My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Sometimes I feel like a duck

You know how it’s said that a duck looks calm on the surface, just gliding along the water, but underneath they are paddling like crazy? There are days I feel like that.

I do my best to stay positive, have a positive attitude, keep a smile on my face, but some days it’s effing hard!

I struggle. A lot. More than I want to readily admit.

I struggle with feeling like I belong.

I struggle with body image.

I struggle with feeling alone.

I struggle with feeling left out.

I struggle with not feeling like I’m good enough.

There are days that it takes everything I’ve got to get through the day. I’m smiling on the outside, but I’m paddling like crazy to stay afloat.

I’ve been overweight almost my entire life, so it should be no surprise that I have body image issues.  I’ve been judged and criticized and made fun of much of my life, which makes me feel very self-conscience around people, especially people I don’t know. I’ve gotten better about it in the last several years, but it still happens. Those feelings are still there.

I joined a new gym recently. I’m excited about it too. I have missed not being in one for the last couple of years. It will take me a while to get used to working out again, and I’m okay with that. So far, everyone there has been really nice and super friendly. But I still feel self-conscience about being there. Sometimes I feel like I just don’t belong or that people are secretly judging me, either for how I look or for how I’m working out. It’s crazy, I know. And I try not to feel like that, but I still do.  The other day I was on the treadmill with no one on either side of me. Then a lady got on next to me. I’m slow, and I fully own that. But with this lady next to me, I suddenly felt like I didn’t belong there, like maybe she was judging me for going so slow. I’m sure she wasn’t paying any attention to me, but in that moment, that’s how I felt.

I can’t do a lot of things other people at the gym can do. And I’m sure I could use some help with my form sometimes. But I do what I can.   When I was working with Tyler, he taught me a lot. And that’s where I’m starting now, with the things he taught me. I’m not at the level I was a couple of years ago, but I know with time, I’ll get back there. I sometimes wonder what people think when they see me there. Maybe they don’t notice me. Maybe they don’t care. Maybe they think I’m ridiculous. Maybe they are secretly cheering for me. These are things that sometimes go through my head.

I spend a lot of time alone. Probably too much. Sometimes I need to be alone to recharge. But other times I desperately want to be around people I know, people I care about. The problem is many of those people don’t live anywhere close. My family is in Missouri, Delaware, Florida, and Ohio; my best friend is in Arizona; other friends are scattered around the US and Canada.  I do have a few friends that live near me, but they are busy with their own lives and we rarely get to see each other.

These are some of the things I struggle with.

Some days I do just fine. I’m just gliding along the water.

Other days, I’m like that duck, paddling like mad just below the surface.

Leave a comment »

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.

 

 

2 Comments »

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!

 

 

Leave a comment »

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.

 

 

3 Comments »

Goodbye 2015

Well, here we are at the end of another year.

It’s certainly been an interesting one.  I upped my running game this year but faltered in other areas.  I’m still learning how to create balance.  It’s not easy.  I still struggle a lot.  I’m trying my best, but some days are really hard.  I still have days where I just want to give up.  Somehow I find the strength to push through, although I’m not sure how.  I’ve had to find a lot of strength lately, although I kind of wish I didn’t have to.  I know it’s all part of the journey, but some days I wish things were a little easier.

Anyway, let’s get on with reviewing the year…

At the beginning of the year, I set some goals for myself. Some big, some small.  Some fitness related, some not.  So how did I do with them? Let’s see …

First, I wanted to do more races. In fact, I set a goal of 10 races.  That might not seem like a lot, but for me it was.  I actually had my doubts a few times that I would be able to do it.  But I did it.

Second, I set a goal to do my first half-marathon.  This goal terrified me.  I chose a race in October so I’d have plenty of time to train for it.  After a lot of searching, I found a training plan that I thought would work for me.  I had to modify it a little, but I felt it was a good solid plan.  The training went well, and when race day arrived, I felt I was as prepared as I could be for it.  It was the hardest thing I had ever done.  Although it took me longer than I had anticipated, I did cross the finish line.  While I was physically prepared, I hadn’t really mentally prepared for it.  But I didn’t realize that until mid-race.  I gave everything I had to that race, and then some.  To be honest, sometimes I’m not sure I made it to the finish line.

