My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Hoping to find that groove again

When I began my journey to be a healthier me in 2009, I knew it would not be an easy road. I knew I had to take it one step at a time. I had to retrain my brain to look at pretty much everything differently.

The first couple of years were a struggle. Not only was I learning to do things in a new way, I was also learning to live a life after cancer AND dealing with personal tragedies. Eventually, I felt like I had found a groove. It still wasn’t easy and I was still learning a lot, but I was getting better.

There were a few bumps in the road, like when I had to switch gyms and when Tyler decided to give up doing personal training. But I managed to get through them. Then there was the decision to change gyms again, followed by the car accident. While I eventually recovered from the accident, I never did join another gym. I think that was a contributing factor to the struggles I’ve been dealing with since.

As nervous as I was to join my first gym, I’ve realized since then that I seem to work out well around other people, even if we aren’t working out together or even know each other. Maybe I feed off their energy or something. Whatever it is, I just seem to do better with others around.

I’ve tried doing workouts at home, but it’s not quite the same. And I don’t know why. I know a lot of ways to workout with little to no equipment, but I find it hard sometimes to get a good workout in by myself.

I don’t know if it’s lack of motivation or lack of trust in myself or something else. I just feel like something is missing. And because of that, I’ve gained back some of the weight I lost. I know I only have myself to blame. And I know that I’m the only one who can fix it. I need to start making better choices again.

I’ve been talking a lot about joining a gym again. And in truth, I’ve been talking about it for quite a long time. I know it’s something I need. Living in a small town, there are not a lot of choices. And maybe that’s part of why I haven’t done it yet. But we are getting a new gym in town and I’ve already made a commitment to join. I’m really looking forward to it.

But we are getting a new gym in town and I’ve already made a commitment to join. I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully, I can find that groove again. The gym is scheduled to open in about a month. I’m feeling good about it. I’m anxious to see how much I remember.

I know it will take time to get back to where I was and beyond, and I’m okay with that. I’m already working on my mindset. And that’s the first step, and one of the most important.

 

 

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What I found through running

When I started running about 4 years ago, I didn’t know where it would take me. In fact, I didn’t even know if it would last. As I’ve said before, I hated running as a kid, so I never saw myself becoming a runner. When Tyler made it a part of my training with him, I was skeptical, to say the least. Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with running. And it happened before I realized it was happening. I think that is one of the most unexpected things is what I found through running.

But let me back up a bit first …

I moved to Canada almost 19 years ago, after I got married. I was born and raised in the United States. I met, fell in love with, and married a Canadian. When I moved, I left a lot behind. I moved far away from my family and friends. I knew no one in Canada, apart from my husband’s family and friends. I moved from a big city to a small town. There was a lot — A LOT — of adjustments I had to make. And it wasn’t easy.

The hardest part was not being near my family.  My family has always been important to me.  I had always lived near at least some of them, so moving over 1000 miles away was difficult. We didn’t have Facebook back then, so it wasn’t as easy to stay in touch. I called as often as I could and visited when finances and schedules allowed. To be honest, it felt like I lost them. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but it’s how I felt. And actually, I still feel like that sometimes. As social media has progressed, it’s made it easier to stay in touch. But I still miss seeing them.

When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, I felt incredibly alone because none of my family was close by. I told my Dad & Stepmom and one of my brothers over the phone. I was able to tell my mom, one of my brothers and his wife in person, but only because I had a trip planned to see them right after I got the news. In my darkest moments, I would have given almost anything to have them there with me. It was an extremely difficult time.

I was still adjusting to life after cancer when a series of events left me completely reeling. I almost lost my dad, my stepmom died suddenly a few months after that, I lost 2 of my beloved cats within a couple of months of each other, and then my mom died. All of that happened in a little over a year. WTF. I went into a depression that I wasn’t sure I could crawl out of. I felt like I lost much of my world. But I eventually started to feel “normal” again.

And then I joined a gym. It took a few months, but I slowly made friends there. I’m still friends with a few of them. One of those friends was Tyler, who would become my personal trainer.  And less than a year later, I started running.

So back to running…

As I said, I wasn’t sure about running at first. But slowly, I began to enjoy it. And eventually falling in love with it. I certainly didn’t see that coming.

And this is where I found something I never expected.

I found community.

I found friends.

I found family.

I found myself.

I’ve never been a part of something so big before. I wasn’t popular in school. I didn’t have a ton of friends. I’ve always been a bit of an outcast.

