My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

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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My friend Heather

If we are lucky, we have at least a few dear friends throughout our lifetime.

If we are very lucky, we find a friend like my friend Heather.

Heather and I have not known each other long, yet it feels like we’ve known each other forever.  We met a few months ago because we work for the same person, Nick Foley.  I have been working with Nick’s company Celebrate the Hero for almost 2 years; Heather has been working with him on his non-profit Move for Inclusion.  And for the last few months, I have been working with Nick and Heather on Move for Inclusion as well.  And that’s how Heather and I met.

I have to say that I liked her immediately.  She is one of those people that always seems to be smiling, and her smile just lights up the room.  And when she walks into a room, people just seem to gravitate to her.  At least that’s how it seemed to me.

Generally, I’m a shy person.  It takes awhile for me to open up to people, to get to know them, to let them get to know me.  But every once in awhile, I meet someone that is different; someone that I just connect with.  Heather is someone like that.

It’s kind of hard to explain.  We just seemed to click.  I found it easy to talk to her.  We can talk about anything and everything.  And she seemed to actually listen to what I was saying … I mean really listen.  To be honest, that doesn’t seem to happen often enough.  I’m sure we’ve all had instances where we are talking to someone but you can tell they just aren’t really listening.  I’ve been with Heather on several occasions when she’s been talking to others, and she always seems to really listen to them.  She makes people feel like they are the most important thing in the world at that moment.  It’s really quite amazing.

Heather and I seemed to have quite a bit in common, which is always nice to find.  And we work well together too.  We are serious when we need to be, but also love to joke around and have fun.

Heather has a such a beautiful heart.  You can tell how much she cares about everyone.  She’s kind, gentle, loving, and caring.  She’s funny, fun-loving, and silly.  She’s generous with her time and attention.  And she’s very smart, too.   She’s just an all-around amazing person.  She makes the world a better place just by being in it.  And she inspires me to be a better person.

I’m happy we met.

I’m happy we work together.

But most of all, I’m happy to call her my friend.

 

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New challenges

So we’re a couple of weeks plus into the new year now and I’m doing my best to push myself, but it’s not been very easy.  Running outside here in the winter is not easy.  I don’t mind the cold so much, but it’s hard to run with snow and ice on the ground.  I don’t have gear for that.

Right after the new year, I was able to do a few short runs before we got the first real snowfall of the year.  I have asthma, although it is well controlled.  Most of the time it doesn’t bother me at all.  But it does when it’s really cold.  The super cold air burns my lungs.  That’s why I was only able to do short runs.  Anyway, because of the cold and the snow and the ice, I haven’t been able to do much running outside.  I have been able to walk a bit, but even that hasn’t been much.  I can use the indoor track, but to be honest, I have been a bit bored with it.  And I still haven’t been able to get back into a gym, so I don’t have access to a treadmill.

So what’s a runner to do?

Well the logical answer is to get gear to run outside in.  I’m working on that.  And I’m still working on getting back into a gym too.

So what else do I do?

I do what I can at home.  I work to strengthen my legs to help make me a better runner.  I work on my core.  I do things every day to help me along in my journey.

So with that in mind, I’ve set up some new challenges for myself.  Some daily, some weekly.  Nothing too big.  Just little things to keep me moving and motivated.

I have a small group on Facebook with some friends.  We are all on our own journeys.  We use the group to share stories, offer support, and try to keep each other motivated.  With that in mind, we set up weekly challenges.  Something for us to do each day for a week.  And then the next week, we change it to something else.  Again, nothing big, nothing too hard.  The first week, it was 10 squats a day; the second week, it was 10 lunges a day.  No pressure either.  Do the challenge or don’t, no judgement.

Along those same lines, I joined a 3 week challenge put on by my friend Wendy on Facebook.  Part of what drew me to this challenge is that it’s all about glutes.  This one is more challenging, to say the least!  So far, we’ve done all squats, different variations, with rest days mixed in as well.  OMG! My legs burn by the end of each day’s workout.  I’m interested to see what else she has in store for us.  I hope she plans on doing more challenges after this one is over.

