Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pivotal Posting

This has been a big, huge weekend for me, on all levels. I physically pushed it, I mentally prepared, and emotionally I rode the roller coaster and found peace. I don't want to be all cheesy, but it's hard not to be about everything that this weekend has meant to me, so you're just going to have to grin and bare it. Well, or stop reading, but how much fun would that be?

On Saturday, I did the Colour Vibe 5K event with my kids and a big group of supportive friends. It was a rainy, cold day but we made the best of it any way, laughing and dancing while we waited to get started. The atmosphere at the event was FANTASTIC! People were really friendly, saying hello, dancing with us, wishing us good luck. When my youngest and I ran by some groups, they high-fived her and said she was doing awesome. It was just a general "feel good" kind of run. My eldest sped ahead with friends, not having trained at all, and didn't walk once. My youngest did her best, but as she's also a bit OCD, was concerned about the powder going in her face, and specifically her mouth. That's Momma's little worrier! We did some walk/running and ran into the finish! I saw a bunch of people I knew coming in as we waited for our friends, about 5 minutes after we had arrived and already did some celebrating! Yes, we danced some more! All in all, it was just a great, great time.

After the event though, we had to make our way downtown to pick up our Army Race kits! I got the kids changed into dry clothes at the van, but didn't feel like peeling off my own so publicly! I took off my white shirt and threw my hoodie on top. Needless to say, I was chilled to the bone and soaking wet. We also got some interesting looks downtown, and even questions as to why we were covered in colour!

That night, I got prepared once again to run today! I packed my bag, laid out my clothes and tried to get to bed early for my Army Run 5K today. Umm, not so much. I fell asleep about 12:30am and had to be up for 5:30am! I also tossed and turned and looked at the clock a bazillion times! Needless to say, I was not well rested for today! I was, however, VERY excited.

I've been training for this run for about a solid, dedicated month now, maybe a little more. I've got my running to 45+minutes straight without walking and I have a good (slower!) pace going. I've done over 5K many times and feel comfortable doing more. I wasn't worried about that, really, but more about all the variables!

Once down at the event, I'm not going to lie, the waterworks started! I got teary watching the injured soldiers start the run. I got emotional hearing the National Anthem! Once the cannon went off, we started walking up to the Start line. The chip doesn't start measuring your time until you cross the Start, even though the race started several minutes before that! Hence why the two times : the "chip" time, and then the other time, with the chip being the accurate of the two.

I started running and realized my pace was too fast, faster than I normally go. I was worried about burning out but figured the adrenaline was pumping so I'd just go with it. I had a whole play list set up, but I ended up just playing my 10 or so power songs over and over again. It literally kept me going! I tried to keep my pace steady, even if it was a bit faster than normal and saved my tank of energy til the last kilometer. I pushed at the end but didn't sprint. My app showed me hitting the 5k mark at 32 minutes and 40 something seconds but the course was actually 5.25k and I finished by my chip at 35:12. My goal was 35 minutes so either of those times is A-OK with me!

The group I've been running with is SO uber positive and supportive and encouraging. I started my day with a ton of emails and texts and FB messages and Tweets-all giving me inspiration and belief in myself and my abilities. It's a great group of people, and I feel really lucky to have met them. We met at the end all together, full of high fives and kudos. I was literally riding Cloud 9.

Now here comes the cheese.

The whole event seemed kind of surreal to me, like I was present but sort of "out of body" as well. When I got home, I literally burst into tears that I'd been holding in since the anthem! This was a really, really big weekend for me.

One of my marathon friends (like,she does big, scary REAL marathons!) had told me that if I could run a 5k on Saturday, and another on Sunday, I could totally do a 10k. I'm not really sure that I could, yet, but I'm definitely in for giving it my all. So, next scary thing to tackle? A 10k, no walking.

The other reason this was emotional for me was because, and I wouldn't trade this for a second but, for years now I've been all about my kids. I've been centering my life and my routines and my energy around them. This year, I've started to really try and take some time for ME. I've started to look at activities that interest ME. I've taken time out of our schedules just to spend doing things that make me energized or happy. That might seem silly or obvious to many, but it hasn't been easy for me to take that time without considerable guilt. I started a Bucket List this year of activities I'd enjoy trying so that I'll actually get out there and DO them!( I'm a list maker and like checking things off!) I feel, in a way, like I've been living life on the sidelines, watching it all go by while others run and jump and play and seek interests. I've leaped back into life, and I'm pursuing it with gusto! I felt emotional today because I was OUT THERE, doing this thing! I set myself a goal, I pushed through the mind  games and scheduling and rain and difficult runs, and I did it. I MADE myself do it. I achieved the goal I had set, not for anyone else, not for bragging rights, not for glory....for MYSELF.