I wasn’t popular in school. I didn’t have a ton of friends. I’ve always been a bit of an outcast.

But none of that mattered when I became a runner.

And that’s the most beautiful part.

When I became a runner, I found this great big thing that welcomed me with open arms.

It didn’t matter that I was a beginner and in my 40s.

It didn’t matter that I was/am overweight.

It didn’t matter that I was/am slow.

With running, I found so much more than I ever dreamed possible.

The majority of the runners I know I only know on social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. But that doesn’t matter. Because we are all part of the same thing.

We’re a community. We’re a family. We are always there for each other. To cheer each other on or pick each other up.

When I go to a race, whether I’m running or spectating, the sense of community is undeniable.

It happens anytime I’m around other runners.

It’s an amazing thing.

It’s a beautiful thing.

What I found through running is a part of me I didn’t know I was missing, a part I didn’t know I needed. And I can’t imagine my life without it.

 

 

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The finish line is a thing of magic

My friend JP recently shared a video on Facebook of a woman finishing the London Marathon. She had lost her husband and son and suffered from PTSD. His comment was ” This! 💙 Running will change your life if you have the faith to invite it in…”

And he’s right.

Running has taken me places I never thought I’d ever go.

I watched the video, and it was beautiful.

My comment on the video was:

“the finish line is a thing of magic. no matter the distance, no matter how long it took to get there, you are forever changed once you cross it. whether it’s an actual finish line in a race or an imaginary one you create for yourself.”

And that got me thinking just how true of a statement that is.

So I thought I’d write about it.

When I first began my journey to be a healthier person, I wasn’t really sure where it would take me or even how I’d get there. I just knew that I needed to begin. I also knew that I had to take it slow, at least at first, or I’d just end up spinning my wheels and would get very far. Baby steps. One thing at a time.

It reminds me of a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

I never imagined I’d end up becoming a runner.

I never imagined I’d love it.

I never imagined I’d start doing local races. And love it.

When I first started working with Tyler, he asked me what some of my goals were. I explained a bit about my journey, and that one of my goals was to walk in and complete a 5k event. I’d given myself a year to complete that goal. With Tyler’s help, I was able to complete that goal in less than 4 months.

It was a very hot and extremely humid day in July 2012. It was a small local race put on by a friend of mine. And I was the only one walking it. A spectator asked if he could walk along with him, and I said yes. I found out his girlfriend was one of the runners. He and I became good friends that day. Not far from the finish, I had to sit down on a bench because I was having trouble breathing. (I had forgotten my inhaler). After a few minutes, I was able to continue. When I rounded the last corner right before the finish line, I was amazed to see so many people waiting. As soon as they saw me, they started cheering, and I’m pretty sure I started tearing up. I remember an incredible sense of pride and accomplishment as I crossed the finish line that day.  It was one of the hardest things I’d done up to that point, and that made that feeling all the more special.

That finish line was a thing of magic.

In that moment, I knew my life would never be the same.

In that moment, I knew that I wanted to do that again.

About 6 months later, I started running. have completed 29 other races.

And since that first race in 2012, I have completed 29 other races. Mostly 5Ks, although there was one 10k and one half-marathon.

And the feeling is the same every time I cross the finish line.

It’s like magic.

No matter the distance, no matter how long it took me to get there.

I crossed the finish line. Every. Single. Time.

In 2015, I took on one of my biggest challenges – completing a half marathon. An incredibly intimidating goal to me, especially considering I’d never done more than 10k before. But I was determined to do it.

I had almost a year to prepare for it, so I did a lot of research to find an appropriate training plan. I eventually found one that was close and adjusted it to make it more appropriate for me.

Every run had its own finish line. Whatever the distance that day, I wouldn’t stop until I reached it. I’d carefully map out my runs to make sure I could cover the distance. I often planned them so I’d end at my favourite coffee shop. As the weeks of training continued, the runs got longer, and I’d have to remap to make sure I covered at least the distance necessary. Often, my runs were a little bit longer than they needed to be. There were days that were hot and humid (even early in the morning), but that didn’t stop me. One of my longest runs was done in the rain, 17.25k, but I didn’t let that stop me either. Another run my back seized up with about 2k to go, but I just kept moving forward.

I trained for 4 months. 4 runs a week. Every single run I did by myself. And some days it was very hard. It’s not easy training alone. Especially for something so big. There were days I didn’t want to run, but I did it anyway. Some mornings I wanted to sleep in, but I got up anyway. I was determined to cross that finish line.

