Organic Food or a Snickers bar – easy choice…now

Over the past couple of years in my Edmonton Tourist Journey, I have made an attempt to change habits for the better. Particularly food habits. It isn’t enough to just reduce calories, I need those calories to count towards healthy fuel building vitamins and junk like that.

My first time around in University, I would drink a coke classic and eat a snickers bar to get me through the day. Then have dinner with the family.

Coke = 160 of empty calories

Snickers = 250 mostly empty calories – it has a 1g of fibre and 4g of protein

Why? Well, I liked sugar. My boyfriend/fiance at the time preferred his women skinny and measured my belly fat on a regular basis and always gave me that disapproving look. Don’t GET ME STARTED! So, if I limited my intake during the day I could eat real food at night, I got my coke and chocolate fix and I existed on about 800 calories a day. Totally messed up my metabolism and health and life and DON’T GET ME STARTED! The biggest point I am trying to make is people can make positive changes in their life and stick it out.

I have discussed this with my dietician and I understand the need for variety in my life. I also understand why I need 4 – 6 servings of vegetables a day. 6 cups of bagged lettuce is not optimum. It will do in a pinch, but Lisa my dietician gets on my case about variety.

Here is my problem: I am a creature of habit. I go to the store and buy the same thing every week. Then I go home and make the same thing every week. Then I eat the same thing every week.

My metabolism is looking at me thinking “are you crazy? this is BORING!” then it falls asleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

So, I decided to do something about it. A Blogger Friend I read No Giving Up Now (although lately he is outside running all the time and has stopped blogging) orders a farm box and gets produce and other organic yummy things delivered to his home. It is an effort to buy local and support local organic farming. He lives in Ohio. That is not local for me.

Then a friend on facebook announced that she is doing the same thing only with a local company (of course) here in Edmonton! WHAT??? SIGN ME UP!

So I did.

And my first delivery came yesterday!

The delivery guy came to the door with this giant box.

photo 1 (8)

 

I opened it up and found this

photo 2 (6)

 

I unpacked the contents – it felt like an awesome trip to the farmers market! and found this

photo 3 (6)

 

Here is the list:

1 per Mango – Tommy Atkins
1 per Melon – Cantaloupe
1 per Apples – Gala
1 per Apples – Gala
2 per Apples – Pink Lady
1 pint Strawberries
2 per Oranges – Navel
1 Bunch Bananas – Fair Trade
1 Bunch Beets – Bunched Red
1 Bag Potatoes – Yellow – Local (T)
1 2 lbs Yellow Onions – Local
1 per Cucumber – LE – BC Local
1 per Avocado Haas – Fair Trade
1 per Eggplant – Black Globe
1 2-3 per Vine Tomatoes – BC Local
2 Head Lettuce – Red Leaf
1 30 g Broccoli Shoots – Local

The Broccoli shoots ended up being Sunflower shoots. I sampled them because I never had them before – yummy nutty and are going into my garden!! I am making a veg sandwich today with those in it! The strawberries that I had for breakfast taste like wild ones I pick in the mountains. I am super impressed with the quality.

The concept is easy. You sign up on the web page for the size box you want/need. I picked the large box for $55 because I have teens to feed – although my son thinks vegetables are a waste of money. It is my responsibility to keep him alive until he moves out then he’s on his own…

There are smaller less expensive boxes available. They send out an email each weekend telling you what is in the new box coming up. You can make changes. I didn’t take parsnips this week because no one else will eat them, so I got more lettuce and fruit instead.  They have other organic things like meat, milk, eggs, cereals etc that you can add to your box. You never have to go to the grocery store again. I love that idea.

The box came with a newsletter and a recipe. I leave the box on my porch next week for pickup and they bring me a new box filled with farmer’s market goodness. The variety will challenge me and all of it is good for me. I think I am liking this process.

If you head over to www.theorganicbox.ca and decide to sign up, tell them I sent you and use this email ragrobyn@gmail.com

Just spreading the yummy love around.