I wanted to do more running this year, and I certainly did that.  I had to log a lot of kilometres in my training.  Once the race was over, though, I didn’t do much running.  I felt like I needed to rest and reboot.  In my training plan, I had built in a rest period after the race.  It ended up being longer than I had planned.  I did some short walks in the weeks after the race, but no running for several weeks.  When I did start running again, my heart wasn’t always in it.  I questioned myself a lot.  I did a lot of reflecting.  I came to the conclusion that I had given  so much to my training and the race, I was mentally exhausted and just needed a break.  I decided not to harp on it and just let myself rest.  I did do some running, but not very much.

I also wanted to get back into the gym.  While I did visit a gym here and there, I still have not joined another one.  I really do miss it.  I really do need to get a membership somewhere.  Circumstances just didn’t allow it this year.  Hopefully next year.

The other goals I had this year were relatively minor — read more, write more, spend more time with my friends.  I did read several books this year, so I’m pretty happy with that goal.  I love to read, so I always think I should be reading more.  There are several books I heard about this year that I want to read.  Hopefully I will get the chance to next year.  While I was training, I regularly wrote on my blog.  Once the race was over, I posted a couple of things but haven’t posted anything since.  Overall, I think I did pretty good with that.  I’m hoping I will do as good or better next year.  As for spending more time with friends, this one was hard.  Everyone is busy these days.  I tried many times, but to no avail.  Maybe next year will be better.

The one goal I continually need to work on is being hard on myself.  I think I did pretty good with that this year, but I know it’s an on-going thing.  It’s something I will always need to keep an eye on.

Overall, I think I did pretty good with my goals of the year.

So what else happened this year?

My job with Celebrate the Hero continued to grow.  I really love working there.  I’m continually learning new things.  It is so rewarding.  I hope things continue to go well there.

My husband and I took a short trip to Delaware this summer.  My dad got remarried, and I was able to spend time with some of my family.  Because we live so far apart, I don’t get to see them very often.  We stay in touch via Facebook, but it’s nice to actually see them. We took day trips to Philadelphia and New York City.  We crammed a lot into the few days we were there.  I wish we could have stayed longer, but at least we got to see them for a few days.

To be honest, not much else went on this year.  My training and race schedule took up a good portion of the year.  I spent as much time as I could at my favourite local coffee shop, Urban Escape.  They moved to a new location this year, but not far from their old one.  I really love that place.  I love that it feels so comfortable.  I love that everyone is so nice and friendly, especially Juliet, the owner.  It’s just a wonderful place to be.  I made a few new friends, which is always nice.  And I even reconnected with an old one.  Overall, it was kind of a quiet year.

Well, that’s it.

I hope you all had a wonderful year.

And I hope your 2016 will be a happy one.

 

 

Leave a comment »

The County Half-Marathon (2015) – race recap

Fair warning, this will be a long post.

Sorry it has taken me so long to post this.  I definitely needed some downtime after the race just to recharge, both physically and mentally.

________________________________________________________

I woke up Sunday morning with the typical pre-race nerves.  I’ve done enough races now that I knew I’d have them.  Truth be told, I’d been feeling them for a few days.  Although this time, the nerves were much stronger than they had ever been before.  I shouldn’t have been surprised, considering this would be the biggest race I had ever done before.

I was up earlier than would normally be for a race day, but I had to be.  It was going to take about an hour to get to the location, and they close the roads, so we had to be out there before that.  I showered and dressed, and then made my way downstairs for breakfast and coffee.  I added a few last minute things into the bag I was taking to the race.  And I made sure I had everything I needed in my race vest.  I took the time to do some stretching as well.  I like to do some stretching before a race because it helps calm me a bit.

Soon enough Karen arrived to pick me up.  We stopped on the way to race for coffee (for me) and tea (for her).  We made sure we had plenty of time to get there, just in case there was traffic.  As it turned out, there really wasn’t any, which meant we got to the location pretty early.  The way this race works is everyone parks where the finish line is and then you are transported by bus to your start line.  This race is a full marathon, half-marathon, and relay race.  Karen and I were both doing the half, and several other people we know were too.  One friend was supposed to do the full, but he injured himself and had to pull out.

The full marathon and relay start 2 hours before the half, which I think is a little weird.  If you think you will take over a certain amount of time for the full, there is an early start option.  There is no option for the half.

