Friday, August 20, 2010

Oops too long and Cherry On Top

I ran a big scary distance today - 8k (5 mi).  I was planning on running 7.5k according to a well designed distance increase, but I took a 1 minute water break after 5k, and wouldn't you know it ... I needed to pee when I was finishing the 7.5k.  I live in an upper middle class neighborhood, BMWs, Audis, Hondas, Cadis, so stopping by a Juniper tree and letting a golden show rip was out of the question.  So I just ran an extra .5k to get closer to the house.  I think my run was faster than a walk at this point.  I love my neighbors.

Pace was 7:56/k (12:43/mi).

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I and 5 others received an award from Adam (The Boring Runner) called the Cherry on Top.


The rules of this award are [from Adam's page ... I don't research back to BerryFine ... you know how much energy a click takes?!!? I just missed a boys night out last night and the cherry, and the cherry on top had some very important significance, and so I did a very long double take and read everything very carefully - as I was afraid this was a setup by my bunch of evil-doing hoodlum friends whom I can't live without!]

  1. Answer this question: If you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be?
  2. The second thing you have to do is, pick 6 people and give them this award. You then have to inform the person that they have gotten this award.
  3. The third and final thing is, thank the person who gave you the award.

Here we go:


  1. I reviewed many places in my life where a decision I had made could have made a big difference in my life and the lives of others, and a decision that if made or not, could have had a very different outcome.  What I tell you is deep in the heart of this big guy, so please treat me gently with this one regret.  ...... Most of my adult life, I have been struggling with being an ambitious bastard and a good son/person.  I had a really good job offer in Atlanta as VP in a Telco, but stayed here in Toronto to be near my paralyzed father.  I often let junior people go on longer trips so that I wouldn't miss taking him out for a coffee (drunk from a straw) or a Honey Cruller at Tim Hortons at the Chronic Care Hospital where he lived.  [Tears are rolling down my eyes now.]  He was one of the greatest and well-adapted personalities I have ever met and he was ill from Multiple Sclerosis from about my 9th birthday.  My parents were divorced and I grew up fighting against him until the age I started my own business when I was 20.  He turned out to be a patient, knowledgeable teacher.  Over the years we became very close.  I even chose (with my wife) to move much closer to him so that travel time could be converted into visiting time.  I would push him through the neighbor hood (that I run through today) to our house from the hospital - it would take about 45 mins one way in his wheel chair.  Two years ago he had a mild pneumonia that made him lose his appetite and lose most of his ability to speak.  I could see he knew he was dieing and I wanted him to know he was not alone so the family quickly set up a visiting schedule that would keep him with someone almost every hour of his waking life (we were good at this by now - my uncle the year before from brain cancer, my mom from congestive heart failure and cancer two years before and my father in law, 3 years earlier, from arterial sclerosis.)  I usually had the evening shifts (5 pm to midnight).  Well he had been suffering from a second pneumonia and was not waking from it for a few days.  I wanted to go home and get some sleep, and I asked a nurse what I should do.  She said he's stable and I should go home.  I used her authority as an excuse, I kissed him and went home to sleep - because my going to sleep was apparently the most important thing in this world.  I reached home (a 5 minute drive) washed and we received a phone call from the hospital that he had died.  He had died alone.  A man that lived alone his whole life, and his oldest son couldn't even sit with him.  Everyone told me later he probably wanted to die alone, as he never (this is true) wanted to inconvenience anyone.  He probably would have said "I'm sorry, but I have to die now - please excuse me!"  My regret was that for an extra hour of sleep I wasn't there to give him to the next World.
  2. Six people to give this award to (not in any order):
    1. Johann du Plessis (Run Tall, Walk Tall) for taking me to a whole new world every blog post he makes - for living a life that I can not, but sharing it with me.  For the encouragement.
    2. Chris K (BQ or Die) for the training help and the good humor.  Still rather tame (since I've been tanned on the grid-iron and in the air).  And for the abs that I am working towards!  P.S. "Fumble" and "Reee-Jected" are common for us here too.
    3. Emily "EMZ" (cuckoo formatting blog) for being different - that is an achievement that is both respectful, and lonely all at once.  And the abs.  I know everyone was waiting for that comment.
    4. Rae (5k Rae) she's aways ahead of me, like an older sister (but she's younger) and she reveals a lot of hope for herself in her happy pictures and her posts.  Qualities I would like to acquire in time.
    5. T.S. (Long Road to Paradise) for Operation Beautiful - I remember when I shoved a bunch of wood splinters into a radiator hole in North Dakota, hoping to get me and my car to Lansing, Michigan.  The radiator worked just fine for another 600 miles.  Operation Beautiful could just work in such a simple way in changing the world.
    6. Amanda (5 Miles Past Empty) for making me do lunges [in a bikini] and liking furry animals.
  3. Adam, thank you.  You were my first follower two months ago.  And I immediately felt I could fit in to being a runner when I saw that you had a blog that was about "nothing" to use a Seinfeld praise.  Whenever I see it has a new post I'm on it baby.  Late for a Wedding, Church or an Opera?  So what, Adam's got something to say.  You have helped me [in a non-legally binding way] in my understanding of training and given me much encouragement.  I hope to grow up and be just like you.  I am planning a trip to Iowa soon for a wine tasting!
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Taking a break for a few days.  Sorry folks, my wife and I are off to a spiritual retreat given by Fr. Ron Rolheiser at a local retreat house.  I'll be offline until Sunday evening - no laptops, radios, or phones allowed - thank God!  Of course our world is already crumbling without us so we have people lined up for babysitting, driving people places, lawn cutting etc. But I couldn't find anyone to post and read your posts.  Don't post anything interesting this weekend.  Or if you do email me to catch up on it! andrew (at) andrewopala (dot) ca.  I might sneak my blackberry in past the strip search [don't ask where]!