 

 

See Ninja Run

com.tgb.mj250beebdbe3e43_spApparently it is cold right now in North America. Everyone seems to be complaining about colder than normal – what ever that is – temperatures. That is not the case here in Edmonton. It’s cold but be haven’t had a deep freeze that was -30C or colder for a week or more, not that I am complaining! There is a ton of snow and the weather guy says ambiguous things like Snow tapering to Flurries. Oooooooooookaaaaaay. Translation? 5″ of snow by Thursday. Even I have taken a turn shoveling the driveway and I never do. It was always in the back of my mind that it was ‘boy’ work. But truth be told, I was never fit enough.

Until this year.

I have been in training for some runs coming up this summer. I was always a walker and a swimmer, but I have learned running is very different. In some ways it’s easier than walking. A) it’s over quicker and B) it isn’t as painful for my MCL  – weird but my coach told me that is not unusual.

Running has made me stronger. Abs, legs and back all benefit from just running, but the extra stuff I do helps too! How do I know this?

I dropped my eldest of for his Final exam today at his High School. I parked the car, and decided to run in that neighborhood. It is more sheltered than the open fields of my usual trails and the wind is wicked today with windchills reaching -20C. After last week’s Flash Freeze I have been cautious about slipping on the ice. Sure I run with YakTraxRun, a spike and spring combination for my shoes, but with ice-rinks on the roads and sidewalks, I still find myself slipping a bit.

I did a drive through of the neighborhood first so I wouldn’t get lost. I hadn’t explored this place since my grandparents lived here when I was a kid. Good plan too, I got lost. But once I tuned into my Ninja sense of direction it wasn’t a problem.

I ran mostly on the road because there was a good solid snow pack that had my cleats digging in. I was solid. Then came the final half block. This half block was on a major bus route so running on the road was not an option. My foot found ice under the snow, not once but four times! The first time it caught my off guard and I fell. I fell in a weird  Ninja-like way – it was like a plank or a push up. Not a problem, I do those every day. I didn’t hit the sidewalk except for my hands. The next 3 times I slipped I had it under control. I am now fit enough to use muscles to prevent myself from going over! YAY! Ninja Inner thigh magic held me upright. I think I will pay for it tomorrow, but today I am loving my new found strength! Obviously my Ninja skills are paying off.

Not only do I run in Ninja black, I have the skills to terrify the average pedestrian with my Ninja runner moves. Eventually I will be Ninja fast, you will only think you saw something as I run by. But that is a goal for this summer.

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I have a fitness and lifestyle blog here if you wish to take a gander at it. It is running and nutrition reports that keep me on task. You can find the link here.

2013 is close, time to get cracking on setting some new goals!

December 29th and I am reading my last book of my 50 book goal this year. It feels good to know I finished out a goal I’ve set. My other goal, to run a 5k race didn’t pan out as planned. Recovery took the wind out of my sails. I am not a resolution maker, I am a goal setter. To me there is a tremendous difference. When I began the Edmonton Tourist Journey in the Summer of 2010, I had no idea where it would lead me. Learning to set goals has been life changing. Continuing in the tradition of the Edmonton Tourist, new goals need to be set of this upcoming year.

Resolution or resolve means to me thy will be done. In other words, I said I’d do therefore it should be and will be done. Where as goal setting is a bit different. To me it is something to work towards. To set a goal with the hopes of achieving it, plans have to be made.

My #1 goal for 2012 is to run in the Intact 10k and grab myself a medal. I can’t just run that the day of without training. I need to map out my fitness strategy and work towards that goal. Writing it down is a huge part of it as are the steps involved to achieve it. Improving my fitness level is part of that and I want to be FAST. Knowing that, I will be slow at first means big plans have to happen.

Step 1: continue on my weight-loss journey. I started this road back in January 2011, with the ups and downs I’ve had, I am proud to say I have managed to keep all the weight off I have lost so far and am committed to losing more. I don’t look at it as dieting but as a lifestyle change. It has become mostly habit with some minor indulgences. My new dietitian is brutal, kind and supportive. If I follow her advice, there is no doubt in my mind I can be another 40lbs lighter for the 10k race. That to me is fantabulous!