I also started doing meditation.  This is a bit out of my comfort zone.  I’ve never done it before, but I’ve always been intrigued by it.  I did a little research on it, and watched a few videos on you tube.  I got a new yoga mat for Christmas, so I figured this would be a good use for it.  I laid down on the floor on the mat, closed my eyes, and just listened to myself breath.  I turned the tv and my phone off so that the room was quiet.  The first time, it only lasted a couple of minutes.  But each day, it lasted a little bit longer.  I tried sitting up, as well as laying on my bed.  The floor seems to be the best position for me at this point.  My goal is to do meditation every day, even if it’s just a few minutes.

I also spend several minutes stretching.  When I first joined a gym, I took a stretch class.  I don’t remember everything we did in the class, but I remember quite a bit.  I stretch for at least 10 minutes, but preferably more like 20.  I’m always looking for new moves to add.  Again, I do this every day.

After stretching, I do at least 1 plank.  Sometimes it’s a regular plank (also called a solider plank); other times it’s a bridge plank.  I hold it for as long as I can.  Some days are better than others.  Sometimes I struggle to get to 30 seconds; others, I can hold a full minute.  Again, something I do on a daily basis, or at least try to.

My goal is to keep myself moving.  I’m hoping setting up these daily and weekly challenges will do that, and encourage me to do more and more.  Hopefully, the things I’m choosing to do will also help make me a better runner.  Time will tell there.  But I’m feeling good about all this.

As I go along, I’ll add things as I think they are needed.  I do have a few things at home I can use to work out — a set of resistance bands, a kettlebell, some dumbbells (2lb, 5lb, 10lb), an aerobics step, and 2 stability balls.  I also got a foam roller for Christmas, which I’m still figuring out how to use.  I am looking forward to nicer weather, where I can be outside again.  But until then, I’ll do what I can inside.  Tyler taught me quite a few exercises that don’t require special equipment.  And there is also you tube if I need more.

All in all, I’m feeling pretty good with how things are going so far.

And it’s a good start to the year.

 

 

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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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Egg Nog Jog 5k/10k (2014)

So this morning I did my sixth 5k race of the year.

And it was the 4th new race for me this year!

This one was in a neighbouring town, about 30 minutes away.  I still consider that a local race.

I was attracted to this race for a few reasons:

1) free entry, but they were asking for donations for local Coats for Kids program

2) local race

3) new race for me

As always, I was a little nervous before the race.  Today it was mainly because I had never run this one before.  And also because none of my friends who run were going to be there.

The race was put on by the local running store, and that’s where we met beforehand.  I got there with plenty of time to spare.  I got signed in, got my bib and pinned it on.  I was happy to see quite a few participants there.

Soon it was time to head over to start line.  The start was across the street from the store, at a local school.  We got a new last minute instructions and then we were off!

I had struck up a conversation with a lovely lady just before we started.  We continued chatting as we headed out.  She was walking, I was running.  Like I’ve said before, I’m a slow runner, so she and I were side-by-side.

The air was a little chilly this morning, and I’m not used to running in the cold yet, so I switched to powerwalking.  I ran a little bit here or there, but mostly I was walking.  I didn’t mind though because I had someone to talk to.

I remembered to turn on my running app, but decided not to use my music to see how it felt to run a race without it.  I did miss it a little, but because I’ve listened to it so often, I could pretty much hear the songs in my head LOL.

Much of the course was relatively flat, although a little bit before the turnaround, there was a rather large hill.  It was downhill on the way out, but had to go back up it on the way back.  It didn’t scare me though.  Okay, it didn’t scare me too much LOL.  On the way back, I tackled it head on, didn’t even slow down!  I was a little winded at the top, but I kept going.

I cheered on all the runners as they went by us.  And they cheered me on too. (I love that about the running community).

As we neared the end, I switched back to running.  I wanted to cross the finish line running.  And I did.

One of my favourite things about racing is crossing the finish line.

