Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Run A Half Marathon? CHECK!

It all led up to the moment I've been training for, been talking about incessantly, been stressing over, been spending my Sundays working hard and then recovering afterwards for, yep, the half marathon!


But, I'm being a lot more enthusiastic than I was after the race, or even today. Sometimes, my competitive nature and perfectionism do NOT do me many favours.

To start at the beginning, however, we need to go back a few days.

My friend Tania flew in from Washington State to run my first half marathon with me. Seriously! Who does that, right? Yes, she did. She's run several, and marathons, and does Crossfit and Hot Yoga and all of that kinda stuff, so she was just coming to run with me for running with me's sake.

The days leading up to the half were kind of a hot mess. I was anxious and stressed and moody. I felt like I hadn't been resting enough or drinking enough. I had run a half distance previously during my training, with a finish time of 2:32 and change, so I knew I could get the distance. That part, ironically, didn't phase me. However, because I'm a crazy person who believes in putting undue pressure on myself, I'd decided in my warped mind that I wanted to finish under 2:30 "officially" but secretly, I was hoping for around 2:15. Yes, if you do the math, that meant I'd have to shave off like 45 seconds per km. Tania asked me for my REAL goal, and when I told her, she paused and said, "that's.....aggressive."  Yes, that about sums me up. Almost kill yourself or go home!

As we stood in the corral, taking a few pictures and shaking out some raw nerves, I felt pretty confident. Trust me, that confidence did not last very long.

The cannon sounded and we were off! My mouth, for some reason, was already dry. I had thought I'd hydrated enough the days before, so I'm not sure what that was about, but I was aware of it from the get go. As we began running, immediately there was a hill. I figured that would be the only one I'd see until we hit the residential Rockliffe Park area, but I was horribly, horribly wrong.

We passed the Parliament buildings, and headed down the Parkway. At this point, you travelled down to a turn around, and then back up towards the bridge to Hull. How did I not know that the Parkway is chock a block FULL of rolling hills? Holy moly. Did I mention previously that I did most of my hill training on the treadmill and CLEARLY not enough of it? I was totally staying on pace, however, and even going faster (I know, a big no no!) several times where Tania would tell me to slow it down. I was well ahead of the 2:20 pace bunny and feeling pretty good except for the stupid @#&*!!! hills! We got up near the bridge and it was already 7k and time for fuel. I always walk 30 seconds or so to have my GU and drink some water with Nuun. I did so, as I had in training, but then we noticed the 2:20 pace bunny was right on our heels and there was no way I wanted to get behind him! Tania said "Let's sprint!" so we did, hitting 5:40 on my Garmin. From there, I was back on pace and while not feeling awesome, I wasn't feeling horrific either. I was hoping the hills were DONE but nope, they continued for awhile longer-it felt like until we hit the final 5k up the Canal! As we passed the 10k mark on the bridge back to Ottawa, I saw that my time was 1:04 and change. DUDES! I'd done my fastest 10k time! That 10k was hard won, though. I'm "known" for my consistent pace. My friends joke that they could set their watches by my pace. This race did NOT look like that. I was pushing myself hard to go faster than I ever had in training, and I was speeding up and slowing down repeatedly. Ya, not my brightest moment.

I knew that one of my "tough" parts of the run was coming up as I neared that 11k mark. I figured I'd just push on and told myself in my head that 14k was soon and I could get my next GU, which would give me some energy! We were also nearing the Art Gallery, which was lined with people cheering and clapping. I can't remember now if I walked a bit here, but I was starting to feel all of that pushing and back and forth speed/slower hitting me. When I say hitting me, I don't really mean physically. I felt tired, for sure, but the real problem was my mental game.

I made it to 14k to have my GU and walk break, and my head was a jumble of negative self talk. I felt like I couldn't do it anymore, like I wouldn't make it, and I kept repeating "NEVER AGAIN!" in my head. That said, I finished fueling and started running again, albeit slower paced now. Tania asked me if I was okay and I said, "Not at all."  She said I looked okay, and was I just an Emmy award winning actress? My reply, "YES!"  Here's where it got really ugly, folks. I was super fried emotionally and mentally. My head was telling me just to walk the stupid thing into the finish, but my stubborn nature wouldn't let me give up that easily!

Tania was chatting off and on throughout the race, and I'd told her before hand that my style is usually to be very chatty, light, laughing and joking the whole time. That was not at ALL the case the entire half. At one point I told her I was just trying to focus, which was true, but it was also because I was trying to just hold myself together.

I hate, hate, hate walking during a run. I'm not sure what my big "deal" is about it, but I find it.....weak. Not for others or anything-I'm not a total jackass, but like I said....I put a lot of pressure on myself. Pressure I wouldn't ever expect to put on anyone else. Sigh. So when I hit 16k and I felt like I just could NOT go on another step, I told Tania I had to walk. She tried to encourage and reassure me, "There's just 5k left! You got this! What's 30 minutes??" At that point though, 2 minutes felt too long! I wasn't sure how I was going to hold it together to even make it. I lost my mind, people. I truly started spinning out of control in my head and I yelled at Tania that I was DONE, okay??? DONE!!!!!!

Somehow, I managed to smack myself across the face, internally, and started running again. Ya, I was not a happy camper. My thought was that I'd just get to 18k and have another GU. That would help me get to 19k where my friend Jay would be waiting at a cheer station. I knew from there, I'd see my family shortly after, and then I'd be at the finish. I literally counted down for these moments in my head and just tried to push to get to them.

I fueled and walked at 18k, the 2:20 pace bunny having passed me. Let me tell you, folks, at this point I didn't give a rat's ass when I finished, in terms of time. All of that flew out the window and my only thought was finishing this stupid, worst idea ever, event.

I started running again, and once I rounded the corner and saw Jay, it was like all of this pent up frustration and emotion and crazy came pouring out of me in a swift flood. I literally ran into her arms like someone being chased by Zombies, threw myself on her shoulder and sobbed!!! The ugly cry sob!!! Oh. My. Jay told me to "Go, go!" and I said I couldn't. I just really didn't even care.

But, go I did. I ran on, scanning the crowd for my family, frantic to hit that next mark and see them. For some reason, 20k seemed to take forever to reach, and still I didn't see my kids or husband. I started to think maybe they were just at the finish, so I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I could see the finish banner ahead, probably 500 meters or so out, and there they were! If you thought it was bad when I saw Jay, that was NOTHING compared to what happened when I saw them. I literally spent a minute sobbing over them, with my girls telling me they were so proud, and my husband and Tania telling me to "GO! The FINISH IS RIGHT THERE!" Again, I didn't really care.

I started to run, sort of in a daze, and the best part was....my girls ran right alongside of me, crossing the finish with me at 2:21:59.

I burst into a hideous amount of tears and threw myself into my husbands arms, where I kept repeating "I choked, I choked!" I KNEW that up until that final 5k, I had 2:15 firmly in my grasp. I was mad at myself for walking, I was mad at myself for "giving up." I knew if I hadn't stopped so long hugging and crying, I would have shaved off some time as well. I'd just run my first half marathon, a year to the day of running my first 5k ever, and I felt like a huge disappointment.

It was not a great feeling, to say the least.

After much sobbing, and then seeing my friends and heading to lunch, and discussing and replaying, I felt....not better, only because I was still upset with myself, but at least more composed, and happy (always happy) to be in the company of fantastic women that always manage to lift my spirits.

Tania and I went to LeNordik the following day, which was the perfect antidote to sore legs. We spent 5 hours in hot tubs and sauna's and pools. We drank B-52's and ate yummy food. My legs are still a bit stiff, and I always bloat during a race, and for a few days afterwards, but generally, I don't feel too badly.

She headed home today, and I've had some time to digest the race and be alone with my thoughts.

Being me, this means, I've been scouring the internets for "average first half race times for women" and "post race depression."  I've been devouring accounts of bloggers half marathons, and I've seen some 20 somethings that have been ECSTATIC over their 2:44 or even 3:00 finish times! Did you know the average pace for a 40 year old woman running a half is 11:15? I'm horrible with conversion from km to miles, but I was running more like 10:30. On top of which, my "finish" during my training half was 2:32, and I finished a full 10 minutes faster than that. What can I say? That can't be THAT horrible, right?

I've been kind of moping around today, my legs are still sore from pushing and I just feel generally emotionally and physically tired. I'm starting to come around, though, and I'm starting to let it sink in that I RAN A HALF MARATHON!!

I learned a lot from this run. I learned some things I shouldn't do, and I have a better understanding of what works for me. I don't know what's next for me, running wise, or even other activity wise.

Right now, I'm just glad that I did it, that I can check off the 'ol bucket list, and that, for a 40 year old lady running her first half, I didn't do "half" bad. I pushed, I persevered, I rallied when I didn't want to....and I finished.

In future, for any goal, I need to learn not to put more pressure on myself than I'd ever put on someone else. Life.....always more to learn....just like running. Let's hope it doesn't take me another 40 years to finally get this into my brain! You know, it's hard to "unlearn" stubborn.

Tania and I, above, before and after the race!

                                      My Girls. They pushed, cheered, talked down from ledges!
                                                                Finishers, ALL!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

It's My......Party?

I have a "big" birthday coming up very, very soon and the question always arises about how I plan on celebrating.  If you'd have asked me several years back what I wanted to do for my 40th, I can guarantee I would have said a huge bash with all of my friends.

Yet, the closer I got to the actual date, the more that idea didn't seem to really be "me."

Some of my friends did the whole big, surprise party thing-and it seems it never *quite* turns out how they'd hoped. There are either people left OFF of the list that they wanted there, or others ON the list they didn't really expect. There's also the other issue that a party that size, with that many friends from all walks of life, ends up feeling like a wedding where you don't really get to delve deeply into any one conversation, as you're trying to be polite and get to small talk with everyone.

