Spontaneity in life is important. It's something I'm not very good at; I appreciate my schedules, lists, and filled agenda book. I function well knowing what time something is going to happen on what day, and how much time each thing will have dedicated to it. But there's always been something so lovely about acting with spontaneity. I get excited at the unplanned.
The other day I was asked by a colleague what my best or most memorable holiday was. While I've been to some incredible places, what came to mind was a trip I took to the UK back in 2006. What made it so special was that I literally booked the flight two days before I took the flight. I went there with no itinerary and no plan whatsoever - just a few ideas on people and places I might visit. It was a self-indulgent trip. I needed a break, I needed some me-time, and I needed the excitement that comes with having no plan whatsoever. Every day was an oyster with a pearl of adventure inside. Anything I chose to do would be more exotic than anything I could have done had I stayed at home in Vancouver, feeling sorry for myself during a tough time.
Yesterday was a majorly spontaneous day for Zahida, the runner. First of all I went for an awesome run with no plan. I decided on a distance, simply so I'd know how much water and food to pack, but I made no plan on a route. At one point I regretted it because I ran out of sidewalk and felt there were too many cars to run on the street. But that lasted for only about 100m - the rest was bliss! It ended up being a challenging 10km course; according to my Garmin, I was running uphill for half of this course (for a solid 35 min straight). But it felt great: a tough strength and endurance workout. I took it at my target training pace for the upcoming marathon to test out what it would feel like. My favourite part of this was when I was running hard up a long hill (Mountain Highway), a little old lady cautiously going downhill said to me, "oh dear, you know it'd be so much easier if you were to go the other way!" Haha!! I must have looked so hardcore.
The most spontaneous part of the day I think though was when I came home. I was doing some tidying up and noticed a postcard I had on the coffee table advertising the Fall Classic run at UBC. It's one that I received at my recent race and hung onto for some reason. The race is coming up on November 20th (this coming Sunday) and features a half marathon and 10km race. I am not ready for another half quite yet, nor do I want to deal with the recovery again, but 10km isn't a big deal for me distance-wise anymore. I've never ran a 10km as a race, where I run hard and focus on time. Every other 10km run I've done, I did for fun or for completion. Now that I'm fitter than I've ever been, I want to race that distance. And they give you a nice-looking long-sleeved tech shirt that's worth most of the registration fee. So yes, I registered! I'm doing the Fall Classic next weekend. It's a week away and I've not trained specifically for it (ie., no speed work or hill sessions), but I know I'm ready.
I'm quite excited. I'm doing this race in 6 days, haven't thought about it for longer than since yesterday. What excites me is that it's much like my self-indulgent trip to the UK 5 years ago, except much shorter in time, and much more economical (yet I get a souvenir shirt). It's all about me this time. It's a run that is symbolic in marking the an end to an era in my life; this race will be a kind of personal saying goodbye ceremony to a chapter of my journey that has recently come to a close. And I get to do so while celebrating my renewed life as a runner and looking ahead to a positive future.
And of course, you can expect a full race report here next week! Stay tuned!