Tag Archives: sport

5 x 800m

If you’ve been following my blog over the years, you will know that I’m a sports fan.  My husband is too, and he’s a high school Phys Ed teacher, so sport is as much a part of his life as it is mine.  My practice is by no means “athletes only,” but my patient population is definitely dominated by active people leading active lives.  In fact, it was the fitness/movement/sport side of chiropractic that initially drew me in and made me want to join this profession.  I was a newly-graduated University student with a Bachelor’s degree and cloudy vision of my future when I got a job at the front desk of a sports-based practice in Calgary and it suddenly all seemed so clear: this was my path.  

OK, the intro’s over, onto my story:

I did an interval workout this morning; five repeats of 800m.  With the Summer upon us, my kids and my husband are now home during the day, and as I pulled on my running clothes just after 7am, my five-year-old daughter asked to come along.  “Can I come too?” she said, “since you’re not going far?”  She’s getting heavy to push in the running stroller, and my runs these days tend to be long and hilly, so adding 50lbs of drag makes her running-buddy days few and far between.  I’ve written about her coming with me on runs before and about how many hundreds of miles I’ve put on my running stroller with my kids over the years.  “Sure,” I said, and she jumped up to put on some shorts and grab some snacks.  My eight-year-old son’s interest was piqued when I mentioned the race-against-the-clock aspect of interval training and he asked to come too, which he hasn’t done in a couple of years.  So out the door we went, armed with scooters and the stroller, snacks and smiles.  

We did loops of our neighborhood; I’ve got an 800m left-turn-only route that I envision as my own personal track just outside my front door.  My son and I both had watches, and we raced each other and timed ourselves, he on his scooter, me pushing his sister in the stroller.  She soon finished her snacks and wanted in on the action- so she jumped on her scooter and the three of us raced the loop again and again.  It was the best interval workout I’ve ever had, only because they were there too, testing their limits, pushing their bodies, learning their capabilities.  

The point?  Well, let’s get back to my sports-fan intro…..

My daughter is a sports fan too.  In fact, at five years old, she often wakes before the rest of us, and sleepily wanders into the living room to watch SportsCentre or BlueJays in 30 until we get up.  You may ask why I’m focusing this post on her in relation to sport.  Well, that’s an easy answer: because the world is already set up to make boys into athletes.  Now, I’m most certainly a feminist (or more accurately, an equalist), but I’m not burning my bra while I write this post, I’m simply stating a fact.  “I’m going to win the World Series when I grow up,” she says while we watch baseball, “I’m going to win the Stanley Cup,” she says while we watch hockey.  I smile, I encourage, I tell her she better give her mama front row seats.  

I don’t tell her that pro-sports are nearly exclusively male, that female athletes are often sexualized for their feminity or criticized for their masculinity, or that the two eight-year-old girls at my son’s baseball practice get lumped into “boys, let’s hustle.”  I think about aspirations of female athletes; College scholarships, Olympic Games, sponsorships.  I think about how Title IX started to change the culture of sport when I was growing up.  I think about how if I had to do life over again, I would be a sideline reporter and eat/sleep/breathe the ups and downs of sport even more than I do now.  I think about how I can foster her passions, teach her to think outside of gender boundaries, and to use fitness and sport as a way to gain health and friendships, mental clarity and strength, energy and joy.

And I think about how I can show her that running 800m laps on quiet suburban streets before 8am is not weird, it’s actually pretty damn fun.

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A Hall of Fame Journey…

My dad is being inducted into the Alberta Golf Hall of Fame tomorrow night.  Parents often tell their children how proud they are of them, but statements of pride and admiration don’t flow from child to parent as commonly.  AB golf hall of fame

This is one of those times.

I’m so proud of him.  And not even for the Hall of Fame induction per se, but for the passion that he’s followed his entire life.