I quickly vetoed that idea. I want to be able to truly connect with the people that matter the most to me, on that day. I see my birthday as setting the tone for the year ahead, and I like to share it with individuals that I know are going to reflect and support where I see myself going.

I know other friends that did wild and crazy trips, like Vegas. Again, to each his or her own, but that's really, really, not me. I'm a Mom, too, and my birthday wouldn't feel right if I didn't celebrate with my kids as well as my friends.

Honestly, last year I felt like I had the most incredible birthday I'd had in as long as I could remember. I celebrated with different groups of friends on different days and it made it seem like my birthday was a week long. Claire surprised me with front and center Celtic Thunder tickets, and then we hilariously waited in the shadows of a back entrance and met them and got autographs! How can you top that, really?

Here's the real crux of it for me, on my birthday, I just like to be remembered, and it's nice to have people in my life that want to do things that they've put some thought into and that they think are "me" or that they know I'd love, but would never do for myself. It doesn't have to be anything "big deal" and in fact, I specifically told my husband that I don't want anything expensive or extravagant. For me, really and truly and not just to be a cliche cheese ball, it comes down to the thought that went into something-even the smallest gesture can touch me if its meaningful.

That said-a weekend away with my husband is at the top of my list sooner than later!

I was talking to Claire about my birthday and about not wanting anything over the top, but still wanting to celebrate in a way that will stay with me. I was saying it didn't have to be anything grand, but I just want to mark the occasion, because this last year for me has been literally, life changing.

She made a great point. She said that I definitely SHOULD mark this birthday, not just for the sake of my turning 40, but for the fact that for the last year, I've set a bunch of goals for myself, monthly scary challenges, and big obstacles (emotionally and physically)-all things I've wanted to accomplish "before 40"-and I DID every single one of them. I met every goal and created new ones along the way. So, in more ways than just my date of birth, this turning 40 thing is kind of a big deal.

I've really been at a launching point of a whole new me, and 40 symbolizes how far I've come and the wide, open future where I'm going.

What does that celebration look like, then?

Well, last year made my heart burst with happiness....So I'm looking at more of the same. I have plans with my different groups of friends, my Mom, and my family. One of my girlfriends in the US just had a "big birthday" and decided to make it a month long party. I like that idea! I think my September is going to be a great, big, "intro to 40!"  I think it's going to be great to set the tone for the blazing journey ahead!

I'm doing 40 MY way!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Vacay And Lazy Days

I've been given the nudge that my blog was delinquent and I better get on task regarding a new post. You ask and you shall receive, my fine readers. :)

I've had an INCREDIBLE month of August, so you'll have to forgive my lapse on the blogging front.

We took off on vacation after the second week into the month, and it's been an amazing few weeks. Our goal for vacation this year was to go somewhere new, and to have an active time while there.

I chose New Hampshire and Vermont, 2 days in each place. I'd been to both before, but the rest of my family hadn't, and I knew we'd find the perfect mix of a little bit of shopping, and a lot of activity.

In New Hampshire, we stayed at the North Conway Grand Hotel. It had two pools, one indoor and one outdoor. The outdoor area also had a fire pit for S'mores and a kids fountain wading pool, as well as a playground and larger than life chess board. It also had a small gym, where I still managed to do my hill run workout early one morning. Every evening was a kids' social, with free sundae making bar! In the lobby, there was also free cookies and lemonade at all times from afternoon on! I actually managed to only partake in one cookie. We did some outlet shopping in anticipation of back to school, including new kicks for the whole gang, and "little black dress" for me. Mostly though, we had an amazing time exploring the great outdoors.

We first visited "Diana's Baths." You hike in a mile to these rocks that you can climb to the top, with little waterfalls and shallow pools. We spent several hours, just making our way gingerly across slippery stones and daring to climb higher. It was a great time, active, outdoors and FREE.

We spent the evenings with swimming in the pools and wandering some of the outlet shops.

We also did this: http://www.sacorivertubing.com/ which frankly was hilarious. You rent individual tubes, then get shuttled down to the beginning of the river. You can hook your tubes together with your family members, or just let the gentle current start to push you down the river. In entirety, it takes about 2 hours to float the whole thing. You can even rent a "cooler" tube, attached to your own, and pack a lunch or drinks. There is a beach about half way or more down the river, with rope swing, where you could get out and take a little break.

Well, let me tell you, this was not as "relaxing" as we'd imagined. The current kept pushing us from one side to the other of the river, into rocks or logs. You'd then have to kick and paddle with your arms to get back to center. After about 30 mins of just trying to lazily float, my eldest and I gave up and basically sat on the edge of our tubes and kicked and paddled for the entire time. The water was nice, and only about 3 feet deep. By the time we finished, we stood to climb up the stairs back to the tube drop off, and our legs were jelly. It was a great time, I'd totally do it again.

Next, our trip took us to Vermont. We stayed at the Green Mountain Suites, and WOAH, it was impressive. The price for one night was slightly higher than I'd normally want to pay, but breakfast buffet is provided, as is a "Manager's Reception" each night of a "light meal." Well, the first night was barbecued steak tips, full salad bar, and garlic mashed potatoes, with watermelon for dessert. Oh, and free beer and wine!!! WHAAT? Definitely worth it, for us. Our suite was gorgeous, immaculate and had full kitchen. Again we had indoor pool. full gym, fire pit.  I HIGHLY recommend. It's also a short distance to a big mall with all of the stores you could possibly want.

In Vermont, we decided to rent bikes and bike the Burlington Bike Trail, along Lake Champlain.http://www.enjoyburlington.com/parks/bikepath1.cfm We rented the bikes from a great shop, North Star Sports (http://www.northstarsportsvt.com/) and headed out to the path. It's 7.5 miles long, along the waterfront, and is just for bikes. You bike past several beaches and we stopped a few times to enjoy the view, have lunch, and refill water bottles. The kids did amazing on this 15 mile biking excursion, and even I (who hadn't been on a bike in probably almost 20 years) had a great time. Our stops were fairly short, and we weren't peddling leisurely! I was actually pretty amazed at the speed the kids wanted to keep up and we got back to the bike shop tired, sweaty and also exhilarated.

It was an amazing trip, I'd even go as far as to say one of the best family trips we've taken. I'm pretty confident that we'll return, but also that we'll continue to seek out more family vacations that encompass the same qualities we loved in this one.

Once we returned and did laundry and slept soundly in our own beds, we took another few days to enjoy nature and activity at my friend Karen's parents cottage. We rented stand up paddle boards for the weekend and had SUCH a blast. It may actually have even been my favourite part of this summer. My friends are all just very natural, not pretentious, and just chill. Their kids are great, the adults are like minded, and we had so many laughs, drinks, great food and time on the water in paddle boats, in the speed boat, kayaking, stand up paddling and swimming. It was the most relaxed that I've felt in a long, long time. My kids hopped on the paddle boards and took off! It was awesome to see and I know we'll be doing much more paddling as a family to come!

Once home, it was back to routine and reality. That always comes crashing in with a swift and thudding entrance, doesn't it?  It hasn't been that bad, really. We've continued to explore, and have enjoyed festivals and bike rides, swims and walks, as well as my youngest's birthday.

As I'm still training, I've also been continuing to run, upping my distance week to week. Tomorrow I'm up to 18k, then 20 and then tapering. Yikes. It's becoming super real, and I'm trying to go against my very nature and just "go with it" and "let things happen" instead of stressing how well I will or won't do. The only person, at the end of the day, that cares what time I got, is me. Unfortunately, as a competitive perfectionist, I care A LOT and I have to let that go a bit so I can enjoy the experience, and be proud of the fact, whatever happens, that a year to the date of my first 5k, I'm running a 1/2 marathon.  Maybe I'll never run one again, maybe I'll be on to the next thing, maybe I'll be taking up biking, who knows. Live in the moment. That's a hard lesson for me, but one I continue to try to embrace.

I've had some injury during this training, so the ideal is to work that out and feel pain free on race day. Plus, I have to be feeling good for my girl, Tania! She's coming all the way from Washington State to support me in this, as she's a seasoned pro. Ya, I'm going to be a hot mess and will probably spend the race crying like I did at the Manotick Road Race.

In cross training news, I also bought a TRX suspension system. Other than the fact that my husband broke part of it the second day we had it (greeeeat! It's still usable though!) I LOVE this thing. I've been doing park workouts with my buds at zero dark thirty am, and we alternate between TRX moves and plyometrics or core work. "Just for fun" (my friends Jay and Katie have very different ideas of fun than Sue-Anne and I do) we run the track with tires. Sometimes, we even throw them. I know, right? WHEEEEE! I wake up sore and know I've done a kick butt workout, but the TRX makes it so that you don't feel like you're dying! WIN!

As a follow up to the license thing-I've also been doing some regular driving! Took the kids and my Mom to the movie theatre and back, and whenever we go anywhere such as errands, my husband forces me to drive now. I'm not gonna lie, that's some nerve wracking stuff right there. The more I do it, the less it will be scary though, right?Hmmm.

I have one more week of summer left with a big event coming up, and then we're into September and all of the crazy that's going to bring! September is chock a block full of the scary, so stay tuned!

Hope you're all enjoying your summers as much as we have been loving ours!!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sweaty, Sweltering, Summer Surprises

It's been a month since I last wrote a post. Seriously? This month has seemingly just flown by and I can't even believe that July is already almost ending.

I had my niece and nephew full days for the first few weeks, so our days were spent playing, going to wave pools, swimming, playing Dominoes, going to Goodlife, having theme days, doing crafts and playing board games. Add in some park visits and some fighting and that was my first few weeks of July.

