My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Thank you

A year ago, I decided that in 2015, I would take on my biggest challenge ever – my first half marathon. And I knew from the beginning that I couldn’t do it alone.  Not only would I need a solid training plan, I would need lots of support from those around me. 

I wasn’t sure what others would say, so it took me awhile before I really started talking about it.  I mean, I told a few people, but not very many.  The people I did tell were very supportive.  As I became more comfortable with the idea, I started telling more people.  Honestly, I half expected at least one person to laugh or call me crazy.  But it never happened.  

In fact, quite the opposite.

The more I talked about it, the more people were supportive, offered encouragement, and became my cheerleaders. 

It was pretty awesome.

As my training progressed, people would ask how it was going and were genuinely interested in my progress.  They would read my blog; and like and comment on my Twitter and Facebook posts.

People would see me out running and would share kind and supportive words and gestures.  Sometimes they would stop me to chat; sometimes they would just shout from their cars; sometimes they would say something as they were walking or running by me.  Some people I knew, others were complete strangers.

To everyone who took the time to encourage me all the way, I want to say THANK YOU.  Thank you for believing in me; thank you for supporting me; thank you for listening to me when I needed to talk.

And really, that’s not enough. 

Those two words just don’t cover what your support means to me.

In those moments where I doubted myself, your words helped keep me going.

In those moments when I wasn’t sure I could take another step, you reminded me that I could.

And during the race when I didn’t know if I’d make it, your kindness guided me to the finish line.

You were with me every step of the way, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

There are a few people I want to mention by name:

To my friend Karen Walsh.  Thank you for your kindness, your friendship, and your support.  Thank you for offering your advice and knowledge.  Thank you for driving me to and from races.  Thank you for always being there to cheer me to the finish line.

To my friend Jeff Zaben.  Thank you for always making me laugh when I need it. Thank you for your unwavering support.  Thank you for being my cheerleader. Thank you for being my best friend.  Thank you for reminding me how strong I am when I feel like I’m not.  Thank you for knowing when I need a friend. Thank you for being you.

To my friend Nick Foley.  Thank you for teaching me to talk in absolutes.  Thank you for believing in me.  Thank you for your constant support.  Thank you for your friendship.  Thank you for showing me I can do anything I put my mind and heart into.

Thank you all for everything you’ve done for me, and continue to do. I’m a better person because of you. My world is a better place with you in it.

Thank you.


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Half-Marathon training – Week 14 – The end.

Well that’s it. Training is over. Tomorrow is Race Day.

Seems like it was just last week that I was just beginning my training, and now it’s done.

I’m as prepared as I possibly can be.

What a ride it has been.

Here’s how the final week went:

MONDAY:  Rest day.

TUESDAY:  My schedule had me doing an easy run today, but I took another rest day instead.

WEDNESDAY:  Today was supposed to be a rest day, but I opted for a 3k power walk instead.

THURSDAY:  I opted for another 3k power walk again today.

FRIDAY:  With race day fast approaching, my nerves started to kick in, so I went walking, covering 6k.

SATURDAY:  Last day, another easy one, logging 2k.

My schedule had me doing 14.75k, and I logged 14k. I’m good with that.

So how did training go overall? 

I’m pretty pleased with how I did for the most part. 

Could I have done better?

In some areas, yes.

I didn’t do as much strength training as I should have.  It’s something I’ve been struggling with doing on my own.  When I belonged to a gym and had a workout partner, I did better with it.  But that’s another story.

I did pretty good with cross-training, but some weeks could have been better.

As far as the running went, I’m really happy with how I did. I covered a lot of kilometres. I mean A LOT! It got a little hard when my long runs got over 10k, but I kept pushing myself and refusing to give up. I had a few tough runs where part of me wanted to give up, but thankfully the bigger part of me just wouldn’t.  

I tried different fueling options throughout my training.  I actually enjoyed trying different gel flavours.  Speaking with runners on Twitter, I’ve found that gels are very polarizing, for the most part — people either love them or hate them. Very rarely is there anyone in between. Personally, I love them. They are easy to carry and easy to take. They provide much needed energy to keep me going.  There are several different brands, but I prefer the GU brand the best.  They have a wide variety of flavours, which I like.  I purchased several different flavours to use during the race.  I also tried some different chews during training.  There are not as many different flavours of those though.  I did pick up some for the race just in case.

