Hi friends & followers,
We are only six days from the gun as I write this. Per my last post, I’m well into the maranoia stage of race prep now, and checking the weather for May 28 about 14 times a day. I’m also trying really hard to avoid people in general, and germs in particular. But that comes with the territory.
I wanted to use my last pre-marathon post to thank the wonderful friends and family I have, for their support and generosity as I trained for the race and at the same time raised funds for a very worth cause, the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.
First, some personal thank-yous:
- Thanks to my “Sunday Run Club” friends, who have trained with me throughout the cold, dark and unforgiving Ottawa winter. Running in the cold, dark and barren Ottawa winter is not something that comes easily or naturally. In particular, thanks to Cathy Christenson and Melissa Bindner (who are my fundraising teammates on Tracy’s Trotters), as well as to Jane Spiteri and Dennis Jackson (who were always available to keep our spirits up and keep us grounded). And Jane – thanks for hosting those Sunday bitchfests, after our long runs! Also thanks to Brent Smyth – who, while not joining us on our long runs (as he is prepping for his first Ironman!), lent his support from the virtual sidelines with encouraging texts, Facebook posts etc.
A special shout-out to my running twin, Sandy MacLeod. Sandy is a fellow ginger, and someone who happens to be perfectly matched to me in terms of distance and pace. We also share the same fave author/novel (John Irving/a Prayer for Owen Meany), and recently discovered that we have a mutual friend who lives in Toronto (life’s funny that way). We’ve logged a lot of kilometres this winter … and in the summer and fall of 2016, as well (we both ran in the Scotiabank event last October). Sandy: thanks for the company, the conversation (read: listening to me go on and on), and the post-run COFFEE. (And one of these days, your dog is going to decide that I’m OK!).
- Thanks to my running coach, Rick Hellard – I’ve known Rick for 6 years now, and he has coached me through numerous half- and full-marathon efforts. I love Rick’s energy and no-BS approach to training (basically: show up, do the work, no shortcuts, no excuses). Rick kept me on plan (well, as best as can be when I travel every second week!) and was there whenever the injuries and doubts started to surface.
- Finally, and most important: a huge thank-you and I-love-you to my wife and son, Bonnie Peebles and Reid Shouldice. Every week, I disappear for several hours to get my runs in. And after my Sunday long run, I disappear again in the afternoon, for a nap. You’ve not said much about all of this, but I know that sometimes it’s not ideal to have me absent (although often, it’s perhaps a godsend!). You never heap on the guilt for my absences, or shut me up when I go on and on about long runs, intervals, splits, ignorant drivers/cyclists, weather, or my aches & pains (which have been on the increase this time around). And I know you will be there for me next Sunday, both during and after the race (an aside: Reid is running the half on Sunday – good luck, Reid! At least this year you won’t be running it on a broken leg – true story).
Second, some thank-yous to my fundraising sponsors. I set out with a lofty goal for this race. Seeing it is Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, I decided to try to raise $2017 for the Royal. But I didn’t have time to do any sort of event-based fundraising, so I needed this time to rely solely on friends, colleagues and family. And did they ever come through: as of the time of this post, I’ve raised $2104, exceeding my goal.
So thank you to the following amazing people … when I see this list, it’s an amazing testimonial to how fortunate I am:
- Pete & Jill
- Stephen & Tara
- Bill & Kristy
- Lee & Carol
- The gang from Forrester
Each and every one of you will be on my mind on Sunday as I progress through the 42.2km course. You will ESPECIALLY be on my mind as I hit the wall somewhere in the 35-37k zone, and undoubtedly ask myself, “why the f*** am I doing this?” You – and the Royal – make it all worthwhile. (BTW – it’s not too late if you are interesting in supporting the Royal – just click here to make a difference!).
Finally, a profound, life-long and heartfelt thank-you to Helen O’Brien (nee Murphy). As some of you know, Helen was a very close family friend, like a second mother to me and my two brothers when we were young, and like a younger sister to my Mom and Dad (both of whom were only children). Helen was always a presence in our lives (even when thousands of kilometres separated our families), and she devoted her entire career to the Royal. Sadly, we lost Helen last fall to cancer. I last visited with her early last summer, and while at the time she knew that her prognosis was not good, she was at peace with her fate and somehow still retained the genuine and positive energy that she always had when we saw her. She had a couple of good visits with Reid, as well, which I am thankful for – spreading her energy to another generation of Shouldices.
Murfff – this one’s for you.