Things didn’t go very well on race day. Things happened that were completely out of my control, but I didn’t let that stop me. I kept moving forward. It took me longer than I’d hoped, but in the end, I crossed the finish line. And once again, I knew my life was changed forever.

Now, when I think I can’t do something, I think about my races. 30 races total. And I have finished every one. Every. Single. One. Often I’m the very last person in, but that doesn’t matter to me. And crossing the finish line never gets old. I get goosebumps every time. I often tear up. Because I’ve accomplished something truly amazing. Every goal I set has its own finish line. Only I can see it, but it’s there. Every time I accomplish something I set out to do, I cross that finish line.

The finish line is a thing of magic. It makes you feel like you can accomplish anything.

 

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Why I love being a runner

I think some people were just born to be a runner. But I don’t think I’m one of those people. I never liked running. In fact, I hated it as a kid.

But I don’t think I’m one of those people.

I never liked running. In fact, I hated it as a kid. Growing up, my asthma was really bad, which prevented me from doing a lot of stuff. Plus I’ve been overweight most of my life.

So exactly how did I become a runner?

That’s a good question.

The answer is I don’t know.  Which I realize sounds funny, but it’s the truth.

When I was working out with Tyler, he had me start running as part of my workouts. I remember early on in our time together I joked several times about how I don’t run.

I remember early on in our time together I joked several times about how I don’t run. I don’t know if that’s where he got the idea, but one day he had me run on the treadmill. I was terrified I was going to fall off. That first run was only 30 seconds, but damn, it felt like forever! It took a while, but I was eventually able to run much longer. And then we moved outside, which I found much harder at the beginning. Eventually, I came to love running outside and dreaded when I had to be on the treadmill.

After Tyler and I stopped working together, I continued to run.

I think that’s when I knew I loved running.

So why do I love being a runner?

That’s another good question.

And it’s a much longer answer.

For one, I find it challenging. I put everything I have into every run. I’m not fast. At all. When I talk about running, I often say that “I have one speed … and it ain’t fast!” There are people who walk faster than I run. But I don’t care.

Which leads me to the next thing. A runner is a runner. It doesn’t matter what you look like, doesn’t matter where you live, doesn’t matter your speed, doesn’t matter how long you’ve been running, doesn’t matter how often you run. None of that matters. If you run, you’re a runner. Period. I love that.

Which, of course, leads me to the next thing. The running community. This might be one of the biggest reasons I’ve continued to run. Runners stick together. A runner supports other runners. No matter what, there are always people cheering me on, encouraging me. Even if, or maybe especially if, we are strangers. Every race I do, there are people waiting at the finish line to cheer for me and tell me I did a great job. I love that. They may never realize just how much something like that means to someone like me. And here’s the thing about the running community, runners are everywhere. So no matter where I go, where I run, where I talk about running, there are runners there. I’ve connected with a lot of runners all over the world through social media. And we support each other because we are all runners. The running community is the most inclusive group I’ve ever been a part of. If you run, you’re part of the running community.  Everyone is welcome. How awesome is that!

Which leads me to the next thing. Racing. I love doing local races. Every race I’ve done so far has been a local race. Some day I’ll expand to races farther away, but for now, I’m happy to do all the local races I can. And doing local races helps support charities and causes in my community, so it’s a win/win really. Most of the time, I’m the last one across the finish line. But I don’t care. The point is, I crossed it. I’ve only been running about 4 years. I’ve done about 30 races total in that time. And I have always crossed the finish line. I’m very proud of that, and I think that it is one of my greatest accomplishments.

I’m sure there are a lot more reasons why I love running, but I think these are the biggest ones.

If you’re a runner, why do you love it?

 

 

 

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Apologies

It’s been a while since I posted anything.

Too long.

I’m sorry about that.

I don’t really have a good excuse for not posting anything lately. I just didn’t feel like I had much to say. And when I tried to write, nothing came together.

I just didn’t feel like I had much to say. And when I tried to write, nothing came together.

And when I tried to write, nothing came together. That happens sometimes. I really want to write something, but it just doesn’t happen. I can’t seem to get the thoughts out of my head.

But I’m feeling better mentally these days, so hopefully, I’ll be able to post things more often. I already have a few ideas kicking around in my head. I think that’s a good sign.

Hopefully you’ll see some more posts soon. And on a more regular basis too.