After waiting for what seemed like forever, it was finally time for us to board our bus.  As we were getting ready to get on the bus, I realized I left my belt bottle in Karen’s van.  I decided not to go back for it, thinking I’d be okay since there would be a water station about every 2 kms on the course.  We took the first one going to our start line.  Karen told me to go ahead of her, and we joked that she was going to block me from trying to run away LOL.  So we get to the start line, and we have over an hour wait until we run.  It seems like a ridiculous amount of time to wait! And all it did was give me more time to freak out.  I talked to other runners and paced around trying to keep calm, but it didn’t help that much.  I really was freaking out.  More and more runners were arriving and all that did was freak me out more!

As I was pacing around, I saw Tyler.  I didn’t know he had planned to run.  It was actually a great comfort to see him there.  We chatted for a few, and then he left to do his warm-up.  Finally it was getting closer to the time.  I checked my bag, as all the other runners were doing.  The first runners in the marathon were passing by, and everyone cheered.

The sun was mostly shining, which I was happy about, but it was very windy.  The wind made it cold.  Thankfully, I had gloves and a buff on.  I wasn’t sure if I would need to keep the gloves on throughout the race, but I was happy to have them at the start.

It was finally time to line up.  I stayed near the back, as I always do, out of respect for the faster runners.  Finally it was go time.  I was happy to finally going.  I had been going a bit crazy! All that wait time I had been questioning everything from my training to my sanity.

As I crossed the start line, I reminded myself of a few things:  This was my race, not anyone else’s.  Don’t out too fast.  No matter what, I had to cross the finish line.  Don’t worry about the time, worry about finishing.

There were a few people along the road cheering for the runners/walkers as they passed by.  I thought that was pretty cool.  There was a family with their dog, and as I went by, I said hi to them and the dog.  The dog seemed to want to join me in the race.  Everyone laughed.

The first part of the race was relatively flat.  I was totally okay with that.  I slowed to a walk at the first water station, grabbed a drink, and moved on.  The scenery was pretty.  I thought about pausing a couple of times to snap some pictures, but I never did.  As the course moved along the water, the wind really picked up.  I pulled my buff over the back of my head so my hat wouldn’t blow off.  It was mostly a head wind, which kind of sucked, but nothing I could do about it.  Slower marathon runners and relayers passed me.  We shared words of encouragement.  That’s always nice.

I paused at each water station I passed.  I was very happy they were there.  I thanked all the volunteers as I continued on.  I had to stop a couple of times to use the porta potties too.  Happy to see them there too!  I followed the fueling plan I had worked out in training, taking in a gel about every 2 kms. I made sure I had plenty of them with me, in case I needed extra.  Plus I had some chews as well.

Pretty soon, I was alone on the road.  And I knew I would be.  I was okay with that.  By most standards, I’m a slow runner, but I don’t care.  I had my music to keep me company as I was running, as I almost always do.

I continued to thank each group of volunteers I passed, and even the cops that were keeping the roads blocked for the race.  Buses continued passing me as they continued to take relay team members back and forth.

As I was going along, it seemed to me that there weren’t as many water stations as there should have been.  I figured maybe I just wasn’t paying attention to the kms as much.  I didn’t really think about it too much to begin with.  But as I neared the halfway point, 2 large trucks passed me with their backs open.  One I noticed had tables in it, like the ones at the water stations.  As I neared what should have been a water station, I saw the trucks stop.  A guy got out of truck, picked up the KM sign that was ahead and put it in the truck.  I started to freak out!  I pulled out my phone and sent a text to Karen, who I knew had already finished and was waiting at the finish line.  I explained what was happening and she went to  find one of the race people.

I also sent a text to my friend Jeff, who had been sending me texts since the race started.  I told him what was going on and that I was freaking out.  He did his best to calm me down, but it was difficult.  This was my worst nightmare! I was being left alone on the course!!

This was also about the point that the hills started on the course.  I had begun walking because Karen and I were texting back and forth.

A couple of kms later, I finally came across another water station.  It was being manned by a woman and her kids.  They were really nice.  I was so happy to see them!  Two of the kids decided to walk to the end of the road with me.  I thought that was really nice.  After I had passed them, the woman closed up her water station.  She gave me a bottle of water, which I greatly appreciated.  As I continued on, a cop came by in his car to tell me that the roads had been reopened and to remind me to stay to the side of the road.  I thanked him and continued on.  A little bit farther down the road, there was a guy stacking wood in his yard.  He asked me how I was doing and I said I was fine.  He asked me if I was going to finish, and I said “Hell yeah!” He laughed.

