Sunday, November 16, 2008

Leafy Neighbourhood

It sounded good in the real estate ad but the reality of a tree lined street and a few more adorning my front and rear yard is less attractive in mid-November when all of those leaves are now on the ground. About a month ago I wrote down the number of a guy my next door neighbour recommended for yard clean-up. I'd decided that with the short evenings and crazy work schedule that was going to involve being in the office most weekends I'd cave and pay someone to 'do the dirty work' this year. But as the weeks went by the guy's number remained on a piece of paper by my phone at work. Meanwhile, the leaves fell and covered every square inch of my yard. I am not sure why but I never did get around to calling the guy. I guess subconsiously it just seemed like the lazy option...

Thankfully work has calmed down a lot this past week and the weather both afternoons this weekend turned out to be perfect for the task. So yesterday after a fun morning run at Hyland catching up with the 'Plymouth gang' I spent several hours filling 20 bags and today after a splendid morning in Afton with Pam and John, another 10. The result... a few blisters, plenty of aches and pains... but a yard that will make all the neighbours proud! Or at least be grateful I've finally cleaned up. I am sure they must wonder about me sometimes. Thirty-something girl, leaves home most mornings before light and gets home most evenings after dark, always weighed down by at least 2 gym bags, a laptop bag, and usually a few shopping bags, apparently runs an unreasonable amount of miles, living in this family friendly neighbourhood with a school or playground on every block. Their kids on the other hand, think I'm great, since I can be relied upon in winter to not clear my footpath for days on end turning it into a 30 x 3 ice rink.

The gathering of leaves yesterday was one of the reasons I was late for Tri Night last night (Midwest Events end of year celebration). The other being I took in my mail just before taking a shower and saw that my copy of Ultrarunning had arrived. Needless to day the shower got delayed as I devoured the awesome coverage of Sawtooth 100 & Superior 50! Well done to Philip and John for their excellent reporting. Way too many mentions of my name but I was delighted to see Larry's race get the spotlight. I especially like the way John describes Sawtooth in relation to the mountain 100 milers and why this one is no less challenging albeit for different reasons. And it was just great to take myself back and be reminded of so many moments throughout the race. I'll be sad not to run it next year but at the same time I am looking forward to a different kind of challenge on the AC course that will be more runnable in sections and will have longer, steeper climbs, at higher altitude. While Sawtooth is an extremely tough course I think it plays to my strenghts as a trail runner so I like the thought of having to push myself in a different way next year - more trail speedwork and more steep hiking. But, next year is a long way off...

Much closer is next weekend's race! Oh, to think I'll (hopefully) be done this time next Sunday - or at the very least be off my bike :) In a cruel twist of irony I won the top door prize at the event last night - a pair of $200 LG carbon bike shoes. Me, who won't be sorry if I don't see my bike until next summer after this race, and don't plan to ever sit on it again for more than 3 hours! Hopefully the nice folk at Grand Performance, where I bought my tri bike this spring, will allow me to exchange the voucher for some clothing instead (i.e. the kind of clothing that doubles as running gear).

I couldn't help but compare last night's event to the recent UMTR shindig in Hastings. Low key and humble are not really words that came to mind watching practically every award presenter and recipient take the stage and talk, and talk, and talk, one after another, mostly about themselves. I have a lot of respect for all of these athletes and no question they deserve their moment of glory but there's only so many "I'd like to just share with you..." stories I needed to hear. It was topped off by some random guy (ok, I am sure lots of people present knew him) announcing he and his wife are pregnant. I restrained myself from bursting his bubble and asking "Are you sure you're the father?"

Anyways, it was a fun evening catching up with Susan and Marta, and later Carrie and Aaron, as well as Santi and Karen. It's crazy to think it's already been 5 months since we were hanging out together in the sunshine after the Liberty Tri. I've seen them all on and off through the summer and fall but not as much as I'd like to. My New Year's wish will be for time to please slow down a little in 2009!

I almost forgot - update on the foot - the few days rest last week have definitely helped! I should be icing it every night but of course I am not. Maybe later... but it felt pretty good yesterday for about 7 miles at Hyland and this morning I'd say I had even less pain (must be the heels last night) for the 8-9 miles at Afton. Not sure how long we ran for this morning it was just a blast navigating through more deer trails... constant ducking and dodging to avoid the obstacles. I did mange to rip my track pants but they are about 3 years old so I guess it was about time. No falls for once! It was a little chilly starting out but what about that light snow... is there a better feeling than running though the woods with soft white flakes falling on your face? Great to chat with Nancy for a bit afterwards - Thanks for the coffee! - and I'm delighted to see Tom out running again. He's really coming back well from his injury.

All in all, a very productive weekend! Except I never got around to any of the work work that I was supposed to... I guess that's what Monday is for. Mum arrives Wednesday night. It will be brilliant having her over. It's a bit later than she usually comes but at least the trip to Arizona will break up the cold weather!


Matthew Patten said...

Funny stuff about the neighborhood. Your neighbors should like you because you don't have a loud dog, and have loud parties.... although your friends are probably a scrappy bunch.

I used to be a bike mechanic, and could have built you a killer whell for the IM. I don't think I could even true one nowadays.

Good luck this weekend. Is there live tracking?

SteveQ said...

In my family, we would leave the yardwork for Mom's visits - it'd keep her from recleaning the house we just cleaned for her visit.

My neighbors don't seem so worried about this odd middle-aged single guy; guess it helps that I've been a fixture here for decades.

I thought your neighborhood was where the trendies went when Uptown got too expensive and Nordeast too popular.

IronJenny said...

Hi Helen - great seeing you Sat., I wish I had gotten to talk to you more!
Next year, call your tri and running buds for the raking - it's a great out-of-the-ordinary workout and we always are looking for an excuse to get together.
Aren't you doing AZ?
Good luck!!! That was my first one - way back when it was in the spring. You will love the course and I am sure you will beat 11:22... ;-)

Kurt said...

Good luck at IM AZ !!! I am sure you will do great.

I am with you when it comes to leaves. As I was 13 bags into it in just the front yard I was thinking of the guys who do this for you as well

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