Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Runners just do it - they run for the finish line even if someone else has reached it first." -Anonymous's almost exactly two months until I will run my first half-marathon - on September 28th, 2008 in the great city of Toronto. The funny thing is - it is not the anticipation of the race that has me the most is the training.

I realize there are some people in the world who think of running as perpetually kicking themselves in face for X amount of time, but I am not one of those people. Oh sure, I'd like to introduce my alarm clock to some C4 in the middle of a deserted field most days, but once the initial realization that I will get no more sleep sinks in, I am actually excited to strap on my shoes and find a perfect mix of songs on my iPod to run to. I know...I must be sick.

Not that running the race won't be a wicked experience, but I think there is something to be said for having a purpose to train - or focus - on just about anything. I mean, I have not played competitive sports since University and other than the odd competition (which, let's be honest, is usually my buddies and I playing pickup basketball or making up a competition out of some asinine challenge) - the adrenaline is more of a drip than a rush as of late. So, to have a goal, a focus, and to have it count - with real timers, real goals and official results - provides for the training itch to be scratched because IT MATTERS.

Don't get me wrong - I am no Steve Prefontaine, but no matter where I finish, I will train as hard as anyone else out there, and THAT is a rush.

Here is one of my favourite commercials of all-time - it is Lance Armstrong on his bike during his training. There is nothing crazy about the video - but it is a perfect example of that feeling of preparing and working and getting it done whether it is in the morning before the world is awake or at night when the world is tucked in bed:

So...the next couple of months are going to be filled with great runs, early mornings and days when I would rather have an un-drugged root canal than go running. But, the mental side of the challenge - the foresight to see when the run is done, the day is started and your body is thanking you - that will have to push my butt out the door and onto the waiting road.

No matter what place I finish in Toronto or how long it takes - it doesn't matter. All that matters is preparing, running, finishing - and looking ahead to whenever the next one is.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

It has been a long time since I have seen a good concert. I have seen some decent shows lately - but in truth - I had begun to think that the days of bands playing until their fingers hurt and enjoying a jam session with thousands of their un-closest friends were all but over.

Then, the other night...I went and saw Fergie in concert.

There - we are all MUCH better friends now that I have admitted that.

This year the Rogers Bayfest lineup included the Black Eyed Peas starlet - and thanks to my best friend (thanks again, B!) - I was given a couple of tickets. Now, I will be honest, I was not all that stoked to go see her. Sure, there are the 'assets' many people refer to that one could consider a check under the 'Pros' column for going to see this show, but to be honest, being one of probably thousands of guys at this event pouring a drink through my nose because I could not take my eyes of Fergie's perfectly formed rear makes me feel like a goof, so that reason does not do it for me.

Regardless of whether I was excited to go or not - there I was. And you know, what? It was a great show. Honestly - I am not even a huge Fergie fan (which may disgust the gentleman in front of us who was proudly sporting his t-shirt with 'Fergalicious' in eye-catching sparkled letters), but I do have respect for an artist who puts on a good show - and that she did.

I have been to my fair share of concerts where the artists make the crowd feel like they are lucky to be there. They act as if they are owed something for giving their time to play that evening. They conveniently forget that the [insert ticket price here] goes to feed their non-un-extravagant lifestyle. It always rubs me the wrong way that performers seem bored and/or annoyed that thousands of people would actually like to see them do the very thing they have a talent for.

Thankfully, Fergie was the opposite. She engaged the crowd, had some fun, seemed to be enjoying herself and - gasp! - actually smiled throughout the entire show.

Why the hell am I writing about this, you ask? Well, I guess in my eyes it is incredibly apparent when you witness someone doing something they actually enjoy. Part of me figured Fergie might just mail it in for a performance, collect her money, and move on to the next stop. That was not the case at all - and I have to admit that I had jumped to the conclusion that most, if not all, performers, went through the motions. I was wrong...there, I came clean.

I may not be seeing her again anytime soon, but I will definitely get back on the live music train due to having actually enjoyed a show for the first time in a long time.

Now, if only I had picked up my own sparkled tee as a souvenir.