I also trained with either plain water or Gatorade G2 red (fruit punch).  I prefer the Gatorade, and will use it during the race.  I will also take advantage of the water stations along the course.

During training, I purchased a few new pieces of gear.  First I bought running socks.  After running in them a few times, I concluded that they weren’t any better than my sport socks.  I’ll be wearing my normal sport socks during the race.  Next, I bought a belt bottle holder.  It wore it for a lot of training runs, and even a couple short races.  I really liked it.  It was easy to wear and the bottle easy to access.  I’ll be wearing it tomorrow too.  Lastly, I bought a vest.  I knew I would need something to carry my gels and things in during the race, and a vest seemed the best option.  The one I bought is actually a fishing vest, but it works perfectly.  I wore it on several training runs, even in the rain. It does exactly what I need it to, and will be wearing it tomorrow. 

As my training runs got longer, I had to get creative with my route. I wanted to make sure I stayed in areas I was pretty familiar with, that were well travelled in case of emergency, that had bathrooms nearby, and where I could get something to eat or drink if needed.  I saw a lot of the same people on my long runs.  And most of them were kind enough to share encouraging words.  They might not have any idea how much that meant to me.  It really helped when I was struggling.

I was reminded several times just how important it is to stretch.  More than once, I either didn’t do it, or didn’t do it enough, and paid for it.  Once on a long run, I felt my back tighten up.  It was a struggle to finish, but I did.  Once I did some stretching, I felt much better.  I need to remember to do it more often.

One of the things that really helped me through my training was the support I got from my family and friends.  Moments when I was struggling or was unsure if I could really do what I was trying to do, they were there to help pick me up and remind me that I could do it and how well I was doing.  That really meant a lot to me.

To finish, there are some numbers for you:

Weeks of training:  14

Number of kilometres ran/walked during training:  431.92k

Number of kilometres scheduled in my training plan:  356.5k

I ran/walked 75.42k more than I had to.  I’m pretty proud of that.  

And those numbers don’t include the month I did what I called my pre-training.  That’s another 124.89k.

So that’s it.

Nothing left to do but get a good night’s sleep.

Tomorrow is Race Day.

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Half-Marathon training – Week 13

This was the second to last week of training and that means it’s taper time!  I’ve never gone through a taper before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Up until now, I’ve done mostly 5k races, with one 10k race in the mix, so there was. I need to taper.  But I knew with this race, the taper would be necessary.  And frankly, I was looking forward to it. Life has been throwing me some curve balls lately, so I was happy to take it a little easier. I did have to move some stuff around this week, but that’s okay.

Here’s how the week went: 

MONDAY – Rest day. I did a bit of walking around and going up and down stairs at work, but that was it.

TUESDAY – I did an easy 6.5k, mostly a power walk. 

WEDNESDAY – I had to move Thursday’s workout to today. Another 6.5k, again mainly power walk. 

THURSDAY – Had to take today as a rest day because my husband had minor surgery. I did manage a few flights of stairs while waiting for him.

FRIDAY – It was a beautiful day, so I did an easy 5k.

SATURDAY – The last big run before race day.  My plan called for 10k, but I planned on pushing it to 11k. I finished at 11.25k. And it felt really good. Then did an easy 1.5k walk home.

SUNDAY – Since I did some kms on Friday, I took today as a rest day. Although I didn’t really rest because I did stuff around the house.

In total, I did 30.75k this week. Much of it was walking or power walking, but I’m okay with that. 

I did my best to not push myself too hard this week. I also have been trying to keep myself busy so the nerves won’t get to me too much. 

Slowly I’ve been gathering things for my race bag.  I’ve never put one together before, so I’m not totally sure what I need to put in there.  But with advice from my running tweeps on Twitter, I have some good ideas of what I need.

That’s really it for this week. Short and sweet. 

Race day is one week away.

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Half-Marathon training – Week 1

So I’ve completed Week 1 of my training plan.  I’ve never followed a plan like this before, so I wasn’t sure how it would go.  To be honest, I was nervous.  But I’m pretty pleased with how it went.

One thing I have to adjust to is the weeks of the plan start on Monday instead of Sunday. Hopefully it won’t take too long to get used to that.