While I was listening to power song #3 for the umpteenth time, surrounded by SUCH positivity and inspiration-soldiers with one leg, on crutches, in wheelchairs....I started to think about other things in my life that need changing and need to be released because I just can't let them tie me down any more.

I'm doing so much to try and be positive and to live a full life for myself, and for my family. I've wrestled with myself mentally and physically and continue to astound myself with what I can accomplish and how I'm putting myself out there. I'm overcoming fears and walls that I've erected. My intentions are pure, and I just keep on the path, seeking to find some inner peace.

This year is about facing things head on and entering the next phase of my life with a happier, lighter, more content and well rounded heart and spirit.

I intend on pursuing, and conquering, all of my goals. Today was affirmation that nothing can stop me from doing so. It's not for my kids, not for my husband, not for my friends, not for my enemies that hope to see me fail.

This year is for me. As my friend Claire so aptly said, "The Year of Tracey."

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Best Week EVER!

This has been a whole week of  birthday, and who am I to complain? 

It started off with the Madonna concert and dinner with my friends. The Madonna concert itself was kinda weird. I wanted more old skool songs and to be able to dance and sing out loud, and this was more dark, violent kind of songs and imagery. Not all of it, mind. I just didn't find it enough of the fun. That said, I doubt I'll ever see Madonna in concert again, so it was a once in a lifetime opportunity-especially at the cost! (and we didn't even spend as much as others!) The greatest part of the night? Obviously, seeing my friends. I love hanging out with them, it's always interesting and silly. They've always had my back and sharing our lives for as long as we have, you can just be your crazy self and they get it. I can't imagine starting off my year in any better way than with them.

The next night, my friend Claire and I went to see Celtic Thunder. I've been a fan as long as they've been around, it seems, but seeing them perform has never happened for some reason. When they last toured, I was in the middle of a move. The time before that as well I think. I've watched all their specials and dvd's, I have CD's, I youtube on the regular...well, you get the point. I may or may not also have a gigantic, 15 year old girl crush on Ryan Kelly.

Claire and I were literally giddy as the concert started. This was Claire's gift to me, which is typical Claire. She's just that awesome and I can't say it enough. There is not another person that I would have liked to be at that concert with, because Claire is just as crazy as me, in a more subdued way. As the lights dimmed and the music started, I swear I got teary. What the? The show was great from start to finish, singing along, hooting and hollering (okay, that might have been all me) and basically crushing on Mr. Kelly and the rest of the boys-from the THIRD ROW!

After the concert, Claire and I decided we'd see if we could stalk,  I mean FIND, the tour bus and get an autograph. I'm not a nut case fan, but I'd seen online that many, many fans meet them afterwards, so I knew it wouldn't be *too* out of the norm. As we drove out from the underground parking, we saw the buses. We parked on the side of the road and freaked out for about 5 minutes. I kid you not. We decided to walk over to the bus area and see if anyone was around.

Let me preface this by stating-if you see your crush signing autographs and taking pictures, you MIGHT want to stop, take a breather, and compose yourself before rushing over talking a mile a minute and shaking like a leaf. Oh, my, I embarrass myself. Sigh. I spewed something out about the autograph not being for me, haha, no really....and told him I was happy he was healthy and back (he'd been in hospital in a coma over the summer!) and then...I have no idea what happened. We took a pic together and I died. I was sorta floating outside of my body somewhere. I wish I was joking here.

I look so calm here, no? Don't we look cute together though? No, really!

We got to meet some of the other members (Keith, Emmet, Neil) but I was FREAKING OUT for hours and hours about meeting Ryan. Okay, I'm lying. It was like days. It took some time to come out of my fog like insanity, but I'm back to normal life and not dreaming about what our children would look like. HA! That's not crazy talk at ALL. Nope. 

That was a fantastic, awesome night and I'm pretty sure Claire and I will do it all again sometime. Maybe I'll be more smooth next time. (doubtful) The thing I love about Claire, well one thing, is that she's open to all of these kinds of silly, crazy adventures. I call her my soul sista because we can talk seriously, we can cry, we can lean on each other, but we also do hilarious things that make memories that I'll never forget.

My friends mean the world to me, and while I can't always pay them back with cool concerts and dinners, I always make sure to let them know how much they mean to me, and they know that I'm always here for them, no matter what. 

This is like the longest blog post ever, no? 