Step 2: Plan out my running schedule. I have a couple of on-line coaches. They give me advice and support my slowness due to injury. The plan is to run a 3 day schedule with a 2 day cross train, building up to 5k. This is so doable. I was there, then I needed to stop. I’ve been back out on the trails recently to see how my fitness level is. Well, it’s better than I hoped but it will still require some regressive steps to regain what I lost. For the record, illness sucks. Tomorrow I hit the trails for Day 2 of my 6 week plan.

Step 3: Run a 5k race. Running the race means I will be comfortable at a 5k pace long before I run the actual race. The plan is to be at a comfortable 7 0r 8 km distance by then so 5 km will feel easier to me. The race has been chosen by my Book Club Compadres, 2 are planning to run it with me and the others want to walk it. Color Me Rad happens in Calgary this year in July. We will make a weekend out of it that includes more fun than the race, but the race looks like more fun than I have had running EVER…and I like running!Color Me Rad

Step 4: Run the Intact 10k on marathon weekend.

Along the way I will need new running shoes as my Adidas wear out. My course load for University will finally end and all that will be needed is to fit in a practicum. This will bring to an end of a long term goal I set back in 2010. It feels good to set a goal that long ago and have it nearly completed! I will need to set up some goals for the fall as well. Nothing is worse than completing a major goal and have nothing to shoot for at the end of it. So The plan is to begin training for a half marathon – run it this time. Walking takes me too long. Running a half marathon will happen 2014, so that is a ways off, but I need to have it in my mind for visualization purposes. Because THAT’S how I roll!

So tell me…what goals are you thinking about and how will you achieve them?

Ode to AbronxTurtle: The 59th Street Mount Sonofabitchs song, or Not Feeling so Groovy.

Today my friend abronxturtle ran his 12th marathon in a year in an effort to raise money for the Dream Team. A group of runners who raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation. He posted this on his facebook page:577801_4993828286128_1137167856_n

22 in. And here’s Mount Sonofabitch. 59th street bridge. – J. Kolinsky

What is remarkable to me is not that fact that he ran well over 314.4 miles this year. It was way more than that this year because he trained, ran half marathons, 5 and 10ks, and did numerous fun runs. I am not amazed that he ran 3 marathons ALONE without help, support, fan cheering or anyone to meet him at the finish line (okay, that’s a lie I am COMPLETELY AMAZED!). What is remarkable to me is he just decided to to this incredible task and so he did it.

Lots of people make New Years Resolutions and peter out around January 2. They lose momentum. Joe didn’t. He kept going. During these past 12 races he lost a tooth, sprained an ankle, ran with the Elvis’, defeated by Hurricane Sandy, ran hills like a roller coaster, bled, was bruised and batter, yet he still did it. He ran all those marathons just like he said he would. He never quit and if anyone had the right to it was him. He kept going because he told his daughter he would and he doesn’t like to let her down.

I have learned a lot from him over the years I have known him. I have learned from his mistakes and his success.

So Joe, now that you have ran 12 marathons in 12 months, what are you going to do? Oh right…going to Walt Disney World to run the Goofy. Congratulations my friend, you deserve a vacation in Walt Disney World, a medal and all the best.

You deserve to feel groovy.

Mindful Running


I crawled into bed last night and my muscles complained. I am starting to feel like I am 100.

I am not 100, I am 45. I cannot remember a time in recent memory (since I started this mo journey Jan,’11) that some muscle wasn’t upset about something I did. Secretly, I really like this feeling. I like when my belly aches from planks or swimming, I like when my legs burn from running. I like how tired I am at night.

At some point this week I reached the half way point of the C25k training program. So yesterday I ran the very first route I did  day one. I am not the person who will run the same route day in and day out. I need to switch it up. I do this for a couple of reason.