According to the plan, Monday is a rest day.  But I didn’t want to rest on the first day, so I decided to trade Monday and Tuesday and went for a shortish run.  I ended up running a bit longer than the plan called for.

I did a stretch and core workout on Tuesday.

Wednesday was supposed to be cross training, but as it was Canada Day, I had a race.  So I changed Wednesday and Thursday this week.  The race went really well.  It was the best race and run I’d had in quite a while.  And it was a slightly longer run than the plan prescribed.

Thursday was cross training, which normally would be on Wednesdays.  

Friday was rest day.  I wanted to go for a run, but I resisted the temptation.

Saturday I did my longest run of the week, and again, I went farther than the plan said to.

Sunday was supposed to be a short run, but again, I pushed it a little farther.  It was humid so I didn’t go too far.  I should have gone out earlier than I did.  Lesson learned. 

The plan called for 14.75km, and I ended up doing 23.39km.

I’m still working on proper hydration and fueling during a run.  I did try one new power gel that I didn’t like.  It was tangerine flavoured, or at least was supposed to be.  It tasted too artificial and sugary to me.  I’m looking forward to trying more options.  I made some new energy bites that I’m quite happy with.  I made them with natural peanut butter, honey, oats, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts, and dried fruits. They were tasty and easily portable.  I will be trying slight variations in the recipe in the coming weeks.

All in all, it was a good first week.

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Canada Day 5k recap (2015)

Yesterday, I ran in my local Canada Day 5k race. I did this race for the first time last year and I really liked it, so I decided to do it again.  

A few things I like about this race are: 

1) it’s a route I’m familiar with.  It takes place at a park not too far from my house.

2) it’s cheap. Entry fee is $10 on race day.

3) because it’s a local race, I know several people who run in it.

Last year for the race, it was hot and humid.  I ended up walking more of the course than I would have liked.  And I came close to throwing up in the last kilometre of the race.  I didn’t want a repeat of that.

I’d been watching the weather rather closely.  We were expecting cooler temps, which was great.  But there was also a possibility of rain/thunderstorms, which was not great.  The forecast changed a few times in the week before the race.  I was still going to run, but I really didn’t want to run in the rain.  The night before, the forecast said there was still a possibility, but it was low.  I kept my fingers crossed for no rain.

I was particularly excited for this race because I had just started my training plan for my half marathon.  I had been running quite a bit lately and was feeling pretty good.

I woke up yesterday morning feeling excited.  I showered, dressed, and had breakfast and coffee.  I made sure I had everything I needed for the race.  I did some light stretching to warm up my muscles.  Normally, I get pretty nervous before a race, but I didn’t really this time.  I was feeling good.

My husband dropped me off at the park and I got myself registered.  I often wait until race day to register for local races.  It’s usually not a problem since they are just small races.  It was cool and overcast.  It was also a bit windy since we were down by the water.  I chatted with volunteers and other runners who showed up early.  The park around us was preparing for Canada Day celebrations, so there was a lot of hustle and bustle going on.  Other runners began to trickle in, and I was hoping I’d see several I knew.  I saw Ulana, Stephanie, and Marie.  And then Meggan and Karen.  Karen didn’t think she was going to make it, but I was glad she did.  She said she was going to be slow, she just wasn’t feeling very fast.  Karen’s nickname is “Legs”, I don’t think she knows what slow is LOL.  More runners showed up. It looked like it was going to be a good race.  I saw several more I know by sight, but not by name. 

Finally it was time to line up.  Because I’m slow, I try to position myself near or at the back so I don’t get in the way of the faster runners.  Somehow this time, I ended up near the middle.  Not quite sure how, but I guess it doesn’t really matter.  I moved to the side so that it would be easier for others to get around me.  The race director gives a few last minute instructions and then we were off!

As I rounded the first corner, I could feel tightness in my calves, particularly the right one.  I guess I didn’t warm them up enough.  But I don’t let it stop me, I just pushed through it.  The majority of the crowd was far ahead of me, but I could still see most of them.  And there were a few that weren’t too far ahead.  I said hi to the volunteers that were directing the runners in the right direction and just kept moving.  The tightness in my calves was still there, but I was doing my best to ignore it.  I was hoping to not take walking breaks, if possible.