And I was pretty pleased with my time too.  My official time was 1:03:40.  I think that’s pretty good for me, especially since it was a new race and a route I’ve never done before.  I’m pretty proud of myself.

I walked around a bit, cooling myself down.  They were cleaning up the water station.  I was going to ask someone to take a picture of me, but my phone decided at that moment to die.  I hate that.  The race director had her phone and she graciously took a picture of me with the firemen who were there.

Then we headed back over to the store for refreshments.  I had some egg nog mixed with coffee.  It was delicious!  And a piece of apple bread.  I opted not to have a cookie.

Most of the runners stuck around to chat with each other.  Another thing I love about racing/running.  I met some really nice people, made a few new friends.

And because we were at the local running store, I admired lots of products.  And I mentally created a wish list for Christmas LOL.

Finally it was time to head out.  Dan was waiting for me at his office, which was a few blocks away.  I said my goodbyes, zipped up my hoodie and headed there.  And as I did, I could feel myself grinning from ear to ear, and my heart full of joy.  More than 80 people ran or walked in the race today, and well over $1300 was raised for Coats for Kids.  Today was a great day!

I really enjoyed this race.  And I hope to do it again next year.

 

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“Win the day”

this post was inspired by my friend Nick Foley.  Nick inspires me in many ways.  When I’m having a tough time, he always seems to know what to say to make me feel better.  I’m not sure he even realizes he’s doing it.

Next year, Nick will be embarking on an incredible adventure.  He’s going to be riding his bicycle across Canada, from British Columbia to Newfoundland.  You can find out more about Nick’s ride at Moveforinclusion.com

When I’m having a tough time with my training, struggling through whatever I’m trying to do, I think of Nick.  I think of what Nick is training to do.  And I think of these words he has said so many times — “Win the day”

I have goals.  A lot of goals.  Some of them are really big.  And these are the ones that scare me.  As Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said:

“If Your Dreams Do Not Scare You, They Are Not Big Enough”

Well let me tell you, my dreams TERRIFY me sometimes.  If I think too much about my end goals, my big goals, I psych myself out.  I paralyze myself.  I get scared, worried that I won’t be able to do what I want to do, worried that I will fail.  And sometimes that prevents or delays me from moving forward.

One thing I’ve learned is to break up the big goals into smaller goals.  I’ve found that I work better, do better when I have goals to work towards. And even better if those goals are more manageable.  So I have small goals, medium goals, big goals, and end goals.

Some of the goals are time-based.  Some are achievement-based.  Some are just things I want to do.

Some are daily.  Some are weekly.  Some are monthly.

By breaking up the really big goals into smaller ones, I don’t get as scared.  And I don’t necessarily have to concentrate on the big goal.  Achieving all the little goals will lead to achieving the big goals.

Will I achieve EVERY goal I set? Maybe, maybe not.  But I’m sure going to try my hardest.  And in the end, that’s what is important.

If I achieve whatever goal I’m working on, I win.

If I do my best and try my hardest, I win.

Sometimes if I’m feeling overwhelmed and unsure of myself, I tell myself that I just need to get through the day.  If I can do that, I win.

So sometimes, that’s how I look at it.

Yes, I have some very big dreams.  And yes, they scare me.

But I don’t have to do it all at once.

I don’t have to finish tomorrow.

The things I’m working on and towards are creating a better life for myself.  You might say I’m training for life.

So each day I get up and do what I need to do to make myself proud.  I work on my goals, whatever they may be.  And if I do that, I win the day.

And that’s the goal – to win each day. 

Do what I need to do that day and then move on the next and the next and the next.

And when I achieve a goal, any goal, big or small, I can look back and be proud.  And know that I won.

I won each day it took me to get where I am.

 

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Who Inspires me …

We were having a team building session yesterday at Celebrate the Hero.  We have some new people in the office, so we were going around the room asking each other questions, getting to know each other a little better.

My friend Jessica, asked me a great question — “Who inspires me and why?”