  1. Because running the same route is too boring for words. I am not running with music because I like to get out of my head, be mindful of what I am doing and I use it as a meditation. I have spent far too much of my life imagining and daydreaming about something else, this has been a fantastic experience of learning to run and I have not missed one painful, dreadful, wonderful moment. I need variety, different things to look at and new experiences. Apparently new experiences makes you smarter and Lord knows I could benefit from being smarter.
  2. Switching up the camber is a injury preventive strategy. My knee has reached the point where I do not even think about it when I run. I do not need to create a new injury in the process. Even when I run the same route for a week, I will head out in alternate directions for each run. Meaning I run a loop. One day I start on the right and go west, the the next day I run left and go east. I think this has really helped because I cannot avoid hills this way. Sure I want to, but I get to it eventually.

So, I reached the mid-way point of my training. I ran the original path I did on my first day. The first day of the C25k was 45 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes with 5 minutes on either end of walking to warm up and cool down. Between you and me, this was hard. I had the stamina and conditioning from swimming but the muscles were different. I was really concerned about running for 20 minutes because that day was going to happen soonish. I am a goal nazi. I have crazy intense focus when I set a goal. So even when I didn’t feel up to running, I did it anyway. I have set my 5k race goal for the first week of December. I gave myself lots of time because I want to have lots of practice and conditioning for my first 5k race. I want to feel like it isn’t hard. I also knew I needed time just in case my knee complained mightily. So here I am half way.

Yesterday I re-ran my first path. I live on the prairies and in the burbs. I love the big sky. My neighborhood, which is great for my kids, is DULL as dishwater for running enthusiasts. There is a running trail/dogrun/power-line corridor the flows north to south behind the local school. It takes you into the creek and up over the bank to the other burbish neighborhoods. I ran this.

I did it at first because it was asphalt, and that is better than concrete for my joints. If I am honest, it is also because there is no traffic and no one could see me. The first day I ran/walked less than a kilometer. I didn’t quite make it to pass the walkway to Kitlitz park. The first couple of weeks I didn’t get very far. Even the 5 minute warm up wasn’t that far from my house. I never quite made it into the park and had to start running on the road when my beeper went off.

Yesterday I did the same route. This time my warm up got me into the park and near the bottom of the incline to join the main path. I ran south for 5 minutes walked one then ran 8 minutes. I more than tripled my distance for the “out” portion. The sun was hot for September and I was running at 5:00pm heat peak. Keep in mind this is EDMONTON so the air was cool-ish but the sun was intense. I loved the long shadows that provided shade. This time of day tons of women were out. This struck me because in the morning I only see men run. Never any women. Apparently us girls are too busy getting families ready to start the day and wait until after work to run or walk the pooches. I also was keenly aware of the smell of fall. The leaves are turning and there is a distinct smell that goes with that. I had a friend who thought it smelled of gym socks, but rotting leaves is a warm musty smell that I love. I saw berries on the path and a middle aged dude sitting in the shade talking on the phone. I assumed it was a secret clandestined phone call. I had long passed my original turn around point and forgot to take note of it, but soon I was reaching the crest of the hill that would lead me down into the creek. At the top of the crest, I remembered the gravel turn off that I used to get extra miles in when I was training for the half marathon when I walked. I then looked to my left and saw the flood waters had subsided from the spring when I came through here and had to walk through 4 inches of water and soaked my shoes. The downhill portion was laid out in front of me and I checked my timer, I was only 2 minutes into my 8 minute run. WOW! I knew I was getting faster. The midway point of the hill brought me to the crosswalk. I scanned the road ready to pause my timer in case I had to wait for traffic. No such luck. I had to keep running because the road was free from traffic. I ran across the sidewalk and onto the cross walk. I was immediately struck by the resistance of the concrete. I didn’t suspect I would notice it, but it was noticeably harder.