About another km or so, the woman from the water station came by in her car.  She offered me another bottle of water.  She said all the other stations have been closed up and she wanted to make sure I had enough water.  I took the bottle and thanked her.  I told her I was very upset about the water stations, and she said she was too.  I wish I had gotten her name.

I was pretty much only walking at this point.  I was really upset and trying not to completely lose it.  I was on the shoulder of the road, and it was hard to run on the gravel and dirt.  A few times, I wasn’t even sure I was going the right way.  Karen was going her best to keep me calm too, but she knew I was having a hard time out there.

A couple of times Karen texted me to ask where I was at.  I didn’t always know, which of course freaked me out too.  I told her at one point that there was a large hill just ahead of me.  I was beginning to wonder if the road ever ended.  I was pretty angry at the race people.  I did my best to use that to keep moving.

The lady from the water station came by one more time, just to make sure I was okay.  I thanked her again.  Another lady drove by, asked if I was okay and if I wanted a ride to the finish.  I told her I was okay, and no, I needed to finish.

I had to go up another hill and the road was curving, so I hoped that meant I was getting close to the final turn onto Main Street.  As I was heading up the hill, I saw Karen walking towards me.  I was so glad to see her! At least I knew I getting closer to the finish.  At least I hoped so.

My back was feeling a little sore.  And I thought I could feel a blister on my foot.  But I wasn’t going to give up.  I knew I had slowed down quite a bit, but I didn’t care.  I was determined to finish the race.

As Karen and I walked, we talked about how the race had left me out there alone.  What really made the both of us mad was that we had talked to them the day before at packet pick up.  The guy we spoke to guaranteed me that they would not shut down the water stations as long as someone was still out there.  But that’s exactly what happened.

As we got closer to the finish, a guy came up to us.  He was from the race.  He said that they had shut everything down at the finish line, and that they would contact me about getting me my finisher medal.  I became even angrier! I asked about my backpack that I had checked.  They said they had it.  I told him I needed it, that it had my glasses in it.  He called the lady who had it.  After a couple of minutes, he came back to us.  He said that he will go meet her to get it and my medal and meet us at the finish line.  Then he left.  I swear, I could have spit nails at that point!!

Thankfully, it wasn’t too much farther to the end.  As we finally neared where the finish line should have been, a man stepped out and started clapping.  I didn’t know who he was.  Once I crossed, he came up to me.  He said he was one of the bus drivers and had been watching me all day.  He said he stayed there waiting for me.  He said “everyone deserves to have someone cheering for them at the finish line.”  I was crying.  I thanked him repeatedly.  I told him he has no idea how much that means to me.  I wish I had gotten his name.

Finally, the other guy arrived.  He gave me my backpack and my medal.  Karen took a picture of me.  The guy asked me what my finishing time was.  I told him what my running app said, and he wrote it down.  He said it would be entered into the stats.  And he once again said that one of the race directors would be in contact with me.  Karen ran to the get the car,  I slowly got in, and we drove home.  I repeatedly thanked her for coming to my rescue and helping me finish.

It was the hardest thing I have ever done — both mentally and physically.  It was not the way I had hoped the race would go.  It was not the finish I had pictured.  I missed out on the post-race food, beer, and celebrations.  I missed getting an official race photo.  I’m angry that I was lied to and abandoned on the race course.  I had plenty of chances to give up, but I didn’t.

I crossed the finish line.  And had someone there to cheer for me as I did.  And that’s what matters.

 

2 Comments »

Half-Marathon training – Week 10

Another training week in the books. The humidity has been up and down lately, which makes it hard some days. I’m hoping the humidity will break soon so I can finish these last weeks strong.

Here’s how the week went:

MONDAY – Rest Day. Took care of stuff around the house.

TUESDAY – I pushed my distance a little farther than I needed to, ending with 7.2k

WEDNESDAY – I opted to take a walk for cross training this week. It was a nice day out, and not too humid. I even worked in a couple of hills on my 3k walk.

THURSDAY – brutally humid today, so I decided to run around the indoor track. It gets a little boring going around in circles, but I managed to hang in there for 6.7k

FRIDAY – I’ve been feeling a little sore lately, so I decided to do some stretching on my rest day. I also went up and down the stairs quite a bit while cleaning my house.

