It was already 24 degrees C (75 F) when I left the house at 7:30am. As we've learned, I am not the most graceful hot weather runner. So this was a serious gamble. But people, CONTRIBUTORS, you are worth it.
Mile #1: Maria Pfeiffer
I met Maria at one of the early shows of our Fall 2011 Brooklyn run. I'm not sure how they all got there, but there were three runner-blogger-ladies at that show and we all went for coffee afterwards. The other runner-blogger-ladies were the fierce Amy Cooper and the divine Hilary Lorenz, who you've met on the pages of this blog.
That coffee was seriously one of the most amazing moments of the Fall run. We had an incredible discussion about running, about the show, about that strange obsessive-therapeutic gray area in which a lot of runners dwell. For the first time, I started to realize who this show is for. It's for a lot of people, really, but in these three women, I saw who ENDURE really speaks to. That insight was hugely precious and I came to it thanks to the amazing and utterly HILARIOUS Maria Pfeiffer. If any of you are hosting a party any time soon, you want this woman there. Trust.
Maria's mile was, like Maria, a truly delightful surprise. Even though I "should"have been going into nuclear reactor mode, the heat didn't affect me at all. There was a perfect breeze and my side of the park was perfectly in shadow. I passed that big beautiful lake and I thought (as I always do) of Pildammsparken in Malmo, Sweden where Christine Owman and I would take our mental breaks (me running, her on a bike) while we created ENDURE's soundscape.
Song: It's an all-Canadian playlist today! 'You Are A Runner And I Am My Father's Son' by Wolf Parade.
Mile #2: Colette Hubner
There are only a handful of people who were actually with me during my Ironman year. And by "with me" I mean with me in the trenches on a daily and weekly basis seeing the workouts, feeling the workouts, watching the whole process unfold. Most people see the stop-motion photographs of a process like this: they hear someone has signed up, they hear how the 'warm-up' Half Ironman went, they tease the athlete for drinking Gatorade at BBQ parties and then they hear about the race. It is a tiny group of people who actually see the day-to-day, incremental transformation process of preparing for an event like Ironman. Colette Hubner saw me.
She was in the pool with me three days a week for the whole of 2006. We went for coffees. We went for bike rides. We went for runs. She made me exquisite dinners in her exquisite home. She watched me transform from a marathoner who felt like she dodged a bullet into an Ironman. Someone who understands that no matter how big or impossible something seems, I know will get there.
And then she went and did a bunch of Ironman races herself. She is one of the most fierce humans I know and the CRAZY thing of it is, I'm not sure she knows how fierce she is. Colette 'Spicy' Hubner? YOU ARE A F*CKING MONSTER AND I LOVE YOU.
Song: My favourite, favourite Metric song that I love so much it's crazy. Listen loud, friends. 'Gimme Sympathy' by Metric.
Mile #3: Janet Leeder
Janet Leeder is my dear friend Kristina's mom. Beena (as she is known to me) and I were close, close friends in undergrad. Then we lost touch for a zillion years. Then we got reconnected somehow and now we're email-pen-pals with giant crushes on each other. Janet came to an ENDURE show in Cochrane, loved it, and now we're Facebook friends with giant crushes on each other.
Janet is basically love in human form. That is what it feels like to have her in my life.
Janet's mile, in fact all of my five miles, were simple and glorious. This was the definition of a perfect summer run. The park was lively and green. The paths were full of people running, riding, walking dogs, pushing stollers. The sun filtered down through the green of the leaves. The air smelled good like moist earth and flowers. This was a great, great run.
Song: 'Call It Off' by Tegan And Sara (Calgarians! Sisters! Yes!)
Mile #4: Anonymous Contributor #3
Anonymous Contributor makes me think about the fact that ENDURE is anything but a one-person show. Anonymous Contributor makes me think about all the unsung heros that have made this show possible and continue to make this show possible. I'm going to list some of them here and me listing them in no way expresses the amount of gratitude I have for these people. It in NO WAY lets you know how essential and precious their contributions have been. So you are going to have to trust me: whatever you've seen and loved about the show, these humans had a hand in it.
First is Kym Bernazky. She paved the way for me to stay in NYC and has since paved the way for ENDURE to get to the UK. This lady opened up the world for me. She is also giving up TV for a whole year and you will love her blog. Next is the original creative and production team of ENDURE: Michael Buffer (director) and Erica McLaughlin (marketing). I need to include the beautiful Donna Costello here too because some of the best images of the show come from her suggestions, Devin Assuncao whose script feedback changed my life and, of course, the luminous Miss Christine Owman. The thing that needs to be said about these incredible people is that they believed in this show before there was ever a show. ENDURE would not have been made if it wasn't for them.
Two people came on board last summer and have become essential parts of ENDURE's DNA: Jessica Baker and Suchan Vodoor. There is literally no way to measure the contribution of these two people. They have spent more hours working on this show than anyone else. That seven week run in the fall? (SEVEN FREAKING WEEKS.) All Such and Jess. Jess works one zillion hours a week producing Blue Man's new Las Vegas show. Then she makes sure ENDURE doesn't go broke or get sued. THEN she plots ENDURE's world takeover in the form of Canadian tours, North American tours and who knows what else. She invented the term F*cking Monster and she is the Original Monster. Suchan is the show's director and his unsung status is about to change for real. This is the guy who will stage the show on Governors Island, then again over two jet-lagged days in London and then a THIRD time in Edinburgh all the while making ME look good. MONSTER.
Next is my fierce Canadian production duo: Graham Kingsley and Mikaela Cochrane. Graham gets a whole mile to himself so I'll wax poetic about these kids then, but suffice to say: I worked them like DOGS and they are STILL committed and passionate about this show. There's also Stephanie Plaitin who crewed in the summer and tipped us off to FIGMENT and is also my big ole Canadian cheerleader. (And when I say 'big' I mean big of heart because physically she is wee to the power of WEE.) And then there's Tiffani Joy Butler who crewed in the fall come rain and sleet and snow. Brave lady. Fabulous hair.
And finally, I give you Julie 'Howitzer' Threlkeld. When I think about how important this lady is to me now and how I found her by Googling 'Brooklyn women runners' and randomly contacting her through her blog and how lucky I am that she didn't think I was a creepy Internet stalker, I get down on my knees and thank the great magical order of the Universe. She's ENDURE's Associate Producer, Chief Do-er and a wicked writer and storyteller. And that's just in her spare time.
Song: 'Dead Hearts' by Stars.
Mile #5: Anonymous Contributor #4
This time, I thought about you. And me. And how we are each of us the biggest contributors to our dreams. In the middle of the Dark & Lonelies, when no one knows what you're working towards and how hard you're working for it, you are the most important, most anonymous contributor there is. This mile was in honour of you. Your effort, your belief, your silent, unseen trials.
This mile was dedicated to the point in the process where you have yet to see results. Where you have no tangible, outward reason to believe this thing will fly or that you can actually pull it off. The point at which it's all still impossible, but you are driven by that thing that kept telling you to do this, whispering to you, tugging at you until you took that first step that led to another step and another until now, here you are in the thick and the mess and the unknown of it with no idea how you got this far in or how you'll ever get yourself out.
I ran this mile for you. That you will wake up tomorrow and do one thing to move forward. One thing. Not a million things, not everything. Just one. And doing that one thing will give you the strength to do the next thing and keep holding this vision of yourself and your life that is magical. Wonderful. Impossible.
Song: 'Weighty Ghost' by Wintersleep. A repeat, I know, but a good working song.