Once I crossed the road, I was trying to decided should I turn right and follow the creek or just run over the bridge at the bottom of the path. The hill was getting steeper and i knew I would have to run back up. Just before I reached the point where I would need to decide, my running app voice said “half way”. I replied out loud, “OKAY!” and I pulled a U-ie on the path and started to make my way up the steep hill. A gal who was running behind me, one of those gazelles with a beautiful stride (ONE DAY THAT WILL BE ME!) smiles and said “GREAT JOB!” Thanks running gazelle! I looked at my timer and it was 3:55 into my 8 minute run. So up I climbed and scanned the road once again for traffic. This hill nonsense is stupid and I felt the burn of my calves and my heels and ankles swore at me a bit. Too bad so sad and I kept climbing. I was counting out power-lines and figured the 3rd set should be about right for stopping. I set my sights on the third set and then changed my focus once again. I was thinking about that cute pup who didn’t listen and wanted to keep playing. I looked at the blue sky and thought about how beautiful it is in the fall but not as beautiful as a winter sky. Then I was checking out the berries on the bushes and thought there wasn’t very many. Maybe it will be a mild winter! WOHOO! I then realized I was running past the third tower of my count off. WOW! I am faster! I checked my phone and I has another 42 seconds to go. So I ran.

By the time the beep went off and running app voice said “Walk”, I was nearly at the point of my very first turnaround on my very first day. I walked the 2 minutes and then was told to run again. I had 5 minutes left. I ran all the way to the walkway the would lead me home. I needed a 5 minute cool down still. I walked along my street home. By the time I reached my front porch running app voice said “workout complete”. Never had I gone this far or completed so close to home. I was pretty proud and happy. I stopped on my porch to stretch out. The running stretches I have read about and remember from my basketball days are good for a start, but I always finish up with some yoga poses. Those feel heavenly.

I looked ahead to my next running plan on my app and saw it was run 8 walk 1 run 10. That is for Sunday’s long run. It’s not really a long run. Last year my Sundays were filled with walks that were about 14-18kms, so this doesn’t seem like a big deal in terms of distance. But muscle endurance is a different thing. I then thought about my plan for running my first half marathon. It might sound odd that I have a plan for a half when I haven’t even run a 5km yet, but I am a planner. I plan to run 10 and 1s. Run 10 minutes walk 1 minute. I also told myself that there is no shame in walking if I have to.

My plan this year will get me to become a comfortable runner for a 10km. I will then become comfortable at running a regular 10k. Then the distance training will begin. It’s hard not to get ahead of myself. But I can clearly see the 1/2 marathon medal being place around my neck. I will earn it because I will have ran it in less time than I walked the original one.

I can’t WAIT! Roll on Sunday, I need to feel what a 10 minute run feels like because it is all part of my plan.

 

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Question: How far is a marathon anyways? Answer: Not 3km

I had one of those moments today when I looked a the person and thought to myself “How come you aren’t dead? Surely your stupid actions and words should have killed you by now.” Then because I wanted to know how he survived so long, I said out loud, “What is your Super Power?”

Apparently dumb luck. Lots of people have this super power.

By now you are thinking – what the hell are you talking about Tourist?

I was standing by the photocopier (a school equivalent to a water cooler) and asked a fellow teacher (male) what his plans were for the weekend. I know it’s only TUESDAY, but seriously people – teachers are BONE TIRED and cannot wait to sleep for a week because YOUR children exhaust me are awesome.

Anyway Teacher Guy began to tell me his plans for the weekend.

TG- I am running a marathon his weekend!

Me- Wow congratulations! Training is brutal and so time consuming, I really admire marathon runners! So tell me, how many miles did you average a week? Where are you running? Did you fund raise?

TG- Naw, it’s not a big deal. I didn’t train. I am just going out there and giving it a shot.

Me- HOLY CRAP MAN, no training? You are a rock star!

TG- Naw…it’s only 3km.

Me- …..Picture a thought bubble (dude you have just insulted an entire culture of people and highlighted your stupidity)

Silence for several minutes while he stood there thinking he was a rock star.

Me – Dude, tell me what you think a marathon is.

TG- a fun run.

Me- It can be, but usually people can barely breathe by the end and their body hurts so much it isn’t very fun after a while.

TG- it’s only 3k!

Me- 3K is a fun run. A Marathon is 42k.