I had to think about that for a minute.  Since I began this journey, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many inspiring people.  So I really had no shortage of people to choose from.

I’m sure I’ve written about inspiring people before.  I’m lucky to have many people in my life who inspire me in different ways —

– My sister-in-law Trish inspires me to be a better cook.

– My friend Nick E. inspires me to be a better writer.

– My friends Karen and Aidan inspire me to become a better runner.

– My friend Liz inspires me to become a better blogger.

– My friend Joe inspires me to get out and enjoy life more.

I could go on and on really.  We all have people in our lives like this, whether we realize it or not, whether we admit it or not, who inspire us.

But to answer Jess’s question, I was thinking about who inspires me most?

I came up with 3 answers …

First would be my best friend Jeff’s dad Alan.  Alan is an amazing man.  He’s warm and kind and funny.  He is going through his second bout of cancer.  In spite of that, or maybe because of that, he has an incredible zest for life.  He takes things in stride.  He doesn’t seem to let things get to him.  When I’m feeling down or out of sorts, I often think of him.  When I’m having a bad day and just want to give up, I think of him.  He inspires me to keep going, no matter what.  I’ve told him before how inspiring he is to me and many other people.  I’m not sure if he realizes just how true that is.  He is someone I’d definitely call a Hero to many!

Next I’d choose my friend Tyler.  I’ve mentioned him in many of my blog posts.  He is a dear friend and a very important part of my journey.  Tyler has this very infectious happy-go-lucky attitude.  To him, every day is the best day ever.  It’s one of my favourite things about him.  You can’t help but be in a good mood when you’re around him.  He inspires me to be a better person.

And last, I’d choose my friend Nick Foley.  Nick is a very remarkable man.  He founded Celebrate the Hero, where I volunteer.  He wants to make the world a better place.  And he works very hard to achieve that.  He’s funny and kind and charming.  He’s a great writer and a fantastic speaker.  And his face lights up and his eyes twinkle when he talks about his daughter.  He has this energy about him that is contagious.  You just want to be around him, want to hear what he has to say.  I’m not sure if he even realizes that, but it’s true.  I always feel better when I talk to him.  And when I’m working in the office, I always come home feeling like I’m on cloud nine.  He makes me want to make the world a better place too.

So there you have it.  Three of the people that inspire me the most.  I could talk about them all day.  They each inspire me in different ways, in ways they may not even realize.

My life is better because they are in it.

The world is a better place with them in it.

 

So tell me … who inspires you?

 

 

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In honour of Boston

Before I started this journey, I never really paid much attention to races, not even during the Olympics.  It was just another sport.

When I did my first 5k race, I still didn’t quite get it.

But now that I’m running, I get it.

There is something empowering about running.  And even though I call myself a turtle-pace runner, I feel it every time.  It’s almost magical.

And the “runners’ high” you hear people talking about?  It’s real.

Today is the 118th Boston Marathon. (Sometimes also referred to as “Marathon Monday”)

A year ago, the race was cut short because of bombings at the finish line.  Some had already finished, but many were unable to.

I remember being shocked and horrified as I watched events unfold on tv.

And now that I’m a runner, I’m even more shocked a year later.

I may never be able to run a marathon.

But those that do, inspire me greatly.  More than I can really explain.

So in honour of those running in Boston, I set out to do a special run of my own today.

A little background first.  I have a fear of bridges.  Actually, it’s not really the bridge itself that scares me.  It’s the height.  I’m usually okay if I can only see out across the water.  But if I can see down, see just how high up I am, I’m scared.  Just driving over a bridge can freak me out.

There is a bridge near where I live.  It’s not super high, but high enough.  In 2012, I walked across that bridge with Tyler and Joe.  I was terrified, but I did it.  I even wrote a post about it.  You can read it here:  http://wp.me/p1Bqw3-2a

Last year, to prove to myself I could do it, I walked the bridge by myself.

This year, I decided to run it.  That’s right. I DECIDED TO RUN THE BRIDGE.

I wanted to do something special.

Something I was scared to do.