SATURDAY – Long run day. I had company from out of town, so instead of ending my long run at my favourite local coffee shop, I just looped back to my house. I think that made it a little tougher near the end (haha).  Once again, my longest run to date – 16.23k. 

SUNDAY – I woke up very sore from my long run on Saturday. My left foot in particular was pretty sore. I opted for another rest day. I don’t want to risk getting hurt.

My plan called for 34k this week, and I ended the week with 33.13k. Not too bad considering I took an extra rest day.

With my long runs getting longer each week, I’ve noticed I’m getting pretty sore. I’m trying to incorporate new stretches, but I’m not sure how much difference it’s really making.  I did some searching on google and Pinterest for stretches and strengthening moves for feet and ankles.  I’ll be trying them this week so hopefully that helps.

This week’s long run was particularly hard near the end. It felt like my back seized up a bit. The last 4 kms were particularly hard and very slow.  When I got back home, I laid on the floor on a yoga mat and did some stretching. It helped my back a bit, which was good. My feet really hurt though, and they were still a bit sore on Sunday.

A couple of interesting things happened on my long run this week …

1) I had run about 3k when I noticed a truck driving rather fast coming up the street.  As I neared and then passed me, the passenger leaned out the window and yelled something not very nice at me. It caught me off guard. On instinct, I yelled something back. Instead of getting upset about it, as the old me would most certainly have done, I got mad. I mean really mad! How dare they! I’m out there trying to better myself and they have the nerve to drive by and shout mean things. Cowards! I have more courage than they will ever have or even hope to have! I was angry about it for awhile. Well, until the next thing happened …

2) I had gone about another kilometre or so when I had to make a bathroom stop. I was near the local YMCA, as I knew I would be, so I stopped in. I’ve been there before, and they are always nice about letting me use the bathroom. As I was leaving, I stopped to thank the ladies again. They started asking me some questions about my running and my journey. I was happy to talk about it, as I almost always am.  They had some really nice things to say and made me feel so awesome. 

Several other people said nice, positive, encouraging things to me as I continued along on my run. They easily cancelled out the meanness from the incident early on my run.

Also on my long run, I was taking in an energy gel about every 2k. It really seemed to work well. I also made sure to drink often. I went through 2 large bottles of Gatorade and about a half of one of those bottles of water. I probably should have finished the water, but overall, I’m feeling pretty good about my fueling and hydrating as I’m running.

I think other than probably needing to do more stretching, my training is coming along quite well. 

I have 2 more long runs before I start tapering down my kms. 

Race Day is less than a month away. And I’m trying not to freak out about that.

Leave a comment »

Goodbye 2014 – a year in review

Another year is coming to a close.

2014 was a year of ups and downs; struggles and triumphs; good times and some not so good.

I started the year still struggling a bit with working out on my own, but determined to keep going.

It was much harder than I anticipated working out on my own.  I did the best I could, though, with the list of exercises Tyler gave me before he left.  It was made even more difficult with my gym being nearly empty every time I went.  Without having someone around to spot me, I couldn’t go very heavy with the weights.  And being by myself, it was hard to know sometimes if my form was correct.  I started almost dreading going to the gym, which is not a good thing.  Sometimes instead of going to the gym, I would just shovel snow for my workout.  And let me tell you, shovelling snow is an awesome workout – cardio and strength training in one!  I really missed the social aspect of the gym.  It was nice having people to chat with while working out.

I’d been at my gym for over a year, and I really liked it when I first joined.  But the last few months of 2013 things changed.  And they only got worse at the beginning of 2014.  It wasn’t kept as clean as it should have been, there were issues with some of the cardio equipment, membership declined, and as I said before, there was almost no one there when I was there, including staff.  All these things started me thinking that I needed to find somewhere else to work out.

The thought of changing gyms was scary, but I knew deep down that it was the right choice.  But it still took me a few weeks to realize that.  Eventually I started checking out the other gyms in town, and in the meantime, I was using the indoor track at the wellness centre for cardio. running as much as I could.  And it felt like I was getting better at it too.  The first time I ran around that track for 5k without having to stop or walk, I was over the moon with excitement!  And I was still shovelling snow too.  And walking outside if the weather was decent.

