I’m very disappointed to admit it, but it looks like I won’t be running Haliburton this year. I had signed up for the 100 miler, but with my achilles injury, and more recently my ankle injury, it just doesn’t look like it will be possible. Both are improving slowly as I’m able to run on flat rail trail and roads, but they just aren’t back in the place now where I could run very long on technical trails. I had hoped to even be able to run the 50k as a nice long run, but even that right now would not be possible or wise with the uneven footing.
I am looking forward to being in Haliburton though and crewing for Sara, cheering on friends/clients and just enjoying all the things that make Haliburton such a wonderful event. I’m also very proud that Spafford Health and Adventure is a sponsor of this great race.
So with Haliburton out of the question right now, I decided to try a little different adventure earlier in the week…
I am a huge music fan and have taught myself to play a few instruments. I play very basic folk songs mostly, and just as a way to relax around our campfire and gazebo. My brother Paul is a great musician and I always enjoy watching him perform. It has been a long time goal of mine (bucket list item I guess) to actually play on stage at some point too, but I never thought I’d have the courage to. I’ve seen Paul play at an Open Stage night in Ottawa before and thought that if I was to ever attempt playing in front of a group that this might be my opportunity.
The opportunity came up on Monday night.
Initially I had considered accompanying Paul on tin whistle while he played mandolin or banjo, but I decided to bring my own mandolin (Paul’s old one) along just in case I had enough courage to try playing solo. Paul and his son’s Matt and Mick were very supportive when they caught wind of this and encouraged me to give it a go.
I have to admit that I’ve never been so nervous of anything in my entire life as getting up on stage. I remembered thinking back to some of my early races, track races, ultras, my first northern race and my first 100 miler. These were all very intimidating events, but none compared to the nerves I had on Monday night.
Fortunately, I was scheduled to play my two selected songs in the first set so I wouldn’t have to wait too long. I sipped on a Guinness while watching the other people perform. My nerves were getting the better of me as I was beginning to get concerned that I’d forget the words once I got on stage after hearing all of these other songs being played before me.
Finally, I was called to come up. I wobbled nervously to the front, mumbled something about this being my first time playing on stage, and started my first song ‘The Real Damage’ by Frank Turner. I may have been strumming my mandolin a little too hard, but this may have helped to cover up my shaky voice. I got through it and fortunately didn’t forget any of the lyrics.
My second song was ‘Lullaby of London’ by The Pogues. The funny thing is that I had planned to play a different song, but after getting through the first song, I needed to settle my nerves a little more. This is a song I’ve played for years and decided to switch to it at the very last second. I managed to get through it and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I was done.
It was a pretty satisfying experience to have overcome my fears doing something that was completely out of my comfort zone. I’m not sure if or when I will try again, but I could see returning to play again at some point.
I really enjoyed seeing Paul, Matt and Mick play their songs. Their musical talent and confidence on stage is truly impressive and inspiring. Here are the links to Paul’s, Matt’s and Mick’s songs. And, no I am not posting my songs as I’m not comfortable with that at this point.
I stayed overnight in Ottawa, as Paul and I had decided to get tattoos the next day. It had been 18 years since my last tattoo, so I was overdo. Paul, on the other hand, I think was just looking for an excuse to add to his collection.
I decided on two different tattoos. The first was a mountain runner design on my arm, and the other was a wolf paw print on my ankle. Both have deep connections to me. Obviously, the mountain runner is about who I am and what I love to do. As for the paw print, both of my favourite 100 milers have a wolf connection with Haliburton 100 and Yukon Arctic Ultra 100. I also link the paw print to my love of huskies and a reflection on some of the dogsled races that I did a number of years ago.
So, while there wasn’t a lot of running done during my Ottawa Adventure this week, it certainly played a role in providing inspiration and meaning to what I did.
Good luck to all runners at Haliburton next weekend. I’m looking forward to crewing for Sara and cheering on everyone else.