I've been putting in my training time for my 1/2 as well. Or, at least, trying to get the distances. I've thrown the idea of tempo runs out the window. It's just been way too stinkin' hot and after one tear laden run after another, I threw in the towel on that concept. I've been keeping up with my hill work but I'm not worrying about speed work. It's frankly a miracle to get the distance on my plan when it's that steamy out. Running in 45C humidex is NOT a pleasant experience, I tell ya.

The good news is that, once again, I've been shown what INCREDIBLE people I now surround myself with in life. What a huge blessing to be in the presence of supportive, encouraging and hand holding folks that TRULY want me to succeed.  I put the word out that I was taking a running break, and immediately had offers for park workouts, TRX workouts, hand holding for my long procrastinated Spin classes and Yoga on the beach under a full moon with hundreds of other folks.

Consequently, my routine has now changed up a little. The weather has cooled slightly, so I'm back to running and not hating it so much. I've changed it to 3 runs a week: a shorter distance, hill repeats and a long, slow Sunday run. I've also added in a strength day (which I've been lucky enough to do with friends at the park. I've even run with tire sleds, yo! I know, right?) and a Spin day, and I try to add in some Yoga.

It's not all just working out, though!

I got to see my favourite band, Great Big Sea in concert, with my husband. I spent the entire time jumping up and down and dancing and screaming. The 20 year old girl beside me was doing the same, and about 1/2 way through the concert turned to me and said, "You're awesome! I thought I was the biggest fan here! It's like it's just you and I rockin' out!" My husband just shakes his head at my screaming, sweaty, bouncy self but I know he secretly loves it. :)

I'm currently on vacation for the next few weeks and have taken this first week to check some things off the "To Do" list such as the eye doctors and such. But, I also did my "scary thing" for this month!!! It's a big one!

I FINALLY got my G1!!!! I've procrastinated this since I was, literally, 20 years old. I've been putting it off and putting it off, and the more I did so, the bigger and scarier it became to me. I decided that getting it was my goal for July and buckled down to read the book and go to write the test. I was literally shaking. I could barely sign my name! When they said I passed and I came out of the room, I saw my husband sitting in the waiting area and I held my Temporary Permit up in the air like a crazy person! It was an INSANE feeling. I know it's only Step 1.....but that's where it all starts, right? I'm more determined than ever to see this through!

My kids were hugging me and saying how proud they were of me, and my friends were hugging me and jumping up and down with me like I'd won the lottery. It was an amazing feeling and again....awesome, incredible people in my life. Yep.

We went out for my friend Karen's 40th birthday last night, in a limo no less, and out to one of the best meals I've ever had. We had a hilarious time, the limo ride home was EPIC and may have involved some pant less people. Whoo. I love my friends because the older we get, the less we change. :)  It's always a riot, and they are truly people I can just be myself around and they love me for it. In fact, my friend Kerry's husband surprised me at dinner by toasting ME and saying how, even though he doesn't comment, he follows my Facebook posts and sees what I'm doing and he thinks it's crazy inspiring and it's planting seeds of belief in others. WHAAAAT? I thought he was being facetious because, I know Facebook "workout" posts can get super annoying. (not that it stops me) But, no, the whole table toasted me and said how proud of me they are. I literally started crying and I went to bed thinking about it.

I didn't grow up with a ton of praise, and my family can often be cutting versus encouraging. In fact, I've always felt like "odd man out" in my family, the joke being that I was adopted. Most times, I honestly felt that maybe I was because I'm very different than the rest of my family, and it seemed they never really "got me." It's not that they don't care, it's just that my family isn't effusive with praise, for one, nor are they big on shows of affection. I get that, but as a super sensitive person, it always bothered me. I learned to not really seek their validation, but I THRIVE on praise, I've learned, so to hear how what I'm doing....little 'ol me.....is affecting others, especially coming from a big, strong dude.....it really touched me. Even if I annoy them sometimes with my posts. Again, they love me for the annoying and the inspiring. Ha!

So, that big, long update was July. It's been kind of a huge month!

We're doing some vacation trips coming up, to some truly beautiful areas, and I'm SO looking forward to it. In a sign of how times have changed, once again, we decided we wanted these trips to be less about spending, and more about experience. Our accommodations, food, gas and a little bit of outlet shopping are, of course, expenses. The majority of the trip however will be spent outside being active-hiking, biking, maybe stand up paddling. Anything that gets us moving and seeing and truly making memories.

Bring on August and the next challenge! I've got some "scary" happening in there as well!!!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Where The Heck Has June Gone And Future Plans

The month of June, in my world, is a super busy, crazy one. It's no wonder why the month has flown by, and my blog writing has taken a back seat! My calendar looked nuts, with many weekdays pencilled in, as well as weekends booked solid. Who can complain about FUN though, right? June is a social month!

I celebrated my friend Claire's birthday, TWICE, which I think should become the standard! I got to celebrate my niece's 12th birthday, enjoyed Father's Day activities that my husband chose, and still paused to remember my own Dad. In there, I also bought teacher gifts and wrapped up the final week of school and my eldest daughter's Grade 8 graduation and the many parties surrounding that event!

I also got many runs in on my new training program, and added in some new circuit training. I got to partake in a very STEAMY "Yoga on the Hill" with my pals Jay and Caroline, and hundreds of others, in 40 degree heat. It was a blast though and I'd totally do it again!

Last night, my daughter had her 14th birthday party with 14 kids-a mix of boys and girls-and the girls slept over. It went well and she was happy with both her party and her gifts. I'm a bit exhausted today after breakfast and clean up, but to see her so excited and happy has been all worth it!

The fact that she's now entering high school has had me a bit nostalgic. I've been looking at some pictures and counting my blessings. My kids are AMAZING people, so confident and strong. I'm honoured to be their Mum, every day. It's not for everyone, but I've been REALLY lucky to have been able to have the best of all worlds. I knew when I became a Mother I wouldn't want to settle for anything but being home and available to my kids 24/7. Not everyone has that luxury, nor do they want it, but after working in daycare, I knew "I" wanted to be the face they saw all day, the one that hugged booboo's away, the one that rocked to sleep and the one that saw their "firsts."  My husband has always not only supported that choice, but demanded it, and it worked perfectly in that I maintained my career, contributed to our family income, and stayed home by having a home daycare. I LOVE that I've been able to not miss a moment. Honestly, I feel like that has made a huge difference in my children. My ambition has never been career driven, it's always been family based. Even my high school yearbook has my ambition being "to realize the white picket dream." It's what I've always wanted and I don't regret not having some "big job" for a second.

That said, as my kids get older, I've started thinking about what I'd like to do "now."  The more I've thought about it, the more I've come to terms with the fact that I'm never going to be that "career driven" individual. I have never wanted to be the "boss" in any job I've ever had. I'm always happier in the background, part of the team. I took on leadership roles most of my younger life, and I have no desire for that anymore. I think when much of your childhood is spent trying to survive and excel and "get ahead"-you burn out. I just want peace, tranquility and a quiet existence now. No bells and whistles needed. Where I'm truly happiest is with my family and my friends that have become more like my family. Anything separate to that would just be "punching a time card."

The other night, I was leaving for dinner out with friends and had prepped a meal for my husband to make. He decided he'd take the kids out instead. I joked that without me there they can't function or even get a meal on the table! My husband looked at me, hugged me and said, "That's exactly it, Trace. We CAN'T function without you and all that you do for our family,"  Hmm, he may have won some points there(or eased my frustration about his going out to dinner when a meal was almost ready on the counter!)  When I'm serious and focused about something, as a perfectionist who is critical, I make sure I give 100 percent of myself to the task. My family has been that focus for me, and will continue to be, for as long as I live. I say that without shame or remorse or guilt, and I don't care what anyone else thinks of that choice. Some think I'm a bit "Martha Stewart" about being a Mum. Great! I wear it with pride.

That doesn't mean I can't pursue other things that will get my laser focus, though.  I just don't know that slaving away at a 9-5 like everyone else is that thing. :)

This year has been full of transition, and continues to not disappoint. I'm planning on an EPIC summer and then a world of change for September forward. Keep an eye on this blog. You never know WHAT I might do next.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Happy Write-Off

This whole week has been a glorious blur. I've literally had a crazy fun time, which also means I have kind of thrown my whole "plan" out the window. That stresses me out, on the one hand, and on the other? I could give a flying rat's patootie.

I managed to follow my training plan on Monday and got my run in. I also completed my 30 Day Ab Challenge and took my final measurements. (1 inch down on the waist, another inch on the hips! Ya baby!) That's where it all kinda goes to pot.

I woke up Tuesday morning with my back feeling...weird. Sort of locked and stiff. I decided to make an Executive Call and skip my run and take a Rest Day. I took care of my friend's 4 month old instead and OH MY. The cutes. I loved every minute of it. He's super adorable.

We were supposed to go to the New Kids concert that night, but it got postponed, which I wasn't that upset about since my back was still feeling all sorts of wrong.

I thought I'd head out Wednesday morning for a run, but I woke up with my back still feeling stiff. It wasn't as bad as the day before, but definitely not what I'd call 100%.

The concert that night was EPIC. Whooo. We had a nice dinner out at Aperitivo (tapas, all Gluten free!) and it was delish. We *may* have felt like we were teenagers again and consumed several ROUNDS of Lemon Drop shots. We then *may* have had several more rounds at the concert. On top of the other drinks. I was Hangin' Tough for sure! What a hilarious night though. That's definitely one for the memory banks. I've had some crazy times with those girls, we've been friends for 26 years, and I imagine there are many more to come. We did a lot of dancing and a lot of screaming, so I woke up Thursday with a killer sore throat and even more monumental hangover.

So, yeah. Thursday, the only exercise I was doing was raising Advil and water to my parched lips and sore throat.

Friday, I had volunteering for 3 hours, followed by the kids all home for a PD day, followed by a big pasta dinner out with my Mom, niece, daughter and her friend. It was very yummy and we had a nice time, so again, no complaints.