I grew up with golf playing a major role in my life.  Until I was ten years old, we lived in the tiny village of Hughenden, Alberta, with a population of a couple hundred people.  The golf course of my early childhood had sand greens, and at weekend tournaments I would earn spending money raking the sand as each group played through.  We owned a two-seater golf cart, and I vividly remember learning to drive it when I could barely reach the pedals.  I remember Sunday pancake breakfasts at the clubhouse, disturbing red ant hills in the treed area behind the number one tee box, building elaborate wooden forts alongside the forested roadway entrance, and walking the course in the Spring as crocuses peeked up and signaled the end of the harsh prairie Winter.  At seven years old, we memorialized our poodle, Sugar, with a pile of rocks that lies deep within the forest off the number three fairway.  I can still imagine that clearing in the trees and see my mother’s tears.  Am I painting you a picture?  Can you feel the golfbag on your back, the crunchy grass beneath your spikes, the crisp Alberta sunshine on your face?

After our move to Sundre, at age ten, my love of the game waned.  Moreso, I suspect, due to adolescent moodiness rather than any feelings for the golf itself.  Nevertheless, golf remained a constant.  We played as a family nearly every Sunday afternoon, even as my teenaged petulance grew.  Now, with the benefit of hindsight and maturity, I can see that these afternoons were never about the golf for my parents, but rather a chance to spend some time together.  My brother grabbed this opportunity and ran with it, eventually earning a golf scholarship to a D1 school in the States, and lots of international travel and competition.  I went the other way, rebelling against a sport steeped in rules and tradition; my perfectionism, impatience, and stubbornness do not serve me well on a golf course, and these days, I limit my golf to the driving range and tee boxes only.

But I’m flying in for the event tomorrow; just me, no kids, and 24 hours in Alberta at my dad’s side.  I’m going to squeeze in a run on my beloved Snake Hill, snuggle with my baby niece, and enjoy an evening celebrating my dad’s passion.  Because really, “there is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ~Nelson Mandela

 

Les Swelin golf hall of fame

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The lessons of sport

This was a sporty weekend for me, just how I like ’em.  We picked up my daughter’s soccer team picture, my son had a touch football game, I went to the most exciting Jays game I’ve ever been to, and I ran a half marathon.  Well, actually I ran half of a half marathon.

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Months ago, when a May 29th half marathon seemed like a good carrot to chase through the Winter, myself and a couple of girlfriends registered for this women’s only event.  It took place in Sunnybrook Park, the scene of many, many training runs during my Chiropractic College days ten years ago.  It would be a run down memory lane I thought, and a great chance to build up my mileage again after a two-year distance racing hiatus.

I ran Burlington’s Chilly half marathon in early March, under-trained and suffering for 21.1km.  Sunday’s race was to be my redemption; a flat course, more training mileage under my belt, and a small field of runners to help me push the pace and run a race I was proud of.  To have a great trio of supportive friends on the race course with me and a post-race brunch to look forward to was the icing on my proverbial running cake.  Alas, Mother Nature had other plans for us.  With a Spring that’s been abnormally cold and wet, the weather had dramatically shifted to record-breaking heat and humidity.  Not only were we not acclimatized to the heat (I ran my last long run two weeks prior wearing a toque and gloves!), but with the humidity factored in, conditions were dangerous.

The race organizers sent out a warning email the day prior, alerting us that the half marathon distance could be shortened, in what was to be a raceday decision.  If I’m being honest, I was discouraged and annoyed, feeling like my pre-dawn Sunday long runsIMG_3568 and plodding through mid-week mileage with my favourite running buddy were all for naught.  IMG_3458Nevertheless, I carb-loaded at the Jays game, packing a bag full of baked sweet potatoes, Lara bars, and ice water, much to the amusement of my friend Jen.  Yes, I actually did that.  Yes, I’m crazy.

We arrived race morning to find out that the race had in fact been downgraded to 12km (although my friend’s GPS trackers said it ended up being closer to 13km), and organizers encouraged us to treat it as a “fun run” instead of a race.  They were even foregoing age group prizes to discourage racing under such extreme conditions.  It was the right call, despite the day prior’s disappointment factor.  The heat quickly became oppressive and I ran far slower and felt far worse than my perceived exertion would dictate.

Sport teaches us many lessons, and this weekend it taught me adaptability.  And perseverance.  And determination.  And tenacity.  And friendship.  And fun.

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