As I was dumping the soggy discards of today’s school lunches out of their respective sacs, I found the note that had been tucked away between Zach’s sandwich box and the sticky cellophane of a smushed granola bar. In Fraser’s scrawl it read “Go get ’em Zach!”. “Em” being the multitude of friendly rivals at the track and field meet that our nine-year old attended earlier today. I grinned at the yellow stick-it square, so plain yet so thoughtful and sweet.
Beaming with pride after last year’s eighth place finish.
When I had picked up Zach from school he was glowing with the pride that comes with a shiny ribbon and expectations exceeded. He had come in seventh in running long-jump, one place higher than last year. And as a late sub-in for a teammate with a twisted ankle, his relay crew had pulled a second place finish. He was over the moon!
Waiting by Zach’s side was his favourite teacher. He shook my hand and paid our little one a glowing compliment. “Zach has such a great positive attitude. He’s such a happy camper!”. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks for the dedication of teachers who readily lend their time and energy to help give our kids the chance to find pride in achievement. Thanks to the parents who pack lunches late at night after long days working, who still find the time to write a few words of encouragement. And especially thanks to the kids whose enthusiasm for long jump outweighs their enthusiasm for video games. Go get ’em!
The air is cool and full of the damp smell of decay. I’ve spent the morning digging through my basement in search of the sock bin that’s been snubbed for the last four months in favour of sandals. In my humble opinion, the best time of year has finally arrived. It’s fall and along with all of the fabulous smells and sights comes the best time for getting outside.
Don’t let the cooler wet weather keep you and the family inside. With the right gear and clothing, the “off-season” out-of-doors has so much to offer. Pumpkins and apple pies, a couple of wheels rolling over crunchy colourful leaves, evening thunderstorms and early morning misty paddles, these are a few of my favourite things. It’s time to triple up friends with a base layer, mid-layer and wind/rain jacket combo. These will keep you covered from the cold break of dawn through the warm sun breaking through in the afternoon and then back again. Light gloves and a cute hat are invaluable for keeping in the cosy and take up almost no room in your pack or pockets, so be sure to bring some along on your adventures.
Whatever your excursion of choice, be prepared with the right gear. Whether running, cycling, or just walking the dog, remember that night is coming sooner these days and even your commute home could get a little dark. Bring your lights and reflectors and make sure that you can be seen. Staying out overnight? Bring a tarp, a cozy sleeping bag and a full-fly tent and be prepared to fix hot meals and drinks to keep up your comfort level and your spirits.
Now that you’re ready for the weather, get out there and enjoy the changing seasons. And don’t forget to find those socks…you’re gonna need them.
A big thank you to MEC for putting on a great event, my brother for running by my side even though he could have left me in his dust, and my boys for being great runners and great sports. This picture was taken at the end of our first 5k run. What a fabulous day!
Well it’s some kind of crazy mess that I’ve gotten us into this time. I’ve signed the kids and myself up for the MEC Toronto 5k Lakeside Loop run. Good grief I don’t know where I come up with these ideas!
Zach and I never run more than two kilometers at a time and we stop often to marvel over the complexity of pinecones and the simplicity of puddles. The idea of us completing twice the run in half the time is laughable. That’s just what we’re going to do though…laugh while we run, not that whole twice the race in half the time thing! Who’s kidding who here, we’ll be running twice the distance in as much time as it takes!
Happy as a running clam
The family is in training for our advanced 60km hike in Pukaskwa National Park next month and we can always do with some improvement to our endurance. I reckon that running every day for the next two weeks will surely serve our training well and I am confident that we’ll be able to complete the 5k, albeit with a mix of running, walking and wheezing.
While the certainty of a last place finish against “real” runners might prove too daunting for some, the boys and I will hold our heads high when we eventually limp over the finish line. The fact that we signed up, trained and put in the effort makes us no less winners than those who will cross before us. Plus I’m going to make all our friends wait at the tape until the bitter end to cheer for us when we do.
Zach got a little tired on the uphill
And good gravy, if we can do it so can you, so we want to see you there! Come and walk, run, limp with us on Saturday April 28th and we promise to make you look good! Come and finish first or come and finish last, but come and have fun, keep us company and maybe do something you never imagined you would. There will be prizes for the fastest three men and women and draws for the rest of us. Sign up ahead of time here for $10 or pay $15 on the day of. It ought to be a nice course as it runs west along the Martin Goodman Trail, then loops back and finishes at Coronation Park. So I’ll see all of you at 10:00am at the starting line right? I’ll be the one with the two kids and the terrified look on my face. Yay running!
With Halloween just around the corner, thoughts turn to ghosts and ghouls and dark and stormy nights. It just so happens that my backyard shares a fence with the local cemetery. Spooky? Not in the least. The word I would use is lucky.
Run run run run runaway
When you’re a kid growing up in the biggest city in Canada, space is at a premium. If you are fortunate enough to live near a park, I can almost guarantee that it houses a swing set and little else. So here is a secret that I learned long ago. When I was a kid, my mom used to take my brother and I walking in the city’s biggest, prettiest and best maintained outdoor spaces…cemeteries.
Run run run run run to me
Our backyard cemetery is huge. Today Zach and I ran a loop of just half of the property and we clocked 2.25km’s! The grounds are beautiful with 40ft tall oak trees, colourful maples and flowering bushes. It has rolling hills and perfectly paved roads where it is rare to see a car. I admit that cemeteries are for quiet walks and runs and shouldn’t be used for horsing around, but I urge you to take respectful advantage of these meticulously maintained spaces. As with all out of the way places, use common sense and take a buddy and cell phone with you if visiting in the early morning or evening. Enjoy your city and find beauty where you least expect it.