The course is fairly flat, with only a few small hills.  But it winds around the park so it has lots of twists and turns.  It makes for a nice run actually.  I saw a few birds and squirrels, as I usually do when running in that area.  Other people were walking and running in the park, so I said hi to them as they passed me going in the opposite direction.  

The park is divided by a road, so part of the route is on that road.  As I was rounded one corner, a shuttle bus was coming around the corner going the opposite way, so I had to pause for about 15-20 seconds to let it pass me.  Not a big deal.  As the bus went by, my friend Karen spotted me.  She had long finished the race and came to pace me the rest of the way.  She walked as I ran and we chatted.  It’s always nice to have company while running.  She did really well, breaking her own record by almost a minute.  I knew she would do well.  She always does.  

We had to go through a small area of the parking lot.  It had rained the day before, so there were mud puddles.  I did my best to avoid them without slowing down too much.  As I was the last runner, one of the volunteers on a bike followed me the rest of the race, eventually being joined by another.

There is one area where we go down a side path, turn around, and head back to the main path.  As I was heading down the path, a few runners were heading back to the main part.  We gave each other cheers as we passed.  Last year when I went down to path, I saw a turtle.  I didn’t see one this year.  After turning around, Karen and I headed back to the main path. But I quickly stopped and told Karen to stop.  Up ahead of us, in the middle of the path, was a snake!!  He had not been there previously!  I HATE snakes!  I don’t even go into the reptile area at the zoo! Thankfully, he moved quickly off the path and we continued.  As we rounded another corner, we saw Meggan walking to her car.  She said she was going to grab her phone and would join us in a minute.  She eventually caught up with us and walked as I continued to run towards the finish.  So I had Karen on one side and Meggan on the other pacing me to the finish.  And two volunteers on bikes following us.  It was pretty cool. 

As I neared the finish, I could see lots of people standing around.  When they saw me, they all started cheering.  I turned to Meggan and said, “that never gets old.”

I crossed the finish line with everyone cheering and shouting words of encouragement and congratulations.  That truly is one of my favourite parts about racing.

And with the exception of pausing for the bus and the snake, I ran the whole race.  I felt really good.  It was the best run AND best race I’d had recently.  I was so proud of myself!

According to my Nike running app, the race was 5.23k and I finished in 1:02:46. I’m more than happy with that!

What a great way to start out the day, a new month, and my training plan!!

And the rain held off until Karen and I were walking to her car.

How did you celebrate Canada Day? 

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The Run for Food (2014) race recap

Yesterday, I did my 7th race of the year.  And it was another new one for me.  And it was a course I was unfamiliar with.

It was local race in a nearby town, and put on by the local running store.  It was another free entry, but they were asking for donations for the local food bank.  Hard to say no to that!

This one was called The Run for Food, a fitting name.

It was also a little bit longer than most of the races I’ve done – 7.3km.  I’ve only done one race that was longer, a 10k early last year.

This was the first time I raced this late in the year.  We had some snow recently, so I was concerned about the road/sidewalk conditions.  And if I would be warm enough.

I made a stop for coffee before I got to the store.  I figured it would help warm me up and give me some energy.  Love my coffee!

I was the first participant to arrive and get signed in.  I didn’t mind, though, because, as usual, I was nervous, so it gave me a chance to calm my nerves a bit.  Or at least try.

People slowly trickled in for the race, bringing with them lots and lots of stuff for the food bank.  It made my heart happy to see such generosity.

As it got closer to race time, I decided to grab one of the available maps just in case I got lost.  I knew I’d be at the back of the pack, and I wanted to make sure I made it back to the store.  They said there were markers, but I didn’t want to take the chance I wouldn’t see them.

So we headed out to the start line.  Some people brought their dogs and the dogs were anxious to run!  It was pretty cute.  One of them looked like the dog from the show Frasier.

Off we went, and I noticed right away that the sidewalk was a little slick.  I had been training myself most of the summer to NOT look down at the ground, but I had no choice.  I didn’t want to slip and fall.  I wish I had had those grippy things for my shoes.  It was very lightly drizzling.  Was not happy about that, but at least it wasn’t pouring rain or snowing.

I was pretty sure I had not worn enough layers either.  I had on one pair of pants, and two shirts with a hoodie over top.  I definitely need warmer clothes to run outside this winter!