That brings us to yesterday. I had to get groceries, run to the mall with my daughter for several birthday gifts, get home and get ready to surprise my friend Claire at a restaurant for HER birthday! It was a super night, her husband had arranged the whole thing and made it possible for she and I just to have dinner together and chat. There's never enough time when I'm with her. We could talk forever and a day it seems. (according to her husband we DO talk forever but....) I even managed some wine and some Caesars.

It's now Sunday and long run day. I've been puttering and hanging out after a horrific nights sleep, filled with tons and tons of very real nightmares. I hate when that happens. I've got the third load of laundry going and stuff prepped for dinner. My youngest had a friend over for a playdate and my husband took them to a movie now. He did some of my planned yardwork as well, which is really awesome.

So, long run. I'm thinking this evening when it gets a tad cooler outside.

I get stressed that I'm "off plan" because I'm a big "plan/organization" freak, but I'm actually not feeling too badly for some reason. I think it's because I know that when I go hard, I really push it, and when I need rest, I really listen. I had a week full of some of my favourite people and activities, and I'm not going to let that joy be stolen from those moments with fretting.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Things That Seem Like A Good Idea At The Time....

There are times, even at my advanced age, that I give myself a huge facepalm for deluding myself into thinking something is a good idea, when I KNOW, clearly, that it is NOT. Here are some of those examples:

-when both hubby and I are in a rush to go somewhere/have plans/not together and need to get ready in a jiffy. It seems logical that jumping in the shower at the same time would speed up the process of readiness, killing two birds with one stone etc. Ya, no. That never quite happens that way.

-when I start watching "Girls" because I've heard it's great and lots of my friends are into it and I spend the whole time both disgusted and feeling like I need to turn it off/change the channel but somehow manage to watch both seasons anyways.  There goes time I can't ever get back. BAD NAKED. Just...wrong.

-when I buy into my kids Oscar worthy dramatics that they are SO not feeling well and can barely raise their heavy heads from their pillows. One hour later, they're chatting me up non-stop and doing a craft and wondering when lunch is, and if they can hang with friends later and....

-when I think that somehow I've "outgrown" my propensity towards heatstroke and I can miraculously go out and run at 11am in peak heat without a care. I guess you don't outgrow that kind of thing.

-when I think I'm still 18, or 30 even, and can drink several Caesar's and bottles of wine and just sleep it off.  Now, 3 drinks in I'm thinking....this is not going to be good, time to stop. I don't always listen to myself.

-when I think that because I've lost weight I can now wear whatever outfits I want, forgetting the small detail that my actual body shape of a short, high waisted torso and ample bosom have not miraculously disappeared and that hey-those same clothes that looked like crap on me at 21 STILL don't look great. (Rompers? I'm looking at YOU)

-when I feel nausea coming on and my response is my usual, "oh, that means eat MORE stuff and it'll go away."  Huh. You can't say I'm not persistent.

-when I think that writing this stuff down, here in this space, will prevent me from falling into these traps again and again.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Brave (No, Not the Disney Movie)

When I was a teenager, one of the qualities I searched for in a boyfriend, was that he be brave. I don't mean brave as in, had a secret identity and fought crime in the dark shadows of the night, I just mean I wanted to feel safe knowing that if the chips may fall, he'd stand up for me. He'd be strong for me. He'd help fight my battles.

I grew up in an environment that was not, on any given day, what you'd call safe. I never felt fully secure, not just emotionally, but also physically. Many a day I felt the very real possibility that it could be my last. When you're 10 years old, that's not a great feeling to try to make sense of  in any way, shape or form. I never felt like someone was there, standing up for me. A lot of the time, other than my brother and my grandmother, I truly felt like I was fighting a singular battle where survival was the ultimate goal.

I know this sounds dramatic. Trust me, I know. It's why most of the time, I minimize these years and what happened, or I laugh when telling some horrific tales, trying to diminish their power.

I can't speak for anyone else in my family, I think everyone experiences events differently, but that's how it felt, to me.

I had a serious boyfriend for awhile in my later teens, and I really, really liked him. Yet, one of the things that I couldn't get past with him was that I just never truly felt safe with him. I always felt like the rug was going to be pulled out from under me, or that if push came to shove, he'd leave me on my own. I couldn't make it work with that nagging in my gut.

Then, I met my husband. While we had immediate physical chemistry, it was more that he was this cocky, arrogant guy that NOTHING phased. He was absolutely sure of himself and his space in the world. His confidence set off my "BAZINGA" meters instantly. ('kay, BAZINGA wasn't actually a "thing" then but.....) I   tested him in a million different ways, cause I'm cruel like that, and he just kept showing me this rock solid, steadfast stance. For the first time in a very long time, I felt like I had reached a port in what had been a very long storm. He made me feel safe, protected, sheltered. I'm an intense person, and my temper is legendary in my family. He just took it in stride. He was the rock to my crashing waves, the calm breeze to my howling winds, the water thrown on my raging fire.

We've been together 20 years this year, and for a long, long time, that dynamic has worked. In fact, it still holds true that he is the one I immediately turn to when I'm spinning anxiously out of control. I know, even when I'm cascading with fear, that he will remain calm and talk me down from the ledge; appealing to my logic and presenting me with facts that overpower the emotion and dread I'm feeling.

I realized something though, in the last 5 years or so. I realized that while my husband CAN be many things for me,  he can't be brave for me. All along, all the while I have been fighting and clawing and working and crying and screaming and building walls and coping-all the time that I spent feeling all alone-I have been brave for MYSELF. I've always HAD to be, but as obstacles in life mount, it may not be pretty (cause I don't really do pretty) but it's been ME constantly fighting for myself. Standing up for myself. Shaking myself off. Picking myself up. Figuring out what I want and where I want to be. Making difficult choices and choosing unpopular paths. Another person can stand beside you, they can lend you support and encouragement, they can help you believe in yourself and inspire you to try, and I KNOW those things are vitally important as well, but they can't DO IT for you.

At the end of the day, the one thing I've feared for so long is the one thing that I've actually always known. In the end, what we do and how we triumph comes down to ourselves. I've never "needed" someone to be brave for me, after all. I've just needed to believe in my own courage and my own fight. I've always tackled difficulties head on, on my own, but my mistake has been in not believing I COULD do it on my own. Support is a wonderful thing, don't get me wrong. I also still have many, many, many a doubt filled day. However, I'm learning and growing daily too.

As I free myself more and more from the shackles that have held me hostage or kept me fearful, I realize that brave, fighting girl is the same one today that was always there-at 10, at 18, and at 34 years old. She may have been often on her own, but she did alright.  I see that now.

My growth isn't in BEING brave, it's in BELIEVING that I'm capable of slaying dragons all on my own. No Knights needed.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Spring Cleaning

Dare I even mention OUT LOUD, that it might FINALLY be Spring?

I hadn't put any of our winter stuff away yet. My front hall closet still contains winter coats and mitts and hats. Hey, I'm no fool. Every time someone on FB updated their status saying they'd put "winter away," it snowed. I wasn't going to be that person! Our freaky Spring season "seems" to be here to stay, so I feel confident that I can move on to all things SPRING.

Along with the actual scrub down cleansing of all things home, in the Spring I like to do some mental decluttering. I like to take inventory of items in my home that can be purged; clothing, papers and knick knacks no longer in use, be gone! In that same manner, I do an internal inventory of "stuff" that is weighing me down and blocking me from moving forward into a new year with clarity and peace. I'm all Zen and New  Age like that.

Sometimes that means changing my OWN head space around an issue that is stressing me, and sometimes it means it's time for a bigger toxic purge of negativity-which can include individuals that have nothing positive to offer me. Sometimes, those two things collide, and it's my own acceptance of a situation or person that has allowed the toxicity to exist.

I'm in a REALLY good place right now in many aspects of my life. I feel like I'm on the right road to a lifelong habit of healthy living. I make time, every day, to be active. I'm conscious of making sound nutritional choices for myself and my family, while balancing that out with my loves of chocolate almonds and booze. A girl has to have SOME vices! My family is totally on board to pursuing activities we can do together that are fit and active. My husband and I are in a very good place in our relationship-working together, talking things out, checking in with each other, spending time together and apart pursuing shared and separate interests.My children are happy, healthy, confident and secure in themselves. They're truly amazing-and all who meet them tell me the same. They make me PROUD daily.  I'm  surrounded by some of the most positive, inspiring, encouraging friends anyone should be blessed to have! My circle seems to be growing daily, and each new individual is a bright light, which is mind blowing! I feel embraced and centered in SO many areas. The flip side of this "love in" is-it illuminates with unflattering clarity where that peace is lacking.

So, I'm doing some mental sweeping once again. It's time to really do a deep clean and get those cobwebs out of the dark attic corners! My goal in life is to always be bettering myself and improving and changing what needs tweaking. No more opening the door to people who only bring animosity and poison. I will no longer allow it or read it or permit others to tell me about it or gossip to me about the unsavoury. Where I CAN omit contact, I will be.

I'm still working towards VENTURING and LEAPING into one challenging activity a month. April I ran my first 18k race. I've already run further in May, but of course that won't be all that I do! I still have plans for May.  One of those is this final erasure of that which darkens my door.

The summer sunshine is shining brightly towards the future.....and I'm following it's brightened path.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Thankful, And Inspired!

I've been OVERWHELMED by the comments both here on the blog, on Twitter, FB and through email and messages regarding my 18K race and post. To say it's been extremely touching is just not even adequate. Thank you all, SO MUCH, for your constant encouragement and support.

The surprising part has been the emails from people saying that I've inspired THEM to start running or to get moving. A friend from highschool sent me a message after finishing her first half marathon, saying that it was my posts that encouraged her to get running, and on days she didn't want to run, it was my FB status updates that I was slugging it out in snow that made her go. WHUT?!!!