Something that would take everything in me to do.

So I picked today, Marathon Monday to do it.

To honour runners everywhere, but most especially those running Boston.

So this morning, after my breakfast and my morning coffee, I took my racing outfit out of the closet and put it on — grey pants with a hot pink stripe down the side, and a hot pink shirt.  Put on my yellow hoodie and my magic hat (that’s what I call the hat I wear for races).  Laced up my sneakers.  And headed out the door.

As I neared the bridge, I started to get nervous.  The doubts started echoing in my head.  I tried shutting them out.  I didn’t want to listen to them.

I got to where I planned to start my run.  I plugged my earbuds into my phone, and opened my running app.  My heart was pounding.

I hit start and off I went.

The wind was blowing hard.  Traffic whizzing by me.

I started good.  Then had to dig deep to get up the hill.

I could hear Tyler’s voice pushing me along, encouraging me.  (He’s really good at that)

I’m breathing hard, but I’m not stopping.

Don’t look down! Keep looking forward!

Finally, I was getting near the top of the bridge.  I pause very briefly to take a couple of photos.

GO GO GO!

Finally going down the other side!

Have to pause to let a bike go by. (The path is not very wide)

I’m down the other side.  Pause to turn around and head back up.

You got this, Coleman! You can do it!

I’m trying to enjoy the view as I’m running.

Another runner passes me.

I’m at the top again, heading down towards where I started.

The runner who passed me is down by the park below.  She sees me up on the bridge and waves.  I wave back.

I make it back to my starting point and decide to do it again. So I turn around and head back up the bridge.

Come on, Coleman! Dig deep!

Back up I go.  And down the other side.

Turn around one more time and head back up.

GO GO GO!

Up at the top again.  Down the other side one last time, back to where I started.

I did it!

It took me a little over an hour.  And my total distance was just over 5k.

I am so proud of myself!

In honour of Boston, I threw myself out of my comfort zone and did something I never thought I could do.

In honour of Boston, I dug deep and pushed myself hard.

In honour of Boston, today I ran.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

When I got home, I posted on my Facebook that I had completed my run.  And that I was writing a blog post about it.

And I got this comment from Tyler:

Way to go Coleman! I received an early morning text from Jim Langille who saw you crossing the Bay Bridge!?!! He sends his best. Looks who’s running to new heights, literally! So proud of you. Did you know it was Boston Marathon today as well? (Probably). There are a lot of inspiring stories in this world Jenn, you should count yourself among them! I’m going for my first run in two months this morning since injury my knee in that 1/2 marathon #soexcited! Don’t ever stop, girl! You’re running for more than just yourself… T

I’m not sure if he realizes just how much words like that mean to me.  He is a great inspiration to me.  And for him to say how inspiring I am is just beyond words.  When I read those words, I cried.  Copying them here, I cried again.

Today is a great day.

 

 

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The bridge.  (Not the best picture of it)

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The view going up the first time.

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The view coming back the last time.

 

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It’s been 2 years

2012 was a big year for me.  As it would turn out, a pivotal one in my journey.

I started going to the gym in January.  It was the first time in more than 20 years.  And the only thing I could really do was walk on the treadmill.

It was the first year of Quinte’s Biggest Loser.

I made some new friends that year.  Liz, Matt, Amy, Aidan, Andreas, Karen, and others.  All of whom have become important to me.

I started taking classes at the gym in March.  The first time ever.

2012 introduced me to a new genre of books, and I feel in love.  I don’t know why I never read fantasy books before, but at least I’m reading them now.  I’ve read books by Guy Gavriel Kay, Patrick Rothfuss, Daniel Abraham, and others.  Guy Gavriel Kay is now one of my favourite authors of all time, and some of his books are on my list of favourites of all time.

2012 brought me to the world of races in July.  I may have only walked my very first one, and I may have only done 1 that year, but I’m kind of hooked on them now.  And I hope I will just keep getting better at them.

2012 found me having the greatest success in my journey up to that point.  I had lost more weight than I ever had before.  I found strength I never knew I had.  I was feeling better than I ever had in my entire life.