Anyway, once we got past a certain point, we were running/walking on the road which was much better.  The pack left me long behind, but I didn’t really care.  I was running/walking my own pace.  I did try to keep some of the walkers in my sight, but soon they were gone too.

As I was running along the road, several cars passed me and waved.  I like when they do that.  One even honked.  And I got a couple of thumbs up too.

I made the second turn just fine, but when I got closer to the third turn, I wasn’t sure which way to go.  I had not seen any markers so I was really glad I had thought to grab the map.  After a brief look at the map, I made what I was pretty sure was the turn.  A little farther along and I was able to get back on the sidewalk, but they were still a bit slick in places.

I had to consult the map several more times to be sure I was going the right way.  I still had not seen any markers.  I was afraid I had made a wrong turn or something.  But I kept going.  A few more people waved, and one even asked about the race.

The race went through an area of the town I was not familiar with at all, and that had me nervous.  I’m pretty sure I pulled out the map at least a dozen times.  I just didn’t want to get lost.

Finally, I got to an area I was familiar with.  And I knew I wouldn’t need the map any more.

I hadn’t bothered checking the time.  The time didn’t really matter to me.  I just wanted to finish.  I had also been running/walking without my music.  Not something I’m used to doing, but because my phone had been dying quickly lately, I didn’t want to take the chance it would die before I finished.

When I made the last turn, I knew I was very close to the store, only about 1/2 a kilometre to the finish.  I was pretty excited.  The sidewalk was still slick, but I tried picking up my pace a little.  As I got closer, I could see people walking to their cars.  As I entered the store, the few people that had stayed cheered for me.

I was tired and sore and very cold.  But very happy that I finished.  I took my phone out of my pocket to stop my running app, and as I did, my phone decided to die.  Perfect timing.

According to their calculations, it was 7.3km.  According to my running app, it was almost 8km.  Not sure why the difference.  Doesn’t really matter I guess.  I finished in 1:51:47.  Not too bad for a race I’d never done before, on a route I had never done before, and having to go slower because of slick sidewalks. I’d quite pleased with that actually.  Hopefully I’ll do better next year.

It was a good race for a great cause.

And I’m happy I did it.

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November recap (2014)

Wow, another month has gone.  Time is really flying this year!  I’m not sure where it’s going, but sometimes I wish it would slow down.

Overall, November was pretty good.

I did more strength training, even getting back into a real gym a couple of times.  I almost forgot how much I missed being in a gym.  I really need to join one again.  I miss the routine.  I miss the weights.  I miss the machines.  I miss having other people around when I’m working out.

I didn’t log as many kilometres as I’d hoped, but still did well.  Between running and walking, I racked up 156 kms in November.  Much of that was at the indoor track, but I got outside as often as I could.  It’s a little harder this time of year because it gets dark earlier and it’s colder.

This will be the first winter where I will attempt to run outside, so I did a practice run a few days ago.  I layered up and headed out for a relatively easy 5km.  It felt pretty good too.  I was still a little cold, but overall, I think it went well.  Better than I thought actually.  I definitely need to get more gear for winter running though.

I even did another race, a 5k one yesterday morning.  And it was another new one for me.  You can read all about it here.

I met some awesome new people this month too.  I love that about the running community – you can make friends just about anywhere!  And everyone is so welcoming and so supportive.

I’m still battling with the scale, but I think I’m winning … finally!  With the holiday season upon us, it might be a hard battle, but I’m determined to win!

I’m doing pretty well with my eating as well.  I’m trying to concentrate on eating more fruits and vegetables.  I’m not sure if I’m getting enough protein, so I’m looking for ways to add more protein without adding more meat.  In fact, I’m trying to find ways to eat less meat.  I actually don’t eat a lot of meat, but I would still like to find other ways to get more protein.

I did eat a very small bite of cake at a dinner for Dan’s work.  And to my surprise, I found it incredibly sweet.  Too sweet actually.  So I didn’t eat any more of it.  I’m pretty proud of that.  I used to have a huge sweet tooth.  But it seems as if it’s disappearing.  Or at least lessening.

And I’ve been feeling really good later.  Both mentally and physically.  And I’m proud of that too.  Sometimes I can let things get to me, bother me.  But I’m trying hard to stay positive, and do things that make me happy.  I still have bad days, or bad moments, but I’m doing my best to have more good days than bad.