It’s good to be back.

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2017: A year for rebuilding

I don’t make resolutions, haven’t for many years. I prefer to make goals.  “Resolutions” doesn’t have the same commitment to it as “goals” does.  At least in my opinion.  I didn’t make any real goals last year.  I started the year feeling very burned out and just couldn’t wrap my head around what to do next. But that’s in the past. Nothing I can do about it, except learn from it.

I didn’t make any real goals last year.  I started the year feeling very burned out and just couldn’t wrap my head around what to do next. But that’s in the past. Nothing I can do about it, except learn from it.

So now it’s 2017. I had already been thinking about goals for the year long before the new year rolled around. I already had it in my mind a few things I want to do this year. As the year progresses, new goals will be added. That’s one thing I’ve learned, you can always add to your list. You don’t need a new year, a new month, a new week. Just add to your list as you go along. Sure, I have a list of big goals, big dreams. I’m sure most people do. But I’ve learned over the last few years that it’s important to make smaller goals along the way to the big ones.

As the year progresses, new goals will be added. That’s one thing I’ve learned, you can always add to your list. You don’t need a new year, a new month, a new week. Just add to your list as you go along. Sure, I have a list of big goals, big dreams. I’m sure most people do. But I’ve learned over the last few years that it’s important to make smaller goals along the way to the big ones. I will often take a big goal and break it down into smaller ones to make it more manageable and less intimidating. I’ve noticed I accomplish more doing it that way.

So what do I have on the horizon for 2017?

Rebuilding.

That’s my main goal of the year.  I spent much of 2016 injured and feeling burned out. Consequently, I lost much of what I gained in previous years.  So I’m dedicating 2017 to rebuilding.

I decided I needed a plan. I did well in 2015 because I was following a training plan to prepare for my first half marathon. I also decided that I basically needed to start from the beginning and work my way back up. I knew I couldn’t start where I left off. I had to ease my way back in, to prevent burnout and injury. I also decided that I would work on one month at a time.

With that in mind, in December, I started to map out a plan for January.

I took the training plan I used in 2015 and stripped it down to the basics. I scheduled in run/walks, strength training, cross training, stretching, food prep, and rest. That might seem like a lot, but it’s not really.

I decided I would not worry about time or distance with my run/walks.  Some days I might be able to do more than others. Some days I might struggle a lot.  I lost much of the base I had, so I need to rebuild it.  Almost from scratch. The point is to get out there and do what I can.  After Christmas, I bought new running shoes, which I needed, as well as grips to help if it’s icy. I also have relatively easy access to the indoor track, so I really don’t have much of an excuse not to do it.

So that’s the first part of rebuilding. Run as much as I can. Walk when I need to. Just get out there and do it.

The strength training and cross training is similar. Do what I can. I don’t have a gym membership, but I don’t necessarily need one either. I know many exercises that don’t require being in a gym, and most require little to no equipment. I have a few things at home that I can use. And if there are days that I feel like I need more equipment, I can always pay the day rate at a local gym. Again, the point is to do what I can. And also not to overdo it. Every little bit counts.

Food prep has been a constant. It’s something I enjoy doing every week. I need to keep doing it, making sure I have plenty of healthy meals and snacks ready.

Rest and recovery are vital elements to any fitness plan. Something I need to remember.

The same goes for stretching. I need to incorporate that more. Add more moves to what I already know. There is always room for improvement.

It might seem like a lot, but it really isn’t. And I made the plan flexible enough that I can move things around when necessary. A few days in and things are going well. Towards the end of the month, I will map out the plan for February.

Much of this year will be devoted to rebuilding. My main focus is to get back into running and working out on a regular basis. This is something I really neglected last year. As the year goes on, I look forward to seeing the progress I will be making. I’m looking forward to doing great things.

Other things I am working on this year are reading more books, more meditation, more journaling, more writing, more positive thinking, more learning.  All of these things are part of rebuilding my commitment to being a healthier person.

I’m looking forward to a great year.

 

 

 

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2016 In Review

Well, what to say about 2016.

It was a challenging year for me. Much more challenging that I would have liked.

I started the year feeling rather burned out from a very busy 2015 and with an injury that I was in complete denial about.

It actually took me a few months to realize what I was feeling was burn out.  I had accomplished 2 very big goals in 2015, and suddenly I didn’t know what to do. I had put so much time and energy into those goals that when it was time to think about new goals, I just couldn’t. I felt a little lost and unsure of myself. I didn’t know what to do. Okay, I know that sounds strange. And maybe I’m not explaining it just right. But that’s really the only way I know how to describe it.