One of my goals this year was I wanted to get better at running.  Sounds like an easy thing, but not for me.  I don’t think I was born a runner.  I hated running as a kid.  I think that was partly due to my asthma and partly because I was overweight.  I still find it funny that I somehow became a runner.  Anyway, I wanted to really improve this year.  Because I was now doing races, I wanted to be able to run for longer periods, and not take as many walking breaks.

I did my first race of the year near the end of April.  It was one I’d done the previous year called the Pitter Patter.  I only did it was a 5k this year, but I ran the whole thing start to finish.  I was pretty proud of that!

A few days later, I was set to go visit my friend Jeff in Arizona.  On the way to the airport, my husband and I were involved in a car accident.  We got lucky and only had minor injuries, but the car was a write-off and I never made my trip.

The accident forced me to take a break from pretty much any kind of workout.  I took the brunt of the impact in the accident so the right side of my body was pretty sore.  I had several cuts from breaking glass, and a few bruises.  After some tests, it was discovered I had a tear in my rotator cuff too.  A few days after the accident, I went for a walk, but I didn’t get very far.  I tried again a few days later and was able to go farther.  I was pretty proud of that, even if it hurt a bit.

I had planned on joining a new gym when I got back from my trip, but the accident changed my mind.  I decided to hold off until winter and instead, I would spend the next several months enjoying the outdoors as much as I could.  I also figured it would be just what I needed to improve my running.  Or at least I hoped it would.  And I would still use the indoor track when I couldn’t be outside.  I was really happy with that plan.

After taking about 6 weeks off after the accident, I decided to try running again.  I didn’t really know how long I would need to recover, but 6 weeks seemed a good amount of time.  I decided to try a short run to begin with, just to see how it felt.  Let me tell you, that first run hurt!  But I didn’t give up, I kept going.  I ended doing 5k that first time out again.  While I was pretty sore afterwards, I was really happy.  I decided to run every other day (or at least try to) and see how it went.  It went well.

On July 1st, I did my second race of the year.  And it was one I hadn’t done before.  It was a very hot and humid day, but I crossed that finish line feeling pretty damn proud of myself.  A couple of weeks later, I did my third race, the Run for Reece.  This was the first race I had ever done in 2012.  This time I ran it start to finish.  It felt awesome!  And in between races, I was trying my best to run every other day.  Sometimes it worked out, sometimes it didn’t.  Because it would get pretty hot and humid, I often got up and out early in the day.  I’m not a morning person, but I am a coffee person, and that definitely helps (haha).

I still missed being in a gym for strength training, but I did what I could with little to no equipment.  There are actually quite a few things that I could do.  I know it’s not exactly the same, but at least it was something.  I was concentrating more on my cardio.

August brought more running, but no new races.  I didn’t have another one planned until September.  My goal was to do 5 races and I had already done 3.  There are a lot of races in the area where I live, so I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have a problem doing 2 more.

August also brought Tyler home after graduating from University.  I’m incredibly proud of him for making the commitment to get his degree.  And he brought home his new fiancee.  I somehow knew he’d meet someone out there.  I met them for coffee not long after their return.  Her name is Angela and she’s wonderful.  They are perfect together.  I’m so happy for them both.

He and I began working together again.  It felt good to have someone to workout with again.  And he had me up my cardio.  I had been trying to run every other day, and I was running at least 5km each time.  But now he wanted me to do 8km, 5 days a week.  I’m pretty sure I called him bat-shit crazy, but I did it anyway LOL.  When I first started doing it, I had to walk quite a bit, but eventually I got to the point where I could run the whole 8km.  Another proud moment for me.  A few times, I even went a little farther just to see if I could.

September was pretty busy.  First came my birthday, which is always a good time.  Then Dan and I went to Muskoka for his work trip.  I had never been there before, so I was super excited.  I even got a few workouts in while I was there.  I also did 2 more races in September, both were ones I had never done before.   There were both in neighbouring towns, which was also new to me.  Up until then, all the races I had done had been in my little town.  Now I was expanding to other areas.  Another proud moment.

No races in October, just more running and workouts with Tyler.  I could have done a race or two, but decided against it.  I had met my goal and wasn’t sure if I wanted to push it further.  The weather was still nice, so I was still running outside as much as I could.  And to be honest, I was started to feel a little bored running around the track.

November included another new race for me.  This one was also in a neighbouring town, put on by the local running store.  It was called the Egg Nog Jog.  A couple of things drew me to this race.  First, it was a free entry — hard to pass that up; second, it was for charity, the local Coats for Kids program.  I was nervous about it, but hard a great time doing it.  And I made some new friends too.

