The Mother of Adventure

Mutant, move-it Monday!

Apple 3Happy Monday, all!

I decided to kick-start this week with a run. Lately, the mornings have been *such* a lovely temperature for running – and the afternoons heat up to a summer-like heat. Great to get the workout in early and set a positive tone for the day.

Typically, I run with my iPod. I get a lot of motivation out of cranking some upbeat tunes – there are certain songs that can totally inspire me to pick up my pace (runner friends – what is your fave running tune??). Today, however, I decided to leave the tunes at home – just to mix it up a little.

It was nice to break from the music and enjoy a quiet run. I found it caused me to focus on my breathing, to be more aware of the rhythm of my feet on the trail and the depth of the oxygen filling my lungs. I tuned in to the sound of the insects humming on the “off road” portion of my run, and noticed the birds sounding their chirpy, morning greetings.

Apple 2Back at home, I’ve got a pile of projects to tackle this week. One of them is deciding what to do with my crabapples – thus the ‘mutant’ reference in the post title! We have a lovely, young apple tree in our backyard, but this year its yield is nothing short of bizarre. There were not a ton of apples, and almost every one has an irregular, lumpy shape to it. Why did they grow like that? Any green thumbs out there that might know?

In addition to their strange shape, some of the apples seem to have been eaten by bugs. But it’s hard to tell, as some of them – when I slice them open have a small, black spot inside but no outside holes – which lead me to believe it’s not bugs after all.

AppleWondering what to do with these weird little fruits…I hate to waste food, so should I just salvage the good parts and bake something up? The unmarred sections taste great – a bit tart, perfect for baking.

A bit disappointed as two summers ago, I had an incredible yield of at least 100 big, perfect crabapples. Now I’m stuck with a bunch of mutants! I’ve got a lot to learn about gardening, so it seems.

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Gratitude

Trail 2I woke up in a bit of a funk this morning.

It was a choppy night; my 10-year-old daughter woke up with a nosebleed and I was up helping her for a bit. After what felt like forever, I finally fell back into a fitful sleep, filled with bizarre and unsettling dreams.

Getting out of bed, I looked out the window to see a heavy fog over the neighbourhood. It gave me the slight sensation that I was still asleep, maneuvering my way through a series of strange, unlikely situations.

I had to shake it off. So I did what I *least* wanted to do – I geared up to go for a run. I promised myself it could be slow and short; I just needed to get moving.

As I headed out to a nearby trail, the sun came out and quickly burned off the fog. My sun-splashed trail led me right by the river, which was as smooth and calm as glass.

Continuing on, I passed a seniors’ home and noticed a few people out on the grounds, enjoying the day. In the distance, I saw a man in a wheelchair; he turned and watched as I ran by along the path. Suddenly, a jolt went through me. It was one of those reality-check moments, where you’re reminded of the blatantly obvious that, somehow, you’ve conveniently forgotten.

TrailI have legs that work. I can walk, I can run. I can move freely on this beautiful, autumn day. I am so blessed.

It shouldn’t take looking at someone in a wheelchair to appreciate my own body and abilities, but sometimes complacency sets in. It’s so easy to complain about my little aches and pains, until I encounter someone who is truly suffering and I stop to realize how fortunate I really am.

I may not be the world’s fastest runner, and others might go much farther than I ever could. All I know is that on this day, I’ll breathe a little deeper, crank my favourite tunes a little louder and run just a bit farther than I originally set out to go…simply because I can.

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Building the perfect playlist

SpiralHey! is it my fault that
The fallen embers burn
Down in a spiral
Round your crown of thieves.

My body tells me no,
But I won’t quit
Cause I want more.

~ My Body (Young the Giant)

Today marked an exciting development – I invested about $3 in my running playlist (I know…big spender, right??).

I usually run with an iPod, a gift given to me by my husband, Ian, a few years ago. When I first got it, I didn’t use it for a while; I was so used to running without music. Then, when I got set up with iTunes and started building my song list, I got hooked.

These days, I can’t quite recall how or why I ever ran – or worked out at the gym – without my iPod. In fact, Ian recently borrowed my iPod for a gym workout and forgot to give it back to me before leaving for work and I was, shall I say…less than impressed.

I love running with music, and I’ve been slowly building my song list. Now if you’re anything like me, you’re very particular about your song list. I see mine as a labour of love; not just any snappy tune makes the list. It has to really, truly move me in some way. I’m always listening to the radio and assessing songs – old and new – as potentials for my playlist.

And let’s just say there’s no logical pattern in the songs I choose, no common genre of music. I’m a bit of a musical misfit; I like it old school, I like it poppy, I like it rappy. It’s great if a song has a fast beat to it, as it totally peps me up and inspires me to increase my pace. Some of my fave fast songs are Start Me Up (Rolling Stones), Chocolate (The 1975), 500 Miles (The Proclaimers) and Poker Face (Lady Gaga).

It really doesn’t matter if anyone else likes my bizarre mix of tunes, because it’s just for me (unless Ian steals my iPod, of course). But I do love comparing playlists with friends and occasionally discovering new additions – my friend Lisa suggested That’s Not My Name (The Ting Tings) a while back, and it’s a great addition to my regular playlist.

It’s always fun when my playlist tunes have some sort of reference to running, distance and movement, but I’m not a big fan of the super-obvious classics (Eye of the Tiger just makes me groan). I love My Body because the lyrics (above) make me feel like just pushing right through the discomfort of a tough workout.

Shoes and headphonesMost of all, I love running to songs that make me feel good. That addictive runner’s high is even more enhanced when I lose myself in lyrics that resonate with freedom and optimism. It helps me to mentally reset; to remember all the incredible things in this world, in my life. And to me, that’s what running’s all about.

Sometimes there’s airplanes I can’t jump out
Sometimes there’s bullshit that don’t work now
We all got our stories, but please tell me
What there is to complain about?

~ Good Life (OneRepublic)

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