Sunday, September 22, 2013

Always look for the leopard print shoes

It's been a bad day. Don't get me wrong, not a devastating Armageddon, WW III or even terrible news at the doctor's office kind of bad day but a rotten day just the same. More of a stub your toe, ran out of toothpaste, forgot to get cat food, spilled tea on your new shirt, CRA wants to do a tax-audit, flat tire, speeding ticket, a virus erased all your financial records on your hard drive, Outlook locked you out of your email until you remember the name of your great grandmother's second grade teacher, your electricity is cut off because you forgot to pay the bill on time, the “check engine” light is flashing, your dog got sprayed by a skunk and the toilet overflowed and wrecked the ceiling drywall in the basement kind of day. This may be hyperbole, but sadly only slightly so. There were more ups and down in my day than a Canada Wonderland roller coaster.

Unfortunately this trend has also extended to my running. Instead of a bad day, it has been more of a bad year running-wise. Injury, a tumble on the ice, weather, distractions and flailing commitment has blown me off course. This was never more apparent than a couple of weeks ago. Tim Horton's must be right because apparently I “always have time for Tim Horton's”--especially slap dab in the middle of what was supposed to be a 16 km run.

Instead of completing the run, I bailed, trading in strides and sweat for a cozy steeped tea and bagel, sending Karen and Jan to go tell my ride to come back and pick me up at the fast food joint. Why do 16 when you can stop at 10 and drink tea?

It's funny how it sometimes seems easier to handle the large, catastrophic events in our life, yet the little, niggling irritants can throw us into a spiral of unbelievable discord. Luckily, the unexpected surprises are what can also pull us back up. It can be a just as small, and seemingly insignificant event to turn things around.

It was one such event that snapped me back into consciousness from my coma of sheer misery. While awaiting my grandson's dismissal from school, a parent waltzed by who caught my attention. I was sitting on the curb so I was at about knee level as she passed me.

Wrapped in sunglasses and full jihab, exposing only her face, this demure mother walked on. You might not have been able to see her face, but you certainly could see her soul. She wore it in her feet. From the top of her head to the bottom of her legs, she belonged to Allah, but from the ankle down she was all infidel, baby. Her leopard print, diamond-studded, 10 inch cork platform high heels rivalled anything the Bee Gees ever wore. There was more bling on her shoes than at a Eminem concert. Her bright red toe nails would make for a great poster board on the red light district of Amsterdam. I guess if that's all you are allowed to show, you might as well flaunt it. Although, technically, she was probably following the rules, I'm not sure the spirit of the law was being observed. Those feet were were so unexpected, so in contrast with the rest of her that it made me smile. I couldn't help it.

It is those unexpected, wonderful miracles that add the spice and texture to our lives. They can lift us from the worst pain and agony in a milli-second. All we need to do is notice them.

Lyndsay is running a marathon very soon in Prince Edward County and Karen and Jan are representing Team Fox at the New York City Marathon this year. (If you want to learn more, check out Karen's blog at Since I am not running far and certainly not racing this year, I want to send along a recommendation to Lyndsay, Karen and Jan—enjoy the unexpected that shows up. Find those surprising moments, the moments that can pick you up, knock you out of a daze and push you into sheer joy—find your version of the diamond-studded, leopard print, platform shoes in a jihab--and I'll be eagerly waiting to hear all about it!

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