Near the end of November/early December brought an end to working out with Tyler again.  And while I miss working with him, I understand.  He’s building a new life for himself and his family.  We remain good friends though, which is important to me.

It started getting cold in November, but I still ran outside as much as I could.  I’m determined to run outside as much as I can this winter.  Of course, I need some warmer clothes, but I’m working on that.

I did another new race in December.  This one in the same neighbouring town as the one in November.  This one was called the Run for Food.  Another free entry, this time taking donations for the local food bank, another worthy cause.  It was very cold, and there was a bit of snow and ice on the ground, which made it a bit tough for me, but I crossed the finish line, and that’s what’s important.

My goal was 5 races this year and I did 7 … super proud of that!  I know it may not seem like a lot to most people, but it’s huge to me.  I never thought I’d be this person, but I quite like it.  And I never thought I’d be a runner, but I am and proud to say I actually really enjoy it!  I don’t have to run — I get to run.  Hopefully, I will be able to do most, if not all, of these races next year too.

I really wanted to up my running game this year, and I think I accomplished that.  Between running and walking, I logged over 835 kms, and most of those were from running.  Actually, those are only the kms that I logged on my running app.  There were a few runs and walks that didn’t get logged, so the total is probably closer to 900 kms.  I’m extremely proud of that!

I also wanted to volunteer more of my time this year.  And I did.  I continued working with Celebrate the Hero.  I so love working there.  It’s an amazing organization and everyone there is so great.  Being there makes my heart and soul happy.  And I feel like I’m making a difference, which is important.

This year, I was hoping to have part of the skin removal surgery I need.  I had consultations with 2 plastic surgeons, but surgery didn’t happen.  And looking back, I honestly don’t think I was ready this year.  It will happen when it’s meant to happen.

I wanted to do more reading this year.  And while I did read quite a bit, I didn’t read as much as I really wanted to.  I love to read, I have ever since I was very young.  It’s something I really should do more often.

One of the most fun things about this year was discovering chats on twitter.  I started going on twitter more and more this year, and by accident I came across chats.  I participate in several of them now.  Most have to do with running/racing or fitness/wellness, but my favourite is actually about coffee.  I actually get up early on Sunday mornings to chat about coffee on twitter.  I’ve “met” some really nice people through these various chats.  They’ve really helped me stay motivated and together.

Well that’s it, my year in review.  While I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to this year, I’m extremely proud of what I did do.  I’m looking forward to the new year and a new set of goals.

*~*~*~*~*~*

I’ve been working on this post on and off for several days, and I’ve been struggling with what to say and how to say it.  I mentioned it on facebook, and my friend Jess had this to say:

“Quite honestly, I feel like this year was a learning experience about our inner selves. Our capabilities, our strength, our perseverance, our will power”

And I think that really sums up this year quite nicely, thank you Jess.

 

 

Leave a comment »

Perspective

It’s all about perspective.
It’s something Tyler told me not long after we started working together.
It’s something I’m still learning.

I’ve been known to dwell on the bad stuff happening, instead of focusing on all the good around me.
I’m trying to change that. I’ve been working on it a while.
Sometimes I’m pretty good at it. Sometimes I’m not.
Sometimes it takes a friend or loved one to point out that I need to focus on the good.
Thankfully I have people around who do that.

When I was younger, I would sometimes get excited about something new, some new challenge. But when I would tell some people about it, they seemed to take great pleasure in pointing out negative aspects of it, to the point that I was no longer excited and would just give up on the idea. I don’t know if they meant it to happen, I would hope not, but more often than not, that’s what happened.

And I think over the years, I learned to do that for myself. I would be happy about something, but almost as quickly, I would see the negatives of the situation. It’s like I was talking myself of even trying.

But I never recognized that’s what I was doing. It took people around me to tell me, to show me what I was doing. And that only started happening in the last few years.

Now, I didn’t always do this. But it seemed to happen more often than not. Sometimes I wonder how many great opportunities I missed out on because I did this.

I’m learning how destructive that can be though.
When I do this, I’m robbing myself of the joy, the wonder of all the good there is.
It takes away from the beauty in the every day.
It makes me forget how lucky am I.