Like I said, overall November was a good month.

And I’m looking forward to December.

 

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Why do I race …

As I was out running today, this question popped into my head.  And this post basically started writing itself.

It happens like that sometimes.  Someone says something, or I say something, and suddenly I have the makings of a post for my blog.  I like when it happens like that actually.  I think some of my better posts have come about that way, sort of by accident.

So there I was running along, and something in me asked “Why do I run?”  Well, that’s a pretty easy question to answer.

I run to improve my health.

I run to test my limits, and to break through them.

I run to clear my head.

I run because I can.

And as I continued my run, another question popped into my head – “Why do I race?”

Now that got me thinking.

And I knew it wouldn’t be a simple answer.

When I first started working with Tyler, he asked me what some of my goals were.  I told him I wanted to be able to do a 5K race.  At the time, I wasn’t actually thinking of running.  I was okay with walking.  I just wanted to do a race.  He helped me get there a year before I thought I would be able to.  I still remember that first race, and always will.

So I guess the first part of the answer is because it was on my bucket list.

After that first race, I found myself thinking about others races.  That first year, I only did the one race.  But the next year, I did three 5Ks and one 10K.  This year, I’ve already done five 5Ks, with the possibility of 2 more.

So I guess the next part of the answer is because it’s addictive.  I think ALL runners who race would agree with that one LOL.

All my races have been local ones.  Almost all have been in the town where I live, 2 have been in neighbouring towns.  All my races have supported local causes, raising money for local charities.  I love that.  That’s a big reason I picked those races to do.

So the next part of the answer is to raise money for local charities and causes.

There is nothing like the running community.  Everyone is accepted.  It doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow.  It doesn’t matter if you’re new to running or have been running for years.  You pass another runner, they smile, nod, wave, give you a high five, or give you words of encouragement.  It doesn’t matter if they don’t know you personally.  You are a runner.  They are a runner.  You’re like family.  And they cheer for you as you cross that finish line, whether you win or not.

So the next part of the answer is for the comradery.

And as I continued to run, I thought of reasons why others probably race.

I do several chats on twitter, and most have to do with running and/or racing.  And I follow a lot of runners.  A lot of them give reasons like:

I race for the bling (medals)

All the races I’ve done so far have been small local ones.  Medals only go to the top runners.

I race for the food/beer after

None of the races I’ve done have given beer at the end.  They’ve all provided snacks (like milk/chocolate milk, juice, water, granola bars, fruit), but nothing extraordinary.

I race for the swag

None of the races I’ve done have given swag bags.  Some have given t-shirts, one gave a headscarf, but that’s it.  Most have done draw prizes.  I think I won something once.

I race to win.

I don’t think so.

But then that little voice inside me said “Come on, those are all good answers, but you know the number 1 reason”

And I smiled and chuckled to myself.  Yeah, I know the reason.

I don’t race to win.  I’m a slow runner.  I may never be fast enough to win a race.  But that’s okay.  That’s not why I race.

I race to finish.

Each and every time I cross that finish line, I accomplish something.  Something I didn’t think possible a few years ago.

Every time I see and hear the crowd cheering as I near and then cross the finish line, I feel an incredible sense of accomplishment.

Every race I’ve run, the goal has been to finish.  I’m not concerned about how long it will take me.  Yes, it’s nice when I have a good time, but that’s not paramount.  The goal is to cross the finish line.

And that will be true for every race I run in the future.

Why do I race?

To cross the finish line.

 

Why do you race?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Thanksgiving! (2014)

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.  It took me a while to get used to having it in October instead of November, as it is in the US.  But after living here for a little over 16 years, I’m used it.

The holiday is essential the same in both countries — You gather together family and/or friends.  You cook a big turkey dinner.  You eat a little too much (haha).

In Canada, it’s on a Monday in October.  (It’s the same day as Columbus Day in the US.)  In the US, it’s on a Thursday in November.

On both days, you can watch American football on TV.  You can also watch hockey on both days, at least this year.

What’s most important, though, is remember all you have to be thankful for.  While we should do this on a daily basis, Thanksgiving gives us an extra opportunity to do so.

And that’s why I decided to write this post.

 

I’m thankful for my wonderful family.  Even though we live far apart and don’t get to see each other very often, I love you all very much.