Wednesday nights, I join a casual group of friends for our "Run Club."  I started with this group last August, when the thought of running 5k without walk intervals seemed implausible. I kept at it, after a HORRIBLE first night, and well, I'm where I am today. The great thing about the group, and what kept me going week after week, what kept me encouraged, was that there was always someone to run with the newer runners. Sometimes, the strongest runner there would hang back and make sure that we "newbies" were doing good, cheering us on. At the end, everyone waits for the last people, hooting and hollering, high fiving, running them in. It's an incredible feeling to feel like SO many believe in you and your abilities, when you yourself may be doubting.

I feel like it's now my turn to give back. Our Run Club has grown by leaps and bounds, with new members joining frequently, and I now choose to stay back and run intervals with those new recruits. It's important to me that they feel that same sense of pride, accomplishment and encouragement that I did, because I want them to have that same exhilarating freedom of meeting their goals, with a smile on their faces as they do it. It's also a happy run for me-watching this growth and strength. Win/win in my books.

I'm not special, I'm not a superstar. What I've accomplished running wise doesn't take anything more than time, patience, training and sheer determination. I want new runners to know they can ABSOLUTELY get 5k and beyond if they want it badly enough.

A week after my grueling 18K hilly hell race, I worried about going out and running a further distance. That race had seemed so monumental. I had set out that morning with a plan, organized, well hydrated, well fueled. Here it was Sunday Long Run day again, and I had 19K planned. I hosted Wine Club the night before and consumed a few glasses of white. I had 4ish hours of sleep. I wasn't sure how hydrated I was going to be. I woke up 45 minutes before my friend Jay was picking me up, and flew around the house like a mad woman.

We headed downtown to run from Hog's Back, up Colonel By to Rideau. Then, down Rideau to Queen Elizabeth, up Queen Elizabeth, around Dow's Lake, cross over a footbridge, back up Colonel By to Hog's Back. It seemed daunting. It was hot out. I wasn't fully prepared. Yet, I had a fantastic run. I felt alive, happy, the sun shining, folks waving and nodding, the beautiful scenery, the water beside. I ran joyously and enjoyed every moment. That afternoon, a little sunburnt and a little dehydrated, I realized I wasn't in the least sore or stiff. In fact, I've felt fantastic since that day.

THAT, that feeling, THAT is why I run. Not every run feels like that. Some are like the grueling 18K race. But every run teaches me something, and I don't just mean physically. I'm thankful that I'm able to run, and that I'm supported in my love of it.

I loved hearing how I'm inspiring others, it's truly what keeps me pushing. If I can in any way help someone find that joyous, heart full moment, than I feel like I've accomplished more than just "started running."

When I'm running, I think of those emails and messages. I think of people that inspire me, I think of my support team, and I also just settle into my Zen. I also think about my journey, with running and life, and how  I just keep climbing out and over whatever is thrown my way. This song, cheesy as it may be, is one of my running power songs. I hope maybe it's words help inspire YOU to just keep "pushing on" as well.


Monday, April 29, 2013

18K And The Floodgates(it's long folks!)

         (After the 18k. Sweaty, grit and dirt on my face, and super PROUD)

On Sunday morning, after a largely restless Saturday night's sleep, I rose with the sun to prep for an event that I had been getting ready for literally for weeks, months, in advance. My nerves were rattled, I had butterflies, and the day before I'd been nauseous with the thought of what lay ahead.

I tried to self talk, reassuring myself that I was well prepared, and that I'd just treat it like any old Sunday Run Club long distance run. Besides, I was running with a big gaggle of my run club buddies, so having them there would definitely make it feel less scary!

I had laid out all of my washed and ready clothing the day before (PS the running capris are definitely too big. Very slippy for the first 10 minutes!) along with my bib, my charged ipod, my Gu for fuel and my water bottle. (Yes, I only bring one) and my ball cap. I drank my 16 oz of water an hour before I was leaving, to hydrate and umm, get it out, before the race. I had my light but protein filled breakfast (1/2 cup cereal, blueberries, almond milk, a few almonds) and hit the road with my friends Jay and Leigh.

Once at the event, we met up with the rest of our group and did some pre-race photos. Everyone was doing various distances, some 5k, some 10k, several 18k. I literally started to feel supercharged. As the 18k call came, I felt the need for some team RAH RAH so we all put our hands in on top of each other and did a "GO TEAM" kind of thing. I was PUMPED UP!

I was concerned about having people who run my pace to stick with because I didn't know the route at all, plus, I run much better when I can just chat and pretend it's no big thang. We headed out, me hitching up my pants and holding them for the first stretch til they stuck, when my Nike app chimed in at 1 mile in with our distance and my pace. Woah. I knew we were going too fast and I was aware that I should slow it down. There's always this adrenaline surge where everyone is running around you and you just want to GO. It's hard to settle into a sustainable pace with that going on. At least, it's hard for me. We were running a 9:43 minute/mile pace, and my last 16k I had run comfortably at 10:10. I KNEW that was going to be too fast. However, I figured I'd just keep going until I felt like I needed to slow down. The first water station was around the 3k mark, at the top of a HILL. We got to the top and I paused to walk 10 seconds or so while I chugged my water. As I picked up again, I saw my friends were still walking. I kept running, figuring they'd catch up with me in a second. I never saw them again.

I kept on trekking, hovering between 9:43 and 9:50. I wanted to just get the 10k section DONE and the racers doing that distance out of my way. I completed my 5k time in 29 minutes, and then my 10k around 1:05 hours, based on what the girl beside me said. I had spaced on hearing what my Nike app reported. In that time, I followed the rest of my plan I'd decided on pre-race, which was to walk through every water station, and to have my Gu around 50 minutes into my run. I had these older women runners around me, hilarious women, they were doing 10:1's so sometimes they'd be behind me, then they'd be with me, then behind me. At least for the 10k distance. After that, it seems, I lost everyone that had been with me up until that point. I had told the women they were my pace bunnies, but now I was literally on my own.

Can I just mention a moment here how FRIGGIN HILLY this run ended up being? Seriously people. It was challenging. Once I got past the 10k hills, we had to loop around and do the whole thing over again. I've got to say, I'm not a fan of the loop around. It was also starting to get HOT. It felt very warm, and I was wearing all black, including a hat and a tech hoodie. At one point I realized that I was no longer sweating, which I KNEW was not a good sign. Meanwhile, other than the water drinking breaks, I was keeping my pace and still running. I kept a girl in neon pink in my sights for several km's, until I caught up with her and saw she was struggling. I tapped her shoulder, and when she took out her headphones, I told her that I'd been trailing her, and she had to keep going to keep ME going! She nodded with teary eyes, but didn't speak. A French speaking couple behind me chimed in that they, too, had been following her. The man added in, "We (he and his partner) will run beside you, and she (me) will run in front of you! We'll get you going!"  I felt a rush of ......I don't even know....just emotion, swell in me. I told her, "Let's get to the water station, we can get our water and walk a bit."  Up the hill we went, we got our water, walked maybe 30 seconds, and took off again. The couple ran ahead and we lost them, but I stayed in front of her for a little while longer until I turned back and saw her walking again. At this point, I was heading to the neighbourhood section for the second time, and I was struggling myself. I climbed the second hill and turned into the neighbourhood, and saw the same woman waving from her driveway. She gave me some encouragement and I kept running. As I saw more people in driveways, I kept running. Then, I felt my legs like lead and the sweat stop, and I decided I had better walk a bit.

I can't even tell you how emotional this whole, entire event was for me. A volunteer on a bike raced by me (Thank You redhead dreadlock girl!) and said, "You're FANTASTIC!" and I started crying. Not just little crying, more like, ugly cry. I contained it, but my head was an inner debate of "I AM fantastic!" to "HOW am I going to FINISH this?" The hills, the heat, my pace...it was all coming to this moment. I kept my walking to 30 seconds or less, and started to run again, a bit slower now. Into this internal dialogue for some bit, a man ran by me and said, "You are SO strong! You've been doing incredible! You've got less than 3km to go! You GO, girl!" Cue waterworks #1000. That "less than 3k" seemed very far at this point, my head was all over the place, but I kept just....going.

Just before 16k, there was the last water station. I was hurting, mentally struggling and just wanting to be DONE already. I started to drink and walk and as I threw my cup, I saw the volunteers ahead cheering me on LOUDLY. The one female volunteer was saying, "I SEE you, GIRL. You are almost done! Don't you give up now!"  I laughed and started my run again. As I passed her, she high-fived me and said, "Tracey (on my bib) You are AMAZING for doing this. Get it!" It instantly cheered me up and gave me some renewed energy. So, female enthusiastic volunteer, THANK YOU so much. YOU WERE AMAZING.

At 17k ish, an older man volunteer ran a bit with me, his hand on my back. He said he was a heart patient, and my running was for him, and he thanked me for doing it. Again, sob sniff sob. On I went, to the last bend  for the end, and then I saw it....the last and final HILL. At 17.5k, there's a huge hill. I almost cried again, I kid you not!

I moved my legs slowly up that hill, just wanting to be DONE already, when my final race angel came up behind me. I had slowed to a walk, and she said, "I've been trying to catch you since 11k and haven't been able to until now. You were FLYING. You CAN'T walk now!" We laughed about the "stupid hills!" and I ran to the top. From there, blissfully, thankfully, it was all downhill to the finish.

As I ran into that final stretch, I heard my name being shouted from various places and I cried with tears and a huge smile. I saw my run buddies and high fived them, got my medal and food and then, the floodgates opened once again and I was a total mess of emotion.

I'm sort of spacey when I finish an event, I'm just decompressing from what just happened and the fact that I DID IT, so I forget to ask everyone else how THEIR runs went for a few moments! Between the crying and the emotion of my friends all having fantastic runs, it was a huge day. I saw Steph and Janice come in and rock their runs, and then I saw Jay and welled up again. Sharing this made it all the more sweet.

