Hey everyone. Well, it’s with a somber spirit and tired body that I check in on the blog today from Calgary where extensive flooding has occurred in the last 2 days and where more than 25 communities have had mandatory evacuations – including ours. It’s been a whirlwind of a few days and I’ve barely slept since Wednesday night (trained a full day Thursday, was told I couldn’t go back to our place Thursday evening, was picked up by my husband and visiting mom from the airport and then up all night waiting for the more “official” evacuation notice that came about 3:45 am Friday morning.
(Dinner in our place at about 9 pm when we decided to stay the night and check things out at 2 am just in case, so happy to be together!)
There are so many people affected by this incredible storm right now throughout the province of Alberta – a storm in which 75,000 people had to leave their homes and where we received the same amount of rain in 30 hours as we normally do in 30 days. Hard to believe that so many lives has changed so quickly; thankfully, we live on the third floor and our stuff should be fine but we won’t be back in our apartment until Monday, most likely.
It happened so fast – I didn’t really believe the water would come up to our bone-dry street when I glanced out the window at 2:30 am early this morning. Soon thereafter, water was flowing down the gutter and not much later it was lapping at the curb. By the time we each packed a bag and got downstairs, we were wading through the water to the outside and watched the water gushing into the basement.
Mikey got 2 bikes (mine and the one we’d borrowed for my mom for the weekend) to the first floor but sadly, his bike – the second in from the front – got stuck down there.
We drove around town for quite a while, snapping pictures and exploring town as things slowly started to escalate.
After exploring the city and looking down over the Bow and Elbow River, we went to Mikey’s parents’ place at around 6 am. We made coffee (priorities, people!) 😉 and flipped on the news until Maurice and Muriel came downstairs and greeted us with hugs, questions and generosity of all kinds. This is all we took (mainly marathon clothes and running shoes as my only thought was: “Be prepared for Sunday!”):
Unfortunately, the Banff Marathon – what was to be my first full marathon – has been cancelled. After hearing how the highway washed away almost immediately in sections on the way to Banff in Canmore, Alberta, I wasn’t surprised. However, race officials were trying their best to manage something they’d planned 3 years for while also keeping in the mind the devastation to local communities and road closures. Check out this picture of Carrot Creek between Canmore and Banff:
I held my breath a bit and was still eating well and hydrating a ton, hoping there might be a chance that the race would go on. But part of me felt conflicted – how could I run when so many people are without a home and evacuated with homes that are completely under water? But I was still saddened when I read the email:
But you know what’s neat? The race officials urged volunteers to put the time they would have from the race into the relief efforts in Canmore. All the Power Bars and Gatorade were donated to the Town of Banff Emergency Services Center and Town of Canmore Emergency Operations Center. I am proud to be part of this running community and think the decision was a good one (although tough, I’m sure) to make. And now that it’s sunk in that it’s not happening, I feel this weird sense of defeat before I started – like, “Well, I couldn’ t have done it anyways.” As weird as that might sound, it’s the truth! I feel like it was a dream and the reality of having lined up at the start with my GU’s and new Spi Belt and outfit picked out just doesn’t seem real. I’m not sure what my future plans will be or if I will find another marathon soon because we are going away for a total of 3 weeks off and on this summer starting in 2 weeks, but if that changes I will surely let you know.
[Thanks to all your support about my training over these last 11 weeks! Also, a huge thank you to my friend Anna, who, although she’s in Thailand teaching right now, had a bouquet of beautiful flowers sent to me with an encouraging card cheering me on this marathon weekend! Amazingly thoughtful.]
My in-laws have been super kind, encouraging and hospitable to us as we’ve kind of taken over their weekend with meals at their home, showers and various naps throughout the day. My mom has had the best attitude and her FIRST response has been gratitude and thankfulness to God – what a testimony to me in this time. I sure love her. 🙂 Moreover, they’ve helped us talk through things and were there when the next surprise happened: we got rear-ended. While trying to get out of the house and move around the safe areas of the city, we were on our way to a cheap theater and got hit from behind.
We were all okay, although our car was totalled (the back is fully crunched, the trunk barely opens and the back seats were pushed forward). Mikey’s neck is pretty stiff, I didn’t feel much but notice my low back only slightly now and my mom, who is the back seat, got crunched pretty hard… I was most nervous and emotional about her, and while she’s okay, it still shook me up pretty good. The guy who hit us lives in High River, a town that got hit the hardest, and was also in the hospital with his wife and baby girl all night. He was so apologetic and kind and these things happen – everyone is going through a lot this weekend.
So now we’re taking it easy at the in-laws’ house and essentially doing this while we ride this storm out:
We’ll see what else transpires this weekend, but I can confidently say that despite the confusion, the tears and tiredness, the sadness and destruction, God is in control. Who could have thought that this weekend where my mom planned to visit for the marathon in the mountains and then all.of.this happens?! Hard to believe but I am so thankful for our health, that our place on the third floor is safe and that I get to share this experience in life. I know that God is in the tough places. He meets us there in our pain and confusion and although I don’t believe he always CAUSES those events, I do believe he is sovereign, loving and good and I see his faithfulness already in this time.
Who knows what this will mean and how we will be impacted – it will certainly be a process that requires patience for Calgary as a city, community and individuals but we will move forward from here. Grateful we’re safe tonight, have a bed to sleep in and can rest in the hope that God is greater than these circumstances.
Live well & be well – in the midst of everything!