I’m thankful for my husband.  We’ve been through a lot in 16 years of marriage, but we got through it together.

I’m thankful for my 3 beautiful cats.  They bring such joy to my life, even though they sometimes drive me a little crazy.

I’m thankful that I volunteer with such an amazing organization as Celebrate the Hero.  It makes my soul happy.

I’m thankful to be a citizen of 2 great countries — Canada and the US.

I’m thankful to live in my beautiful town.

I’m thankful to be cancer free.

I’m thankful that I can run.  I may not be very fast, and I may not be able to run that far, but I can run.

I’m thankful to be on this journey to be a healthier person.  Even with all the ups and downs, twists and turns.

I’m thankful to all those who support me on my journey.  I can’t truly put into words how much it means to me.

I’m thankful to have an amazing group of friends.  I’m so lucky to have all of you in my life.  I hope I tell you often enough just how much you mean to me.

 

Those are just a few things I’m thankful for.  The list is in no way complete.  There is so much and so many people to be thankful for each day.  Make sure you take the time to appreciate all you have.  And tell those you love just how important they are to you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 

 

 

 

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Happy Birthday to Me 2014

Well another year has passed, where has the time gone?  Today is my birthday.  I’m 44 years old.

As always, on my birthday I reflect on birthdays past.

Last year, my husband and I were in New York City for his work, and we came home on my birthday.  I had an incredible breakfast at the hotel we were staying at.  When we got back to Canada, we had pizza for dinner with our sister-in-law and nephew.  And cake, of course. I won’t be doing that this year. Not sure exactly how I’ll celebrate this year.

Growing up, I wasn’t much into celebrating my birthday.  I mean, I was always glad when it was my birthday, but I never really had a big party or anything.  At least not that I can remember.  Not that it really made much of a difference then, or now for that matter.  I don’t need a big crowd of people around me to celebrate my birthday.  All I really need or want are my favourite people.  I know they can’t all be here in person, but they are always here in spirit.

My mom always baked my siblings and me a cake for our birthdays, whatever flavour we wanted.  And she’d make our favourite meal.  When we got older, we sometimes went out to dinner for our birthdays.  I remember being about 10 or 11 and going to Red Lobster for dinner and having my first Shirley Temple drink.  I thought I was so grown up.

Since I’ve been married, my husband and I usually go out to dinner somewhere nice for our birthdays.  One of our favourite special occasion places is a little bistro restaurant in the next town over.  We’ve been there many times, and not just for special occasions.  The food is really good.  It’s changed owners recently, and the menu changed a bit, but it’s still good

It was on my birthday one year that I found my favourite ice cream flavour — Chocolate Peanut Butter at Baskin Robbins. Rich chocolate ice cream with big chunks of peanut butter throughout.  OMG, it was so good… still is actually.  For years, I would go to Baskin Robbins on my birthday to get some.  Haven’t done that in a while.  I don’t live near one now, which is a good thing.

My favourite football team is the Denver Broncos.  I’ve been a fan for almost 30 years.  A few years ago, the start of the NFL season happen to fall on my birthday.  That year, Denver was playing in Buffalo, which is only a few hours drive from where I live.  I ordered tickets and told my husband that was what he was getting me for my birthday.  It was a rainy Sunday, but I didn’t care.  I was seeing my favourite team play in person for the first time.  The only time I got out of my seat was to stand and cheer.  It was great.  And Denver won on a last second field goal.  Best Birthday Present Ever!  My dream is to see them play at home in Denver.  Someday it will happen.

While technically it’s late summer, my birthday has always felt more like the beginning of fall.  (And I’m totally okay with that because fall is my favourite season).  It’s the near the beginning of the school year, and the beginning of the NFL season.  There always seems to be a crispness in the air that feels like fall.  And it’s not unusual to see leaves starting to change colours.

So many birthdays, so many memories.

Hopefully I’ll have many more birthdays to make many more memories.

Not sure all what I’ll do today, what memories I’ll make, but I’m looking forward to enjoying my special day.

I’m starting the day with a workout with my trainer.  Glad he’s back.  Working with him again is a gift I gave to myself.  BEST. GIFT. EVER.

Happy Birthday to me!

Now go have some cake and ice cream for me 🙂

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