And the injury. Well, that’s another story. Looking back, I think the injury actually occurred at the end of my half marathon. My left foot was a little sore, but I expected to be sore after the race. It didn’t really bother me that much. Except when I ran. And to be honest, I didn’t do a lot of running over the winter. I chalked it up to needing to get new shoes. And then I knew I needed to get a new pair of custom orthotics. When I did my first race in April 2016, I had some soreness, but attributed it to not doing much running for the last few months. Same when I did a race in May. There wasn’t a lot of pain, just enough to bother me. And I only noticed it when I was running. I was still feeling very burned out, so I didn’t run much. I walked a lot, though.

Then came the Canada Day 5k on July 1st.

I was feeling some soreness almost from the start of the race. I had a cramp in my right calf, as well as the soreness in my left foot. I attributed the cramping to not stretching or warming up much before the race.  As the race went on, the pain became almost unbearable. Even walking was not helping. About the middle of the race, my friend Karen met up with me (after she had long finished). I told her about the cramp in my leg. She had me stop and then she took a water bottle and rubbed it up and down on my leg. It helped tremendously! I was able to continue on. But the pain in my left foot just got worse. But I refused to give up. I had never not finished a race and I was not about to start that day! Karen had to leave me, but my friend Lani and her kids took over. They walked with me the rest of the way. It took a lot of effort to cross that finish line. That’s when I stopped denying I had a problem.

I booked a doctor’s appointment as soon as I could. The doctor said my foot was swollen, but she didn’t think there was anything seriously wrong. She couldn’t feel anything broken. She advised me to that I needed to take it easy for a while. No running, not even much walking. She also told me I should replace my orthotics right away.  I was happy to hear that she didn’t think it was too serious, but bummed about not being able to run. When I asked her for how long, she said probably a couple of months. I had wanted to do more races, but knew that my foot really needed the rest. So I did as my doctor said. It wasn’t easy at first, but eventually got used to it. I was used to doing a lot of walking but knew that I needed to take it easy on that too.

To be honest, I was mentally glad for the break. I had been pushing myself so much that I think this was the universe’s way of saying to slow down and take it easy.  It gave me a chance to recharge myself. Without feeling the pressure of having to run, I felt freer. I realized that I had lost the love of running. I needed the break more than I realized.

After about 3 months, my foot was finally starting to feel better. I had replaced my orthotics, which really helped. I wasn’t quite ready to run again yet, but I did start walking more. It was almost 4 months before I went for my first run. My friend Meggan and I did a walk/run together.  A little slower and a little more walking than I would have liked, but I did it and it felt good.

I was finally feeling like I could love running again.

I also knew that it would take time to get back to where I had been. I basically needed to start back at the beginning and rebuild. I would need to take it easy at the start so I didn’t get injured again.

I even did another race in early December. It felt good to be out there again, even if it was rather cold that day.

I had planned on doing another one in December, but they had to cancel it because of the weather.

2016 was also a challenge mentally.  I felt drained and exhausted much of the year. Which is why I didn’t do much blogging. Every time I tried to write something, I just couldn’t. I was blocked. Nothing made sense when I did manage to write. I’m finally feeling good about writing again too.  Hopefully that will continue throughout 2017.

I’m glad 2016 is over. And I’m looking forward to a great 2017!

 

 

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And the award for the best story goes to …

Okay. I know it’s been a while since I posted anything. I’ll explain that in another post. But for now, let me tell you what happened today …

 

So awhile back I decided that I needed to get my butt back in gear and running again. I wrote up a plan that would start with the new year. I lost a lot of the running base I add due to injury (more on that later) and need to rebuild. So my plan is to start out slow, run when I can and work my way back up to what I know I’m capable of doing. With that in mind, I decided to go out of my comfort zone and do a Resolution Run on January 1st. My local running store does one every year and I decided this would be the year that I would tackle it.

With that in mind, I decided to go out of my comfort zone and do a Resolution Run on January 1st. My local running store does one every year and I decided this would be the year that I would tackle it.

I got new running shoes for Christmas, so I was a little excited to break them in.  I also got grips for my shoes so I could run outside when it’s snowy/icy.