We did pictures from there, and waited to watch friends do their 2k and 5k runs, cheering on strangers and our peeps alike. Jay's crazy acute eyesight had her calling out names on bibs, as people sped by to the finish, some with confused looks on their faces. We laughed and kept shouting encouragements.

I have to say, the volunteers made a HUGE difference for me on this run, and I want to thank them whole heartedly. I also need to thank my friends for supporting me all through this crazy adventure, those at the event and those in my heart. Many days and nights, I wouldn't have gone out to run without their pushing and inspiration. Last but not least, I have to thank my family for encouraging me to do this, for putting up with Run Club nights and Sunday long distances, which usually make Sunday a write off with eating all the food and napping!

Honestly, this was one of the best days of my life, SO monumental in scope personally I can't even put it adequately (or apparently succinctly) into words. It was a huge challenge physically, I really pushed myself over distance and obstacles and heat, but also mentally. I don't want to bore you with my crazy cheesy moments(well, any more than I already did, that is!) but I had some very real epiphanies out there on that long, hot run, and despite the sunburn and the sore hips, it was totally worth it.

My time, for those tracking these things, was 1:59:35, including those walks and hills, and I'm uber happy with that.

Now, the training commences once more, for my next challenge, and I have no doubt it will be an incredible journey from here to there.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Random Tidbits

My friend Jay asked me on the weekend if I was sort of "over" blogging.  I don't think I'm done, but it certainly has it's highs and lows. Sometimes I have a ton to say, sometimes life gets busy, sometimes I'd just rather not share with the world, know what I mean?

So, just to switch it up a bit and let you take a peek in to my world and my random ramblings, I thought I'd just post today around a variety of thoughts or events that have been going on or are coming down the pipe for me.

-Sunday was run club. I did a 16k run and finished it in 1:47, and that was taking a walk break for a minute to eat my Gu as well as stopping at lights a few times. Sweeeet. I have a race this weekend, 18k, and while I'm paranoid about getting lost on the route (I don't know the area at all, and it involves foot bridges and side streets and hills and trail paths!) I think I'm good distance wise. I'd like to do it in a certain time frame, and the 16k run was practice for settling into a pace and holding it throughout.  I'm worried that I won't have a run partner, which for me makes a HUGE difference in how well I run, so we'll see how it goes. The whole point is just to get a feel for the whole experience. Runs are tricky though, because you can have a great run, and then the next time you go out, just totally stink it up. It all comes down to a science (who knew?) regarding fueling, sleep, fresh legs and eating the right breakfast-light, no dairy, but with protein. Oh, and making sure I really hydrate the day before.

-I had my last Swordplay class. I don't know that I'd sign up for it, especially not in the warmer months when I like to be outside, but I had a great time doing it. The friends I went with made the difference of course, but the instructors and other, more experienced, students were really welcoming and helpful too. It was definitely a neat experience and I like to think I let out my Warrior Princess a little bit while "stabbing people in the face."  (They're in masks, calm down! It's the expression they use to make sure you hit your mark.)

-I went to get some new workout clothing because I needed some warmer weather stuff.  All of my clothes from last summer are too big and I really needed something to run in that won't be falling off! No one needs to see that! I'm already known in Run Club for constantly hitching up my slippy pants! I got some running capris and a tech jacket. I had a limited time to grab stuff cause my husband was running an errand while I did a quick shop. I grabbed some larges and for laughs some mediums, plus some varied sizes, and headed into the change room to feverishly throw stuff on. I'm not big on caring about sizing because I think it's pretty random and I think for workout wear or skinny jeans it's not very accurate (they have stretch) but I freaked out none the less. The jacket that fit me is an EIGHT and the capris are a medium (also an 8) and are a bit TOO BIG. I wore them to run and they were a bit slippy again! I think they'll be okay for now but I'll have to go back eventually and get another pair (I obviously need more than one pair of running capris for the summer!) in a SMALL. I came home SO excited that I immediately put the outfit on and modelled it for my husband. It met his approval, if you know what I'm saying. wink wink. Okay, I just creeped MYSELF out there. Obviously when I shop for some actual clothes, like jeans that don't stretch, I'll get a better idea of where I am size wise. I'm about 12 lbs away from my first goal weight, a weight I NEVER thought I'd see again, which seems crazy to me. Once there, I'll reassess my goals.

-Food continues to be an up and down thing with me, and while I'm *this* close to my goal, the scale rarely moves. My body, I think, is kinda comfortable where it's at, though I may not be. Of course, my doctor reminded me some weight GAIN is pretty standard when going back on the pill, so the fact I've been holding steady is actually pretty good. I'm still working on tweaking my eating plan, getting in 5 meals a day, getting the combinations right, and not being overly crazy about it either. I'm also trying to not be overly crazy about the poochy stomach that doesn't go away no matter how small my measurements everywhere else get!   In my eyes, it just sticks out MORE as it's more visible. D'oh. Ah well, life is about accepting our imperfections along with our strengths, and my husband says no one notices my stomach because of my boobs, legs and "new butt" (ie I now HAVE one) I wish I could take a day and see myself through some more kind/complimentary eyes, because sometimes self talk is BRUTAL.

April is winding down, May is around the corner with sunshine and flowers and new challenges. Time to start making some of those plans for when it's here!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Doing It For The Masses Of Fans

I haven't written in a little bit, and I've had a few texts with demands for me to get my butt in gear and write a post. Okay, okay. My audience has spoken. Ahem!

Truthfully, I haven't felt like blogging. Some of the joy of journalling out my thoughts seems to have been robbed from me as of late, but I can't let people down, so you know, here I am. It's lovely to be so adored. Okay, it's my friends and family, but still! It's the thought, people!

I've actually been pretty busy, and enjoying that feeling. April is a very busy social month, and May gets even  more hectic, all in a good way. I can't really complain.

I went out with my favourite girls in the whole wide world to celebrate my friend's 40th birthday. As we sat around the table laughing and talking, we discussed how we certainly don't feel 40ish. Oh, we may have changed looks wise, a little. Our lives may not resemble our 16 year old days, but I had a flash that evening of SO many dinners and times just sitting around with those same girls, laughing and talking and just being ourselves. I came home actually a little verklempt, and it wasn't (solely) the booze talking. I envisioned the past, and I saw the future, and those girls have been a part of if it for more than half of my life, and I hope for the remainder. I'd love to see us at 80 out celebrating and laughing and sharing in all of those life moments that got us to that place. Times change, looks change, situations and jobs may change, but our hearts carry on no matter the outside wrappings and trappings. It feels good to be with people that just accept you for who you are, flaws and foibles and all. Who have seen you irrationally angry or drunk weepy, at your worst moment, or at your best and still choose, repeatedly, to stand by your side. I've had lots of crappy life events, but I've been blessed by fantastic friends. True story. They are all, individually, amazing souls and I'm proud and honoured to be included in their company.

I'm still doing Swordplay classes and other than my typical perfectionist breakdown in the second class, I've been having a GREAT time. The last class we learned all of these cool grappling moves, where you turn your  body and grab the other person's sword and such. Whooo. I was IN THE ZONE. I loved it! I love laughing with my partner, Jay, as well. We are both pretty focused individuals, we repeat the move several times to get it "right" but we also crack each other up in the process. It makes for a very entertaining hour.

I have Swordplay this week, Book Club, volunteering, Run Club and a dental appointment. Plus, several birthdays! It's going to be a whirlwind, but a fantastic one! I like being busy, and I like being surrounded by friends, so for me it's a win/win!

One last thing I'd like to touch on, that may lead into another post down the line. When we were out at dinner, my friend made the comment that "Do you KNOW Tracey, she doesn't like change!" That, generally, is true. Change for me has usually meant something worse was coming up, or I was being taken out of my comfort zone. However, I'd say I've actually been embracing change for quite awhile now. I'm the girl who has moved 3x in 4 years, and made a life and new friends each time. I'm the girl constantly taking on new challenges and activities that scare the poop out of me. I'm the girl meeting new people on the daily, and welcoming them into my life. Change is all around me, and I'm actually antsy now for more to come. I'm still working on the concept of something new and scary each month, leading up to 40. I have one coming up at the end of this month, and just for giggles, I may throw in another. Change and I take some time circling each other in assessment, but we've formed a new sort of understanding. It's one that I hope will take me on many wild adventures and challenges to come.

Turning 40 is around the bend, and I intend to put a lot behind me, and embrace everything before me. It's only just begun.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The More Things Change....The More They Stay The Same

I always have WAY too much jingle jangling up in my head. I've been this way since birth, and honestly, it's like  I can never just "shut 'er down" and meditate in the silence. There IS no silence in this noggin. Consequently, I get anxiety a lot, because I worry non-stop about a ton of "stuff."  Some days I'd like to be that chill person who doesn't stress, but then other times I think people like that live in denial about reality.

I was going over my blog the other night, re-reading from the very beginning. Lo and behold, I come across a post from 2009 where I'm contemplating the VERY SAME topics as I'm struggling with right now! You know, the "what the hell am I doing with my life or want to do" question. Well, that was a buzz kill. Apparently I've made no progress on this front in FOUR years. That's....encouraging. I start to get a plan in action, but then something happens to blow it out of the water. I know, Universe telling me something, maybe?

I just started watching the series, "Mad Men" since I've heard so many rave reviews from friends and on social media. Drinking and driving, infidelity and smoking aside, dang it! I'd kill as a 50's housewife! At least if you stayed home with your children then, no one kept asking what you'd like to do next! Running your home and raising your children WELL was important, expected, and maybe not respected as such, but, at least there wasn't this pressure to be more or do more.

I read a blog this morning talking about how nowadays, you can't just be a Mom, you have to be a MILF. You can't just "stay home," you have to have a perfect home, kids in every activity, volunteer, have a side gig etc. Totally. Agree.