Over the last few years, I have gotten better at not dwelling on the negative. But I still do it. And sometimes when I do, it goes on and on for awhile. It can be hard to snap out of that mindset.

It’s been 3 weeks since the car accident. And I’ve been dwelling on it. The cuts on my neck and hands that are becoming scars. The soreness in my body that is preventing me from running and getting a really good workout in. The fact that we need a new car.

And when I start thinking about these things, it snowballs into other things.
I start blaming myself for the accident. If I hadn’t been going away that weekend, we wouldn’t have been on the highway. And I blame the weather. If it hadn’t been raining so hard, we might not have crashed. And I blame my husband. If he had been driving slower, we might not have crashed. If he had noticed that the back tires needed replacing, we might not have crashed. But it always comes back to blaming myself.

And then I start blaming myself for other things too. It’s a vicious cycle.

Usually when it gets bad like that, it can last awhile. And it almost always takes the words of a friend to break me out of it.

I wouldn’t say I’m completely out of that mindset with the accident, but I’m trying. I’m really trying. Friends have definitely helped with that, reminding me that I’m a lucky person, and not just with the accident.

I have a house to live in.
I have food to eat.
I have a wonderful husband.
I have 3 great cats.
I have been cancer free for 4 1/2 years.
I can go out walking.
I volunteer with 2 great organizations.
I have loving friends and family.
I call one of the best countries in the world home.
I live in a beautiful town with lots of friendly people.
I can see beauty in every day things.
I can hear wonderful music.
I can taste good food.
I can read and appreciate beautiful books.
I can watch television and movies.

There are a lot of people in this world who are not so lucky.
And I need to remember that.
I need to remember just how good I have it, just lucky I am, even when bad things are happening.
It’s all about perspective.

Even with the accident.
Yes it was bad thing that happened.
But it could have been a lot worse.
It was a single-car accident.
And we walked away from it.
Yes, we both had some injuries.
But they were/are relatively minor ones.
It’s all about perspective.

I’m a very lucky woman.
I need to remember that.
And thank you to those friends who remind me of that when I need it.

2 Comments »

I only have myself to blame

One of the things I’ve learned about myself along this journey is that I’m an emotional eater and a stress eater.  Most of the time I have pretty good control of it.  Most of the time.

The last 6 months or so have been hard.  There have been times when I’ve been pretty stressed out.  And the events of the last several days have not helped any.  And I haven’t been about to control my eating the way I had been.

I’ve been struggling.  A lot.  With everything, it feels like.

The result?

The scale is going in the wrong direction.

And I only have myself to blame.

I’ve been trying.  But obviously not hard enough.

My workouts are different.  I’m not doing as much strength training as I was.  And I’m sure that has contributed to the problem.

I’m trying not to be too hard on myself.  But how can I not be?

I was making such great progress.  And now I’m going backwards.

And now since the accident, I can’t do much until I get the okay from the doctor.

The only thing I’ve been able to do is a little walking.  But with my sore hip, it takes effort.  And it’s not something I can do every day.  Nor can I go for really long walks.

And that just makes me want to eat more.

I’m trying to be good.  Really, I’m trying.  But it’s so hard.

Not everything I’m eating is bad.

Okay, some of it is.  I try not to keep that stuff in the house, but my husband and I don’t eat the same.  He can have anything he wants.  So sometimes we have stuff in the house.  Most of the time, it’s not a problem.  But lately it has been.

When I’m stress-eating or emotional-eating, I gravitate towards things like bread and sweets.  Not sure why, but I always have.  So if there is bread in the house, I just keep eating it, little by little, until it’s gone.  The same thing goes for sweets.

But sometimes it doesn’t stop there.  Sometimes I just will eat whatever I can find.  It depends on how big the stress or emotional level is.

To make matters worse, I’ve not been keeping up with my food journal as I should be.

I had been really good about it for so long.  I don’t know why I stopped.

I really need to get back to doing it.  I know how much it helps.

I need to get back to basics, I think.

I need to refocus.

I need to plan my meals and snacks better.

I need to do what workouts I can until I get the doctor’s clearance.  And once I get that, I need to get back to do workouts like I used to.

I only have myself to blame for where I’m at now.

But I can’t continually beat myself up about it either.

I need to get myself back on track and do my best to stay there.

I’m not giving up.  I’ve come too far.  And too much is at stake.

I just need to do better.

I will do better.

 

 

Leave a comment »