I wasn’t sure if I would need the grips this morning, but I took them with me anyway. The sidewalk and road by our house were icy, but that didn’t mean it would be icy near the running store. The route would be part sidewalk, part road. And there is a giant hill involved. I was excited, although a little nervous.  When we got to the store, the sidewalks didn’t look that bad. I ultimately decided not to use the grips. Looking back, I should have used them. Read on to see why …

So we head out to the start. This is when I notice the sidewalks look icy than I first thought. But too late to go back to put the grips on.  I knew that I would need to be extra careful.  I never worry about how long it takes me to finish, I just worry about finishing. That’s always my first goal – cross the finish line. Anyway, so off we go and lots of people are being extra careful. There were a few slight slips at the beginning, but no one fell, so that’s good. Pretty soon everyone was way past me, but I don’t really mind. I’m pretty well used to that.

We had been warned that there was a big icy patch at the corner where we turn. I was prepared for that. I get to the corner, see the ice, and carefully cross the road.  Now here is where I messed up. I was thinking there was a sidewalk as soon as I crossed the road. It’s been a while since I ran in this area, so I didn’t remember that the sidewalk starts a little farther up the road. Anyway, after crossing the road, I end up walking in the parking lot, which of course is covered in ice. I’m trying to figure out how to get off the ice safely and get back to the road or to where the sidewalk is. I make it to the area where there is snow. It’s not far to the road, so I think I can just gingerly step through the snow to the road.

Wrong. So wrong.

I get about halfway across when I step on a spot that is not firmly packed, and I sink into the snow up to my thigh. Just one leg. I try to get myself out, and sort of manage to, but then I fall again into the same area. Now I’m really stuck. Looking back, I remember thinking I hope I don’t ruin my brand new shoes. I went straight down, so I didn’t think I was hurt. There was a woman across the street who was running and she saw me fall. At first, she didn’t know I was stuck, but as soon as she realized I couldn’t get out, she ran across the street to help me. She didn’t have gloves on, so she ran back across to her car to get her gloves, then back across to me. While she did that, I called my husband who was nearby waiting for me to finish. At this point, a gentleman showed up as well to help. Between the 2 of them, they helped me get out of the snowbank and over to the road. Then they helped me across the road to where my husband picked me up. He drove me back to the running store. I was a little shaky, and pretty embarrassed, but I was okay.

When I got back to the running store, I think they were a little surprised to see me back so soon. I explained that I had fallen. I was okay, just a little shaky. I was upset because I’ve never not finished a race before.  They asked if I wanted to go out again, and I said no, I was afraid to fall again. They gave me the option of doing a different route so I could still finish the race.  I was happy with that. So while the others were making their way back, my husband and I were walking the remainder of the distance near the store. When my friend Meggan finished, I explained to her what happened. She asked if I was okay. I said I was, just a little shaky. My pride was hurt more than anything. She walked with me for a bit to finish the distance of the race. I was starting to feel a little sore, but nothing too bad. I did notice a small cut on my left ankle. I might have some bruising, but overall I’m okay.

As Meggan and I were talking after the race, we began to find the humour in the situation. Looking back, it is pretty funny. I can only imagine what people driving by must have thought seeing me stuck in that snowbank. I’m short anyway, so having my leg stuck in that snowbank almost all the way up must have looked pretty funny. Meggan said they are probably telling their family and friends “guess what I saw today!” And then I said, “and yeah they probably won’t be believed. Sort of like saying you saw Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster.” We both thought that was pretty funny too.  And then Meggan said, “Just think. You started the race, got stuck in a snowbank, had 2 strangers help you out, and you still managed to cover the distance! And the award for the best story goes to …”

So there it is.

I decided to start the new year by doing a 5k race. I fell into a snow bank and got stuck. My pride took a big hit. I was rescued by 2 strangers. But I still managed to cover the distance. Whoever said running is boring.

Heck of a start to the new year. It didn’t go as planned. But it worked out in the end.

And now I have a heck of a story to tell again and again.

I almost wish I had a picture of me stuck in that snow bank. Almost.

 

Happy New Year!

 

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Mindset

I’m participating in a webinar this summer called Summer of Success, hosted by Mark Black.  I’ve often thought about doing one of these, but never really had the chance to for one reason or another.  When the opportunity came up for this one, I just couldn’t pass it up.  It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling a lot lately.  I’m hopeful that this webinar will help me move forward.

This week’s topic was on Positive Mindset.