Do we put this stress on ourselves, is it imposed by society, or other women? Where does this come from? It's a mystery.

According to my blog, however, it's a theme that I'm continually circling. Let's hope this is my year, finally, to put it to rest.

Monday, March 25, 2013


Thanks to all of you that checked in after reading my last blog post. It meant a lot to me to have you reach out, especially since baring my soul like that is a very scary thing for me.

I talked to my friend A. last night via text, and she put a little perspective on the way I'm feeling and in my search for the answers I'm seeking.

I was telling her that I feel sort of  lost, struggling to decide where my path is leading and what I want to do with my life. Do I go back to school? There's nothing really that "calls me" and why spend the money if it would just be something to do? What DO I want to do? Where DOES my passion lie?

Hence, my dilemma. I don't really feel a draw towards anything in particular.

She listed the things I love doing, from her perspective. "You love running, you love reading, you love writing. Is there something you can do with those?"

I contemplated for a half second before her next text came through.

"You are passionate about your family, Trace. You're most passionate about them. So, maybe you don't need a big career change, maybe, end of day, your passion is to be with them and have time for them. In order to do that, you just need a J-O-B that works within that context."

AHA! Moment!

She is absolutely right. I've been panicking and searching, when the answer, all along, is literally right under my nose. It's running around behind me as I type. It's asking me when dinner will be ready. It's snuggling me under covers while watching a movie. It's chatting with me about the drama that is the life of being a teen.

Of course, I DO really enjoy writing, and running, and organizing. I AM passionate about those things too. I've put off some writing ideas I have had in my brain forever, so maybe it's time to actually put words down and see where they lead.

In the meantime, I need a job that allows me to work within the time frame of being home for my family. I'm working steadily from now til end of August and then, it's time to get out there and see what I can find that will net some income for my family,but also allow me to be home once they all stumble in seeking comfort and familiarity. I KNOW a job like that must exist, and I'm confident I CAN have the best of both worlds.

If you know of anyone seeking some assistance, some typing/filing, some data entry or something Monday to Friday from 9ish to 2ish...I'm your gal.

Thank you A. for totally shifting my mindset about all of this and for lifting a burden that has been on my heart. It doesn't pay the bills, but it helps me realize where my starting point, and ending point, lies.

Have I mentioned a bazillion times before that, I truly and honestly have the best friends a girl could have? I'm very blessed, indeed.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fighting The Demons Within

I don't know if it's the "winter with no end, it goes on and on my friend" or the new pills I'm on, or the combination of both, coupled with life in general, but I've been having a struggle lately to get out of a profound funk.

I've discussed briefly before that I grew up in not so ideal conditions. In fact, for many years it was a horrifically abusive situation, one that I'm amazed I survived, frankly. When you grow up that way, you develop parts of your personality that help you to cope with the unthinkable, and that's different for everybody.

For me, I became a very good actress. My worst nightmare was that someone would single me out and figure out what was happening at home. I compensated by doing my best to excel, while not drawing too much attention to it. Basically, if you act like everything is top notch, who is going to question it? I did well at school, I joined things, I had lots of friends and social activities, I dressed like everyone else. Every now and then, the veneer would crack and I'd lose it just a little, lowering the wall. I'd then quickly patch it up with jokes or excuses.

I'm not really sure why abuse is embarrassing when it's not your fault, but I felt, and still feel, incredibly humiliated that I lived that life. It feels, somehow, like a flaw on my part, when intellectually I know that's not so.

Fast forward to today.

I still get criticism from family (sadly) or those that think they know me well but really have no idea, that I "think I'm perfect" or that I "act like everything is perfect and wonderful."  I guess old habits die hard. The adage of never judging what you don't know comes to mind. Believe me, I know that what appears on the surface is not necessarily what lies beneath. The fear of showing the world your pain is more motivating than anything else I've encountered. At some point, it all comes crashing down though, doesn't it?

That's what makes writing this hugely difficult and terrifying for me.

A few years back, life splintered in a thousand shattering pieces all over my heart and soul. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I spent many days lying in bed, staring at the ceiling or sobbing. I refused all food and water. Every day, I would close the door on my family as they left for school and work, and I would contemplate how I'd be able to get through the day without the crushing pain and the desire to just make the pain STOP. I lost 15lbs in a week. I battled myself-alternating between not wanting to deal with it all any more, and KNOWING I needed, once again, to fight for myself, for my children, for my LIFE. I'm a fighter by nature, I've always HAD to fight, but sometimes? When you've fought so long, there's just no fight left. When everyone came home, I'd once again try to be the perfect...everything.

Little by little, I tried once again to try to glue puzzle pieces back together to make a pretty good facsimile of who I was, who I am. Luckily for me, I had people who love me, who REALLY love me and care about my  soul and not just my outside "image" that pulled and pushed and encouraged and just loved on me hard. I had some pretty intense check in's with individuals trained and equipped to deal with someone hovering on the brink. I am thankful every day for those individuals and thank God for them, and for giving me the internal fortitude to realize that I CAN pick myself up.

Life has chugged along since those dark days,  and it's had it's up and down moments. I've spent the last year working diligently and refocusing on finding my authentic self. That sounds very touchy feely and New Age, but with all of the acting I've been doing for a lifetime now, I kind of forgot who the hell that girl is and what she ever wanted.

The last few months have been a struggle again. I've had some dark days and a desire to shut the world out, pull the covers over my head and just, for one brief moment, NOT think, NOT stress, NOT try to figure it all out. Dang it, I'm just tired of not having answers, I guess. I'm putting this out there not for your sympathy or concern-that's actually the last thing I would want ever-but because part of this process is learning to take the acting down a notch and to just "be."  It means feeling what I'm feeling, accepting it, and then pushing forward.  Basically, darkness can't live where you expose it to the light.

I'm not perfect, my life is not perfect, I'm sorry if I "act it" and people don't understand that or judge that. I'm doing my best to create a life that finally looks like "me" and where I'm honest about the hills of triumph and the valleys of despair.

The sun coming out will help, some solutions to some stresses will help, running (no matter distance, speed or time) helps, laughter with my friends helps, and my daughters are my life line. I don't have answers, and it's been a challenging time, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other.

 At some point, I figure, I'll get where  I need to be going.

I am also just pointing out that, before you judge someone for withdrawing, for not commenting on your FB post, for being "boring" for not wanting to go out, for being quiet, or for "appearing perfect"-do a double check if they matter to you at all. Sometimes, it's not being aloof, it's preservation of self.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Breaking Into March

This week is March Break for the kids, and if you're me,  that means a house full of yelling, screaming, running, laughing, arguing. Yikes.

One thing about having kids here all day, every day is that, I really don't know how you work outside the home people ever get a workout in. I really don't. I also now remember how I gained weight when my kids were little. I'm not a morning person, I basically peel myself out of bed at the last possible second and try to debate my way out of slumber, so morning workouts before anyone is up really don't work that well for me. Once the kids are gone, it's already dinner time and heaven forbid if I'm not super fast at making that happen for the "starving" masses. By the time dinner is finished and tidied, going out to run or downstairs to workout is the last thing I want to even consider doing.

The bad thing about all of this (okay, ONE of the bad things, because there is really no upside) is that I'm HORRIBLY grumpy if I don't workout and give the endorphins a kick. I'm blaming lack of exercise, but I'm not entirely convinced that the birth control pills I re-started also aren't making me a wee bit....crazy. I'm not kidding. I feel like I'm on some roller coaster of rage, tears, anxiety. It's almost manic. I know...back to the doctor I go. I'm not even 40 yet and I feel like this train is veering dangerously off the tracks!

In good news, I ran 16k on the weekend and I killed it. I ran with a fast, experienced runner and she encouraged me to play with "pushing it." I can usually push my pace for a bit, then I fall back to my comfort zone. On a big distance like this, I didn't want to push too much and then not have any fuel in the tank to finish strong. I was maintaining a 9:42-9:52 min/mile pace, which converts to around 6 min/km. Yes!!! This was still in icy conditions and I walked while I ate my fuel and stopped at stoplights. When I entered that pace in the pace calculator for a half, it has me completing around 2:10. YES again! Though, running is a crap shoot and you never know, run to run, what they will look like. I know I struggled some of that run. I had a LOT of inner dialogue going on once I hit the turn around. I started to get super anxious about completing the distance and being able to make it back. As I stressed in my head, I just kept running. I'm excited that it's only March and my pace has picked up already. I still have many months to train for the half and I can't wait to see where this all leads.

The best part of that run was that at Wine Club that evening, my friend Katie (a huge inspiration to me, and someone who has completed 3 MARATHONS in 9 months and is a super speedster!) made the comment that she'd never met a "more natural runner."  Whaaaaaat? I totally don't see it, but I'll take it! I told everyone who would listen that she'd said that to me. She said when she started running, she really struggled with some distances, and she's been amazed that I'm still chatting, haven't had to medicate or hot/cold bath after, haven't had any aches/pains/injuries. (knock on wood)  Heck, I barely fuel. It doesn't feel "natural" to me at all, and I really battle internally, but running does make me feel free. It also takes me away from stresses and worries and helps me refocus when cascading thoughts start to fill my brain.(like, on the daily)

I'm writing this just itching to grab my runners and head out the door.

 Maybe dinner will have to wait a little bit, tonight.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Weekend of Awesome

I had a super busy weekend, but one that featured all of my favourite things: friends, social activity, fitness, laughing and trying something new. It doesn't get much better than that!

Friday night my girlfriends and I headed over to our other friend's house to bring the party to her! She blew her MCL and ACL and is awaiting a surgery date. We had Swiss Chalet, watched "Pitch Perfect," laughed our butts off, ate way too many dark chocolate almonds, jujubes and chips and guac, and stayed out til 2:30am. It's been awhile since I saw that time of night/morning! I knew I had a 15k run the next day, so I kept my wine consumption to two small glasses (4 oz each) and had been hydrating all day Friday, like I usually do to prep for a long run.

