flew to Hawaii for our long awaited trip. It was their Christmas present and I was proud of myself for 1) keeping it a secret from them for as long as I did and 2) scoring sweet airfare on a seat sale.
Anyway. We were all really excited to leave, and in a fit of organization, everyone was packed and ready the night before we flew, even though our flight wasn’t till 6pm the following day.
I got up early to meet Jen for a run before anyone woke up. It was snowing heavily and I decided to check in for the flight over coffee.
WTF? I was barely awake and the message on the screen didn’t register. Until it did: passport expired.
How did I miss this? No matter, I did.
I immediately call Jay in a complete panic (though I’m not sure why, it’s not like he could magically make her passport valid).
He calms me for a second, reassuring me that she can travel on her Nexus.
Except, not saved.
Her Nexus is with him. In Las Vegas.
Kick everyone out of bed, c’mon kids, the holiday starts at the passport office!
Fast forward a frantic jostling, throwing whatever in the van, who needs showers, who cares, let’s go! We arrive at the office at 9:30. The man at the door assures me that all will be well, yes ma’am, just go get the photo taken and we’ll be ready for you.
Except. Not ready.
All of Service Canada’s computers are down nationwide and there is literally not one thing they can do to help.
(There are tears, at this point. Actually, there were tears earlier, too).
I’m told to go to the airport and beg.
I, wouldn’t you know, am not above begging. Off we go.
At the airport, I head straight to the Nexus office, hoping that they can help in any way. The lady at the desk is exceptionally friendly, offering hope.
Except. There is no hope.
Government shutdown in the USA means there are no American agents to help.
Off we go to the check in desk to commence begging.
Meanwhile, after 47 phone calls, Jay is at a FedEx desk overnighting the precious nexus card.
At the check in, I get precisely nowhere. And not only do I get nowhere, I discover that those magical tickets I was so proud of? Well, those suckers are non-refundable and non-changeable.
Cue more tears. I’m frustrated and I just can’t help it. Anja’s not exactly thrilled, either. Had it been just me, whatever. But the children.
Are pretty damned resilient and good natured, actually.
At this point, the guilt mingled with the feeling of utter stupidity is making me literally nauseous. It doesn’t matter how many times I get told that this happens every day, all over the airport! It’s not the end of the world! It’s not a big deal! I feel like a big ol’ failure.
The ladies at the counter are so lovely and kind, but can do little more than take my credit card and rebook us on new tickets for the next night.
We group hug (me and the kids, not me and the ticket ladies). The kids sweetly go get me a coffee (they know what makes their mama tick). We ponder what to do with our 24 hours in Vancouver.
The rest of the day was a continuous series of mini-misadventures and misfires. One of those days where you can literally do nothing right. I could not wait to go to bed and be done with it. We got to spend time with the cousins, so there is always an upside.
Fast forward 7 days… we’re safely and successfully checked in to the flght home tomorrow. The expired passport is a distant memory. We have crushed our tourist game and loved our time together, bickering siblings and all.
It’s a day off here, and I’ve just returned from a light trail run with Will. This exact time last week, I was lying on an airport floor, with swollen legs and and tired eyes.
I think my legs felt better on that airport floor than they do today. That’s normal, right?
I’m not much for race reports these days, but I figure 1 marathon every 9 year gets itself a nod.
It was not quiet.
The biggest packet pick up ever
Nick + Steph’s 5K!
Highlights(in no particular order…)
It’s New York City! Duh.
Surprising my brother with the arrival of his best friend – see, we *can* keep secrets!
The food. Oh, the food. All of it.
Cheering Nick + Steph in their 20,000+ runners 5k!
Citibikes. These things made getting around easy and oh, so fun. Dangerously fun.
Spending good times with my brother and sister-in-law, who ran the marathon in her imagination and crushed it.
On that note, Stephanie wearing my medal and reaping the rewards that came with it (champagne, anyone?) made those 42.4kms completely worth it.
The noise. The endless, ceaseless noise that I both loved and made me appreciate my quiet country home all the more.
Sitting around on Staten Island, 3 hours before my start or so, watching the German runners enjoy a lung-expanding cigarette, pre-race.
Despite the aforementioned 3 hours, almost missing my start. I blame Janet.
All of those completely random moments and encounters that happen when you take a trip and make zero plans (with the exception, in this case, of running a marathon).
Seeing my crew out on the race course – being able to pick them out of a crowd of literally 1 million people for a high five? Amazing. Bobby, you’re an amazing guide.
Getting stuck on the other side of Central Park post-race turned out to be a highlight, too. 1 friendly cop + 1 citybike + 1 foil blanket made for a highly entertaining bike ride on tired legs.
Parking that same bike and walking into the restaurant to cheers from my friends, which led to cheers from everyone. It was both embarrassing and awesome. Because, come on.
The feeling that everyone in this enormous city is behind this event.
I’ve probably left out 47 highlights that I’ll remember at 3am.
Police escort to Lady Liberty
Pemberton takes NYC
I can smell the finish line…
I think we were singing…
Wine from the hotel 💙
The race itself, the raison d’être for this whirlwind trip, was unexpectedly, well… amazing. I came into it with low expectations, that’s for sure. I wanted to beat my pregnant time of ’09 (4:14 or so?), and have fun.
Before we even started, I think I had the fun portion pretty dialled. My training had been minimalist (that’s a nice term for short AF), but I got to the start line with no aches and pains, and a plan to eat a lot. That was it.
My train of thought for the entire duration of the race was summed up as: “Hmm. This feels too easy. Should I be worried? This pace seems fast. But it doesn’t hurt. So, now what? Ok. Eat. I’ll eat. High fives to that guy, that kid, that granny. I still feel good. WTF is going on? Am I going to hit the wall? If I hit a wall, Liz is going to roll her eyes so hard. Shiiit.”
And on and on these thoughts swirled. Yet, I never hit that infamous marathon wall. I ran under a banner at mile 22 that literally said “THIS IS THE WALL”… and, nothing. In fact, I kind of sped up. I guess I just wanted to be done and savour that beer.
I crossed the line with a big smile, a time of 3:35 and a feeling of ‘mission accomplished’.
Getting sick when we got to NYC sucked. But I think it sucked more for my friends because I guess I could sleep through all my own snoring and also, Sudafed got me to that start line.
That’s literally the only lowlight.
I won’t run another (road) marathon for a long while, I don’t think. This one has my heart, for sure.
So, on that note. Boston 2020, what’s your city bike situation like?