My niece took me out on Friday and we had pedicures while we sipped my first Pumpkin Spice latte of the season. We did a little shopping and a little lunching. All in all-my birthday celebrations spread out into a week long event. I can't complain about that!

Somewhere in between the rock star late nights, lack of sleep and booze consumption, I managed Insanity workouts (Month 2 restart from where I left off!) and three 5k runs, one in the pouring rain. I'm pretty happy to report that I no longer have to do walking intervals and just run the 5k (and more!) without stopping. I've also made it in under 35 minutes. I'm not sure how it will be on race day (I've heard not to count on a fast pace because there are SO many people) but either way I'm feeling stoked.  When I run now, I'm not out of breath, I can chat the whole way, I sprint the last 1/2 mile. I just feel in the zone. 

As you can probably tell, I had an AMAZING start to this new year. I have so much on the go and so much to look forward to that I can't wait to just keep going. Not every week might look like this week, and a little emotional rain may fall, but I feel happier, stronger and more at peace with myself than I ever have before. 

I've got a lot of plans for the future, and it's just up to me now to make them happen.

Monday, September 10, 2012

365 Days To 40

It was my birthday yesterday, and I started the year off on exactly the note I had hoped for, wished for and planned.

I started the day with my longest run to date; 6.2km. My husband came with me, which I love. He doesn't like to chat while we run, but there might have been several booty slaps for encouragement. He did 2 miles and then took the route home while I continued on running. Of the 43 minutes I ran, I only walked 2 minutes, after the first 15 minute mark. I again watched my speed, trying to stay in the 11mph range. I felt awesome!

My daughters had made me beautiful artwork and jewellery and my husband also made me a personal gift. My sister and her family brought me a beautiful pink flower which I love! It brings such colour to my mostly white decor!

My Mom came over in the afternoon with her gift to me. She had prepared a whole feast for our family! My favourite: ribs! We also had rice and green and yellow beans and she had made my Granny's chili relish. We topped it off with some bumbleberry crumble. I still have TONS of leftovers too! Mmm mmmm!

The birthday celebrations continue for me all week with the Madonna concert tonight with some of my favourite best gals, tomorrow night I see Celtic Thunder with my soul sista, and another day I'm headed for a pedicure and coffee with my niece. I also have my women's running club Thursday night, which I consider a sort of gift to myself.

Here's the plan for the year, though. I haven't quite got the blog set up as I'd like yet (cause I'm a technological idiot!) but here's what I'm hoping you'll see for the year ahead. Starting RIGHT NOW, this month, and forward for the next 11 months right up to that magical 4-0 birthday, I'll be doing something new every month. Each month I'm hoping to challenge myself with a new task. That could be a new physical challenge, it could be emotional, it could be intellectual, or it might be philanthropic. The idea is that for the next year, I'm approaching 40 with a slew of firsts and dares under my belt. I want to go into the next forty feeling like the best me I possibly can-and what better way than to tackle as many Bucket List, wishes, dreams or fears as I can? I'm hoping to have headings under which I'll write what I'm endeavouring that month so it'll be easier to find. That's in the works and I hope to have it ready in the next week or so.

So, let's jump in right away, shall we?

September I will be doing an item that's been on my Bucket List forever and a day. I'll be running my first ever 5k at the Army Race. I hear it's a very inspiring run, so I think it's the perfect kick-off to this year of living fully and completely.  I warm up with the Colour Run with the fam first-which I think is also a great symbol of what I'd like this year to reflect: fun, fitness, family, friends. The Four F's.

I hope you'll all follow along on this journey with me. I hope it's inspiring to others also a little fearful of chasing their dreams, but knowing that the present is the only time to do so. NOW.

Let's do this thing!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Runnin' High

I know, ANOTHER post about running. Well, I'm floating above Cloud 9 somewhere so please just humour me!

Last night was my weekly running group and we were aiming for 5.5k. The last run I did with the group was CRAP and the run I did Monday on my own left me feeling underwhelmed.

I wore different sneakers for the run last night. I didn't eat dinner before going out. It was cooler outside than the previous steamy nights. I also promised myself I'd set my pace a bit slower and try to pace myself better.

I set my Nike App and the run began. I had to keep metering my pace. I typically naturally run around 10 something, and I was going to try to stay around 11 something pace wise. Right away, too fast. I slowed a bit. That was pretty much the refrain of the run.

I don't know what component of the above made the difference, or if it was the combination of them, but I had my BEST RUN TO DATE. I had planned on a 10:1 ratio but once I got to the 10 minute mark I still felt awesome so I kept going. By 15 minutes, I STILL felt great but decided I should probably take a minute or two to walk.

