Morning Hikes

Christine Fichtner grouse mountain

Morning hikes are wonderful. The misty air, cool and refreshing. The solitude, the serenity of a slowly waking forest. Mysterious and beautiful.

It’s Worth it.

Christine Fichtner Seawall

Spring means gorgeous weather, which means I can finally spend time outside.

The Seawall is a gorgeous place to go jogging. There are two in Vancouver, one along each side of the inlet. I go to the one closer to my house, of course, and get this amazing view as a reward.

It’s nice to jog in areas full of fellow runners and casual walkers. The clear skies always bring forth smiles. The numerous adorable dogs help, too. One day I’ll have a dog to walk every morning. One day.

So though the whole time I’m jogging it hurts and I’m questioning why I decided to torture myself like this… all I have to do is look out to the ocean and realize just how worth it it is.

Said the Tortoise

Grouse Grind

My muscles strain as I force myself over another large boulder. I grasp the root ahead of me for balance. I can feel my legs burning, my lungs on fire. Still I push on, eyes fixed in front of me. Only the sound of my own harsh breathing reaches my ears.

My old record is taunting me, laughing at each pained step I take. I nearly growl as I urge myself to go faster. I can rest when I reach the top.

Five minutes and I’ll be there.

I manage to pass a fellow hiker. Then someone passes me. I can see the light between the trees, a beacon of accomplishment. Almost there.

One more minute. One last turn.

I see a man standing at the side of the trail, stance relaxed, waiting, perhaps stopping to catch his breath.

“Don’t stop now!” I pant, encouraging. “the top is right there!”

He glances at me and smiles. “why rush,” He replies. “It is good to just be here.” A thick Italian accent lilts his words.

My steps falter, and my eyes stray sideways. Vivid greens and browns greet my eyes, and the freshness of the mountain air pervades my nose.

Don’t we sometimes get so caught up in what we’re doing that we forget the beauty around us? Competition and goals are important, but so is enjoying yourself. To try and find joy in whatever you are doing.

Why is Taekwondo so awesome?

So I went to this Taekwondo demonstration that blew my mind. It was a great reminder of why I love this martial art so much.

She's actually a celebrity actress

She’s actually a celebrity actress

It’s not the first demo that I’ve watched, having seen others on video and youtube, but it’s the first live demo in Korea that I’ve seen. And it was amazing.

The discipline, control, and coordination was mind blowing. The precision, the skill, and the creativity too. They mixed a lot of hiphop in the TaekwonDance. Made for a very entertaining show.

They also did a number that commented on school bullying and violence. It was really well done.

One guy sang (really well) while kicking, spinning, jumping, and flipping. And he wore a sparkly uniform too. How awesome is that?

This demo made me both jealous and determined at the same time.

I have participated in demonstrations before, but nothing of this calibre. Demo teams in Canada pale in comparison to the ones here.

If you ever have the chance to watch a Taekwondo demonstration in Korea, definitely do it.

I may never participate in something so amazing, but I can train as if I will.

A Challenge from the Sky

The only time you ever jog is when the sky starts beating its fists against the pavement and then, inevitably, your face. The harsh smack of each drop against your skin is soothing, meditative, barely rhythmic. It beats to the pounding of your feet, it mimicks your heart. It’s almost as effective as a handy waterfall.

You’re soaked the minute you step outside. Your clothes cling to your body in dissent, and only concede in the safety and warmth of your room.

Your hair is distressed, drenched, limp. It nudges your eye, but you dismiss its complaint with a flick of your head. Droplets charge the rain ahead of you, but are soon overwhelmed and beaten down. You hope that you don’t succumb to the same fate.

There’s a burning sensation, caused by your harsh, desperate attempts to breathe. Sometimes a sympathetic droplet will land in your mouth, a willing sacrifice to soothe the anger of your throat. Your body is starting to show its resentment towards your choices.

Your legs are next to feel the flames of effort and exertion. They throb and groan in disapproval. They gnaw on your knees and hammer at your ankles. But you don’t listen because you know that they have always had weak judgement of what was good and what was not. Sometimes you consider heeding their advice, but in the end you can never resist the challenge that the sky spits down.

Your whole body begins to weep. Tears of pain make their slow pilgrimage downwards, towards the end of their existence.

For you are only human, you are limited, and you can only carry so much weight before you begin to protest. With every motion, you strike at the rain, then retreat again in defeat. And tears are torn from you with each stroke.