2012 found me facing new challenges.

The gym I had joined at the beginning of the year was forced to close.  I had only been there 6 months.  I was devastated.  I wasn’t sure I would be comfortable anywhere else.  But I quickly found a new gym that I liked and was comfortable at.

For many years, I used food for comfort and for dealing with stress.  I had to find a new way to deal with that.  I did, although some days it’s still a struggle.

2012 is also the year I met Tyler, who would become an intricate part of my journey.

He was teaching the stretch class I started taking at the gym.  A couple weeks later, I added a second class he was teaching.  He was funny and a little goofy.  I was very nervous when I started the classes.  I couldn’t do a lot of the exercises, but I always tried.  Tyler made me feel very at ease, very comfortable.  I liked that.

I found out he was a personal trainer.  A few weeks after taking his classes, I asked him if he was taking new clients.  I was scared to ask.  Lucky for me, he said yes. We arranged a time to get together.

2 years ago today, we had our first workout together.

I remember thinking that I wasn’t sure how much he would be able to help me, but I knew I needed some help.

He changed my life in more ways that I ever thought possible.

He showed me I was capable of much more than I realized.

He helped me build confidence I didn’t know I had.

He helped open my eyes to a world I didn’t think I could be a part of.

And beyond being my trainer, he has become a very dear friend.

For all that and so much more, I thank him every day.

Thank you, Tyler, for everything … for all that I thanked you for last year, for all that you’ve done since, and for all you continue to do.  I’m lucky to have you in my life, both as my trainer and as my friend.

Happy Anniversary.

 

 

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Asking for help

This has been a tough one for me in the past.

I grew up very shy and very introverted.  I didn’t start coming out of my shell until I was in my 20s.  I did not ask for help often, even when I knew I needed it.  I would struggle through whatever was giving me trouble.  Although, admittedly, sometimes it was just my stubbornness that would get in the way.  And sometimes I think it was the fear of losing control that prevented me from asking for help.

But the older I get, the more I realize that there is no shame in asking for help.  In fact, it’s often the best thing to do.  And the idea of losing control over something just because you ask for help is quite simply a little ridiculous.  I wish I had learned those lessons when I was younger.

When I started this journey to a healthier me, I knew from the beginning that I would help… and lots of it!  At the beginning I did a lot of reading, watching health segments on tv, searching online for information.  It helped get me started, but I knew it wouldn’t be enough.  But of course, I didn’t really know where to find the help I needed.

Our friend Sharlene was the one who suggested we join Quinte’s Biggest Loser in 2012 when it started.  The first year, I think there was a group of 8 of us who joined.  I’m not sure how many joined the second year.  (And for the record, for some reason they are not doing it on this year).  They had nutrition classes, plus we got free passes to some of the local gyms and lots and lots of information.  Plus I met some really awesome people.  It really kicked up my journey in a big way.

And because I started going to the gym, I met other people who could help me, most important of all is Tyler.  Asking him to help me was the one of the scariest, yet best things I ever did.  His help has been priceless to me.

But I’ve met many people who’ve helped me too, whether they realize they have or not.  Sometimes, their help has just been being a friend, listening to my troubles, or cheering me on.  Sometimes they have given me ideas for my blog.  Sometimes they answer my questions or show me a better way to do something.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the journey is never to be afraid to ask for help.  We can all use help, whether we want to admit it or not.  I’m not afraid to admit that I need the help.

And right now, I could use some help.

I need to add exercises to the ones I already have.  Ones I can do at home or outside, not just ones for the gym.  Ones where I need little or no equipment. Know a book you think might help?  Have a favourite website? Let me know! I can use all the suggestions I can get.

I need suggestions for healthy snacks and meals.  Do you have a favourite recipe? What’s your go-to snack?

I need help with motivation and inspiration.  Do you have a favourite quote that helps you? Maybe a favourite celebrity or fitness guru? Any tips or tricks you like to use to keep yourself going when you struggle?

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