Sunday, March 20, 2011

Past Deadline: Milestones

Guess what. You are currently reading my 800th Past Deadline column.


That seems like a big number. It makes me feel kinda old, actually, and maybe a little tired because that represents more than half a million words. I didn’t know I had half a million words in me, but probably some of you suspected.

I can’t even remember when I started writing Past Deadline. I think it was 1995. It was definitely before I got married because I wrote a whole series of columns about “the wedding monster,” which I still think are prerequisite reading for any bride to be (in the “don’t be a stressed-out freak like I was” vein).

So what does one do after writing a half million words over more than a decade?

Take a nap, perhaps? (Not likely around here!)

Have a celebratory beverage? (Maybe.)

Retire? (Ha.)

No, what one does is get ready for another milestone that involves the number 800, of course. So...I have...gulp...signed up for the Kilt Run.

The “800” connection, you may remember, is that the run was spawned last year as a way to help our sister city, Perth, Scotland, to celebrate its 800th anniversary. Even though I had started a running program by then, I didn’t sign up because I didn’t think I would be ready to do 8K. By the time I realized I probably could manage it without dying, registration had closed.

So, I think it is only appropriate that I sign up for this event one year late in honour of my 800th Past Deadline column. Get it? Past deadline? Guffaw. Me so funny and clever. (Insert eye roll here.)

Of course there is that teeny tiny hurdle about actually running. Some of you may recall I have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to this most intrepid of exercise programs. The last time I did any sort of regular running was September/October. At that time I was all gung ho about the Terry Fox Run. I was definitely going to run the route – oh yes. It is about 5K, and that was quite manageable for me.

No probs, except for the fact I was coming down with a chest cold. I thought I was going to die part way through the run. I believe I was thinking, “Run through the chest pain,” which is probably not a really clever thing to do. Moron.

Anyway, that cold lasted a while and the accompanying cough (with which I believe most of the town is familiar) lasted for weeks. I ran less and less and then stopped, especially around Christmas when life got just too busy to see straight.

Motivation is a pretty big deal. You have to have it to accomplish many things in life. I’m not sure exactly why I decided one night a couple of weeks ago that I was going to go for a run, but I’m sure glad I did. I downloaded some groovy tunes, put on the ear phones, tied up the Rocket Shoes™ and set out on a winter-night trek. I figured I’d maybe be able to manage two or three kilometres. Maybe 20 minutes of alternating walking and running. I was hoping I could run five minutes at a time before taking a break.

In short, I figured I’d be starting over.

By gum, I did 5K and I ran almost all of it! I walked up the Drummond Street hill because it was near the start of my route and I figured I’d be a goner if I lost my breath so soon, and I walked for another minute at about the 4K mark.

I am amazed by the body’s capacity to remember!

Sure, I paid for it a couple of days later as I hobbled around and became reacquainted with a few dormant muscles, but it was a good kind of pain.

So, as I contemplated a topic for my 800th column, it only seemed fitting to connect one milestone to another. (This whole scheme is also made possible by the fact there is still four months-worth of training time ahead.)

You can bet if I survive the Kilt Run on July 2, I’ll have something to write about then, too!
Published in The Perth Courier, March 10/11

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