One of things I learned early on in my journey to be a healthier person is that mindset is everything.  If you don’t have the right mindset, you won’t have true success.  I know that’s why I failed over and over again in the attempts I made in my teens and 20s.  Once I changed my mindset, I found the success I desired.

Mindset is how you view everything.

Do you see things in a positive light? Or a negative one?

When something bad happens, do you look for what good might come of it? Or do you dwell on the bad?

Simply put, do you see the glass half-full or half-empty?

I’ll admit I don’t always have a positive mindset.  I try my best, but sometimes I find myself thinking negatively.  I know I need to change how I’m looking at the situation, but it’s not always easy.  Sometimes I can do so relatively quickly; other times, it takes me a long time to turn my thinking around.

When I first received my cancer diagnosis, I was devastated.  I remember thinking my life was over.  I couldn’t see anything positive about it.  Even as the doctors told me it was caught early and that the prognosis was good, I couldn’t see past the disease itself.  I never feared cancer growing up.  It didn’t run in my family so I never thought to fear it.  I feared heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol because those did run in my family.  But there I was sitting in that doctor’s office hearing the words no one ever should have to hear.  As I slowly told family and friends, did my own research and saw more doctors, I realized it was not as bad as the word implies.  I was lucky.  The cancer was found early, and it’s location meant that it was the type that it did not spread quickly.

The more I learned, the more my thinking shifted. 

The more my thinking shifted, the more I realized I had been given the opportunity to change my life. 

I could continue to be the couch potato and junk-food junkie I had been most of my life, or I could look at this as my chance to make my life better.

I could learn to make healthier choices. I could learn to be a more positive person. I could learn to enjoy exercise (for perhaps the first time ever).

As weird as it sounds, I began to look at my cancer as a gift.  I was being given the chance to become a better person – both mentally and physically.

So that’s what I did.

It’s not been an easy road.  I had a lot of struggles at the beginning.  A lot of things were thrown in my path: nearly losing my dad, the death of my stepmom, the deaths of 2 of my beloved cats, and the death of my mom — all in just over a year.  None of them were easy.  Any of them could have broken me.  But I refused to let them.  I was building a new life for myself.  I stumbled and fell a lot, but I always got up.  I refused to give up.  And with each thing I overcame, I became a better person.  I began to see everything in a different light.  And let me tell you, it really does make a difference.

Friends began to tell me how much of a difference they could see.  Not just in my physical appearance.  I seemed happier.  I smiled more.  I laughed more.  I was more open.  The more I looked for the good, the more I found.  Funny how it happens that way.

Two years ago, my husband and I were in a car accident.  Yes, I was upset about it.  But I surprised myself but almost immediately looking at the good side of it.  It was a single car accident and we both walked away with only minor injuries.  It could have been so much worse.  And I could have dwelled on that fact, but I chose not to.  I chose to see just how lucky we both were.  I think that made a huge difference in the healing.

My journey to be a healthier person has not been easy.  And right now I’m going through a lot of struggles.  I’ve been dwelling a lot on the past.  This week I was reminded just how important it is to have a positive mindset.  It’s always been there, in the back of my mind. And right now the negative thoughts are trying to squash it.  But it’s starting to fight back, fighting to get back to the top where it belongs.  And I’m going to do whatever I can to get it back up there.

I know it’s not an easy road, but I’m determined to get where I want to go.  And I’ll get there.  I’m positive.

 

 

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My friend Juliet

There are a few people in my life that inspire me and make me want to be a better person. They inspire me to be kinder, more open, gentler … just be a better person.

Juliet is one of those people.

I wouldn’t be surprised if she is that kind of person to many others.

Juliet is a beautiful person, inside and out. Her smile lights up the room, and her laughter is magical.

She’s kind and understanding. 

She’s full of life and love. 

She shows compassion and kindness to everyone. 

She’s smart and funny. 

She’s incredibly creative. 

She makes everyone feel important and worthy of love. 

She’s one of the hardest-working people I know. 

She has a huge heart.

She’s just an amazing person.

Talking to her, no matter the subject, always makes me feel better. I feel lighter somehow, even if we are just talking about events of the day. I just love being around her.

I admit that when I first met her, it took me awhile to open up and allow our friendship to grow. I don’t make friends easily, but she made it easy. 

I feel like I’ve grown since I met her. I’d like to think that being friends with her has helped me be a better person — kinder and gentler to myself and others, and more open to the world in general.

She’s the kind of person that just makes the world a better place just by being here.

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