Saturday, I hit the road (literally!) with my pals. The sidewalks were miserable for the first 5k. We were picking and choosing footing, slipping and tripping-which loses time, throws off your pace, and makes you work way harder. We decided to take the path MORE taken, and turned down some side streets and the road. I'm not one who ever really drinks when I'm running. I just don't feel like I need any water or anything. I'm sure that will change once Winter is over (if it EVER is over!) and with the increased distance, but so far it hasn't been an issue. I hate wearing belts, so I stuck a water bottle in my pocket (I kid you not) as well as some fuel. Once I hit the 10k mark, about an hour in, I walked a minute to drink down my water and slurp down my fuel. It took about ten minutes of feeling like I was slogging it out before they kicked in, and then energy was BACK baby! The exciting news was that I picked up my pace the last two miles, so I know the endurance is in there. Of course, running is a total crap shoot anyways, some days you have a terrific run, and some days you don't. It can depend on what you ate, drank, how you slept the night before, if you're fighting a cold, and a million other weird and random reasons. I try not to focus too much on that, and just do my body's best for that particular day or moment in time. I did the 15k distance and was super glad I was done!

I'm usually ravenous after a long run like that, but for some reason, I was just exhausted more than anything. I tried to shower and nap, but that's hard to do when your daughter just wants to snuggle and watch a movie with you. (ie talk non-stop so no one can actually hear the movie OR nap) I ditched grocery shopping plans and we just all hung out in our jammies for the afternoon.

On Sunday, which seems wrong somehow, I went with my friends to try out Pole Dancing. Who knew my friend Claire is a natural, with instinct and grace? She was working that pole like a pro. HA! I'm not really into the hair flipping, sexy crawling stuff, but I loved the tricks and flips and such on the pole. Somehow, the fireman came easily to me and I spun myself around and around as many times as I could! We had a blast, and I think doing something like that with friends that crack you up is definitely key. I'd totally do that again!

The rest of Sunday was groceries, which I was loathing, but at least it means a house restocked with yummy and healthy (and some not so healthy!) foods! I'm trying to increase my protein intake, and eating every 2-3 hours a day. This means I have breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. Each with a protein in it's mix. I've also upped my calories (well, not on MFP formally but in my head!) to see if that helps fuel the activity I'm doing. I ran 35k last week, did Pole Dancing, an arm workout, a leg workout, shoveled crazy heavy snow and walked 30 mins a day so.....1200 calories MAY not have been enough. We'll see. There's a lot of trial and error to figuring this all out, and I'm okay with that.

It's a new week, with more new activities to try, more runs planned (16k coming up!), and more social fun with some of my favourite, hilarious friends.

When life keeps giving me plenty'o lemons, I just look at weekends and times like these, and am thankful for all my bountiful blessings.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

About That Book....

Every 6 months or so, the book club I belong to decides on the next 6 months of books we'll be reading. People bring in their suggestions with a little write up regarding the plot line. It's always kind of nerve wracking because you are putting books out there that you are interested in and if everyone hates them? Well, that doesn't feel so great.

This last period, two of the books I suggested got picked. GULP. The first was "Jane Eyre" which, along with "Pride and Prejudice" is EASILY one of my most favourite books ever. I was surprised that not many of the group had read it, yet. I assumed everyone had during school, but as I was an English major, it could be I just was a keener and read it on my own, or read it in University. I don't exactly recall, but I know I love it!

I hosted book club that night, one of our largest turn outs, and was so shocked and relieved that almost every one REALLY enjoyed it! YAY!

Well, my second suggestion that got chosen was "What The Psychic Told The Pilgrim." A woman who belongs to one of my online groups had mentioned she was going on a pilgrimage, walking the Camino Trail in Spain. When she got back, I followed her blog along about her experience and fell in love with the idea of doing the same trek. I immediately started googling anything I could about it, seeking accounts of journeys, and came across this title. It drew me in, and as it is about a group of women setting out together on this adventure, at 50 years old (Canadian at that!) I thought we would all relate to its tale.

The San Camino Trail takes you walking from France, through Spain. It's approximately 800km and takes around, depending on how fast and how long you walk each day, about 40 days. You can do part of the trail, the whole trail-it's really a personal odyssey. While Roman Catholics used to do the pilgrimage for religious reasons, it's now quite a popular "Bucket List" item. Each village has a refugio, or hostel, where you sleep each night, packing up and heading out come the next morning. The idea is look into yourself as you wander, and to seek answers to questions only you can be asking internally. It's an arduous task, through heat and mountains and mud. It sounded absolutely incredible to me. It's now on MY list, no doubt!

I was really interested to hear what the other women thought, and if they were as psyched as I was to make this trip a reality somewhere down the line. Some were, like my friend Jay, who halfway through the book was researching tour groups and asking her husband if he'd mind if she went! Others already have plans to do the West Coast Trail (which to me is more about nature and roughing it than a pilgrimage of sorts) or the Appalachian Trail. Some enjoyed the book, some couldn't really relate to the main character.

The discussions in our group are always lively and I love hearing all of the different ideas and perspectives. Whether the book is a "winner" with everyone or not, the sharing is incredibly satisfying.

Needless to say, I'm in love with my book club and look forward every month to our meetings.

I've been dreaming about the Camino trail a few nights, and I'd love to add that to the "checked" stack on my ever growing "Bucket List."

One day!

Monday, February 25, 2013

And I Feel FINE.....

I woke up yesterday with plans to do a nice, easy, half walk and half run 5k. I thought that if my back felt better I'd "maybe" consider doing up to 7k with the walk breaks. I didn't want to push it since it had literally been a day, in total, that my back felt better but I also felt super antsy and ready to DO THIS THING.

My run partner was Christy, who I know "online" but have never met in real life. She was up for 5k and hadn't run in awhile.  That to say, she did the half on race weekend last May, and is a spinning and cross circuit'ing fiend.

We set off and found a good pace pretty quickly. It didn't feel like I was pushing it, but it didn't feel like I was being "easy" either. Usually I stop my Nike app at stoplights and such to get a more accurate time, but I didn't want to bother with that on a day I was just focusing on testing out my back. I let it go as we waited for lights and traffic, and while we crossed streets and such.

We got halfway to 5k and I asked Christy if she wanted to turn around and head back. She said she was feeling good and wouldn't be opposed to continuing on. I was feeling totally back in my element, and knew I could keep going as well. So, keep going we did.

It was a mild day out and we just chatted non-stop. Those are the kind of runs I love! You are running along but it's like you aren't even really aware that you're exercising, because you're just socially enjoying the moment and the company.

As we got back to our meet up point, I looked at my app. We'd done 6.34miles (over 10k) in 1:09, and that was including all the stops and crosses where I hadn't paused! Not bad for the first foray after a week off with the back injury. It also quelled my fears after feeling like 7k was strenuous in Florida. (dang heat. We are just NOT compatible!)

I got home feeling elated and like I was back on my game.

I made a plan then and there for my workouts for the next few months, at least getting me through Spring. I'll be doing 3 runs a week of various types. On alternate days, I'll be doing strength training (today I did arms) and also in there-I'll be trying some new and fun work to shock the 'ol metabolism, like spinning.

I'm feeling the old mojo shaking off the winter dust and rising from it's snowy slumber!


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Back In The Saddle....

Today has been an interesting day, to say the least. Not so much in the "Hey, I did really cool and awesome stuff" because the truth is, I've pretty much done nothing but laundry, but in the "I wonder what this says about me" way.

My back is still not 100% and it's starting (okay, started on Day 1 actually) to really frustrate the crap out of me. I've tried massage, heat, Epsom salt baths, ice, stretching and finally resorted to muscle relaxants. The first muscle relaxant made me look like a junkie. I was literally shaking, jittery, my heart was pounding out of my chest, I was sweating and felt like I might throw up. So, needless to say, I didn't take THAT again.

Last night, after a recommendation from the pharmacist, I tried a Naproxen instead. I still got the weird jittery feeling, but much less than the first time, and I passed out cold, but other than that it seems to have helped a little. I'm going to try taking another tonight and hope and pray I wake up feeling like my old self.

By old self, I mean young self, because right now I feel about 80 years old. I don't even have a cool story to go with this wretched back. I slept on the floor on an air mattress for a week, then sat cramped in a plane followed by cramped in a car. That's just not cool, yo.

I even tried walking for an hour on the treadmill the other day when the thought of poking myself in the eye with hot tweezers sounded more appealing than laying around for one more minute. That was not so good either. I could feel each step jarring my back. Sigh.

What do you do, if you're me, and you've been sitting on the back burner for a week? You make plans. Big ones.

I have Book Club plans on Tuesday night. (more about this book to come!) On Friday night I have a "Girls Night In" with my injured (like, surgery required injured!) friend and cohorts, and on Sunday? I signed up for Pole Dancing classes. I'm not joking.

Did I mention I'm also going out with run club tomorrow? I cannot sit here any longer. Don't worry though (Alison! I know you will worry about me on this!) I have plans to do a shorter distance than the 12k planned, and I'll be walk/running, or even just walking if my back is total garbage. It won't be though! (please, please, please be better!)

So, in the span of the last day, I've signed up for Pole Dancing and a HALF MARATHON. Yes, yes, I did. I think my current activity plans for the month of March say something intriguing about who I am as a person.

-Sword Play classes
-Pole Dancing Classes
-Book Club
-Wine Club
-Girls Night In

It says I'm well rounded, right? Tough, sexy, nerdy, friendly, and a drunk?  I mean, cultured. Yes, that's what it says. Well, maybe crazy and delusional.

I'm okay with all of the above.