15 comments:

WannabeRunner said...

Great job on the 8k and enjoy your weekend retreat!

Barefoot Neil Z said...

My tag line on another blog of mine is:

Make play a high priority in your life for if you die tomorrow no one can play for you, but someone can and will do your work for you!!!" Ken Beebe (Dr. Play)

You said that in this post, about no one will read or write your blogs, but the lawn will get cut. Great sentiment! Enjoy your weekend away.

Her Name is Rio said...

Thanks for sharing that with us.
Have a great retreat! Everyone needs time away from the Internet!

Rae said...

Great job on the 5 miles! I haven't done that far yet...2 more weeks!

Congrat on your award and thank you for giving one to me. That is so sweet of you! Thank you for your kind words. :)

I know how you feel about not being with your Dad when he passed...my Dad died when I was 13 and I wasn't with him either. But maybe he was waiting for you to leave so he could be alone. My Nana had lung cancer and the day she passed we were all there with her. But my uncles left to go get us lunch. So just my Mom, me, my Sis, and Papa were there when she passed, and we always say that's who she wanted there. That maybe she didn't want her sons to see her go. I think you were a wonderful son. You took care of your Dad, and moved closer, took him on walks, so I don't think you should have any regrets.

The Green Girl said...

Congratulations on your run. I hate when I have to pee and there's no good place. In San Francisco, I actually peed in a warehouse - no joke.

I'm sorry about you not being there when your dad passed but based on your description of him, it sounds like he probably wanted it that way.

T S said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story, and for giving me a cherry on top award. While I cannot claim Operation Beautiful as my own (I am only a fan and participant), I will post many notes next weekend in your honor!

Julie said...

Wow, this was a very touching and lovely post:) You are such a good person and I think that you are being really hard on yourself. Bless your heart:)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Elizabeth said...

Andrew, recovery pace is slow so that I can easily carry a conversation with a running partner or myself without huffing and puffing a "comfortable pace".

I am using the book, Brain Training for Runners by Matt Fitzgerald for my training, this is my first time using it for a full marathon but I used it for 2 halfs last year and was able to break 2 hours. The program is very detailed and it tells me what pace to run based on my realistic goal finish time.

Also, if you plug in a previous or realistic goal time into McMillian's Running Calculator, it gives you a very detailed list of paces. http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm

Hope that helps

Thanks for sharing the story about your dad but I believe he died on his own terms just like mine did.

Chris K said...

Darn it Andrew, you woke up my tear ducts on that one. If you ask me, you were a World Champion son.

Luke said...

In response to your comment on my page. My training plan has it's own page with a link at the top. It will be the top plan. It is a combination of a plan from tri newbies with the running replaced with a plan from runner's world smart coach. I'm looking to make some changes soon as it was not originally planned around a race, but now I have a race in October.

Robinsgothealth.com said...

Great way to get you moving faster...lol!

On a different note; Sorry for your loss, I too just lost my Daddy a couple of months ago, and it is not easy. My heart is with you.

YOurs in Health,
Robin

Jill said...

I am truly sorry for your loss; I know that pain first-hand. I bet your dad is looking down with great pride on the great man you've become!

Have a fun weekend!

wendy_kresha@charter.net said...

Wow! thanks for sharing! I hope your retreat goes well : )

Adam said...

What an amazing story. I know that your father is looking down on you and understsands. I am VERY certain that he appriciated the time that he was able to spend with you in his final hour.

Moi! said...

Beautifully written!I am sure your father is very proud of you.

Congratulations on the Cherry award.

Keep running and happy blogging!