Once I started running again, I just kept going and going. I didn't feel tired, I wasn't really winded, I was still talking, no huffing and puffing. I got a small stitch in my side at one point but tried some breathing techniques and it was gone. I ran the rest of the 5.5k with no walking stops.

I finished 5k at 35 minutes (that was including my 2 minutes of walking time!) and 5.5k at 40 minutes! As we neared the end of the run, I honestly felt like I still had gas in the tank. If I had walked another minute or two, I wonder how far I could have gone?

Now, I realize not every run is going to be that good. I know some days will stink and I'll be mad at myself. But this time? I literally got back to our meeting place fist pumping myself! I was totally stoked and that feeling remained all night.

In fact, when I woke up this morning, I was still smiling thinking about it. I was also thinking about the possibility of me doing a 10k at some point.

ME! A 10K!

Next week we do 5.5k again, and then we move up to 6k. I'm so excited about it, I feel like going out right now and trying!

That running bug is BACK!!!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Monday, Busy Monday...(sung to the tune of Bloody Sunday)

I almost wrote Sunday up above, which would have gone much better with the U2 song now stuck in my head. Hey, it FELT like a Sunday, so it's all good.

I preface this post by once again reiterating that I'm a huge keener, like order and routine, and love me a task  list like nobodies business.

I made a plan last night as I lay in bed of what my day would look like today and all that I wanted to accomplish. As I got up this morning, that plan seemed a lot less appealing, but get 'er done I would!

My first task, before breakfast, was to lace up my runners and get a run in before it got too hot out. It wasn't horrible out, but it was still stinkin' hot at 930am. I'm not a fan of heat, as we've also discussed.  I set out on my regular 5k loop, sun beaming down and feeling pretty good. I had set my Nike app with my play list, or so I thought. A few minutes into the run I realized I had hit "shuffle" and was listening to every tune on the ipod. Yuck. I didn't want to stop running to fiddle with tunes, so I just kept hitting fast forward. Let me tell you this, good music makes a HUGE difference in motivation. Sigh. I left that crappy music go the entire run, and I'm sure I hit fast forward more than I actually listened to any songs.

The first 15 mins of solid running were good. I had to keep slowing my pace because my tendency is to go faster and burn out sooner. It's not as easy as it seems to not run your "normal" pace! My body wanted to MOVE. My plan was run 15, walk 1-2, run 15 minutes. When I got to the walk part, I was ready for some walking! A minute went by and I felt like I hadn't walked at all, so I allowed another minute and then started running again. Somewhere in this second 15 I totally lost the motivation to run at all. My head was like, "meh, just go home. I'm not feeling it."  Of course I didn't. I kept on trucking. I definitely had to watch my speed, play with stupid music, and then did more walk/running than I wanted but finished 5k at 37 minutes. I totally could have done it much faster-my head just wasn't in the game today. Needless to say, it was an okay run but not my best and I was glad to get it done.

I came home, had a lovely breakfast and coffee on the deck, just sitting in the sunshine. It felt wonderful to just enjoy-but I'm not going to lie. I'm an Autumn girl and I'm ready for some cooler temps!

The next plan was putting laundry away, unloading and reloading the dishwasher and then doing a ton of baking for the next two weeks!

I'm trying not to buy baked goods like cookies and granola bars for my kids any more. The last few months of school and now starting back today, I take some time on the weekend to bake up the next week's batches of goodies.  Today was granola bars, chocolate chip cookies, a pumpkin spice cake with pumpkin spice icing, and a baked pumpkin oatmeal for quick breakfasts. I also had muffins in my plans but I decided to wait til next weekend to do those, once I see how long all of this stuff lasts!

I literally was on my feet from about 1pm to 530pm mixing, blending and baking. The plans for cleaning the house went out the window at that point-though my husband did vacuum! Phew! The cleaning will have to wait til later on in the week!

I then made dinner, tidied up, did my daughter's shower, got school bags and supplies all ready and labelled, and made lunches.

I'm totally exhausted and I know the week is going to be more of the same as we all adjust to this routine again! I always find the first week is a bit of a mess with everyone tired and out of sorts and with a hundred school notes and demands for $ !

I'm watching my friends 4 year old son for the next two days as well! I haven't had a son, and I haven't had a boy that age in my care in quite a few years! I imagine we'll have a blast-but I also can bet I'll be super sleepy come bedtime tomorrow! :)

I hope you all had a great long weekend, and  I hope the days ahead are full of great "firsts!"