He looked at me like I was kidding him. Then I said,

Me- I am indignant on behalf of every person who has ever run MARATHON – the entire 42KILOMETER race. Those people deserve medals. I can appreciate 3k being a challenge, it is an amazing goal to be a short or long distant runner. But to say a marathon is just a 3k fun run is insulting!

TG- Whatever…. same thing.

Me- Not the same thing. I challenge you to run the ING in August. ALL 42 Freaking Kilometers and then tell me it’s the same.

TG – Not a problem. I’ll do it.

Me- And I will be there with a body bag to collect you.

TG – Challenge accepted.

TG is also a Maple Leaf fan, doesn’t that say it all? WOW! I was reading a blog entry today from my favorite marathoner. The Bronx Turtle had a similar conversation with on a telephone conference today. Read it, it is hilarious. He felt embarrassed that people think he is nuts. Well for starters, The Bronx Turtle is running a marathon a month, A MONTH PEOPLE! that is 12 marathons this year for WDW Radio’s Dream Team Project.  He is raising funds for the Make-A-Wish foundation. And he felt embarrassed? WHAT? I think it is amazing what he is doing. Especially the part where there is NO SCHEDULED marathon for June around his home in New York City – let’s all cry him a river. Poor guy lives in Manhattan with Central Park as his back yard….boo hooo… (Jeeze Tourist, jealous much?) So Turtle is going to run around Manhattan, by himself, with no support for water or energy junk, to help himself achieve this amazing feat of a marathon a month, 42 kilometers ON foot with no one cheering him on, handing him water, or placing a medal around his neck. All to benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation. He isn’t the first person I know to do this. Another Goal Setter (that is her name) did this July 5th last year.

I feel sorry for them. Part of the fun of doing these races is bragging rights. Bragging rights need a medal. When you run that far on your own, no one gives you a medal. I have decided to take matters into my own hands. These people deserve to be recognized for there amazing actions and as a preschool teacher, I have the ability to do something about it. What you may ask? I am making them each a Macaroni Necklace Medal. The need to hang something on their wall when THAT GUY comes over and says “so what…no big deal”

The other part of this story that I find so amazing is fundraising for Make-A-Wish Foundation. Without thinking too hard (it is June people and my brain is fried) I can recall 4 children who were recipients of a precious wish.

One little girl I know received a hot tub and gazebo attached to her home. She needed water therapy to keep her limbs active. She is unable to stand on her own, so the water gives her a freedom from her chair.

Another little girl’s wish was to go to Walt Disney World. She needed supports in the form of oxygen and limited time in the parks because it would be so exhausting. But what little kid doesn’t want to be a princess for a day or 3? The Village down there had Oxygen hook ups in her room and Disney sent princess’ and mice over to the village where they wouldn’t have to fight crowds, just to spend time with her. Disney knows how to throw a party and 7 years later, she still lights up when she talks about it.

I had a student in my class one year who had cancer. He wanted to meet his hero Gizmo Williams, a CFL Edmonton Eskimo. Gizmo made it there 4 days before he died. They spent the day together and my little friend wore Gizmo’s jersey everyday. They buried him in it.

I know another little boy who was just granted a wish. He will get to go to Disneyland this summer to have his dream come true.

Make-A-Wish seems frivolous to some people, these people think the money could be better spent finding cures, or research. The bottom line is research wasn’t going to help my little friend who died. He was able to spend his last living days with a hero. His mom was granted happiness to see her little boy happy with stars in his eyes. What parent doesn’t want that for their child? I know I do.

I am heading over to the WDW Radio Dream Team Project and making a donation in support of The Bronx Turtle – his real name for the donation form? Joe Kolinsky – marathon man.

I think you should follow Joe because he is funny, does stupid things, and a great writer. I think you should support his cause and tell him he isn’t running for nothing.

Click here to have more information on the Dream Team Project

Click here to make a donation to Make-A-Wish Foundation to support Joe Kolinsky

 

 

Learning to run because I can walk – on the Wild side

Perhaps by now I’d come far enough that I had enough guts to be afraid.

~ Cheryl Strayed

I just finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed. That girl now as it figured it out. Mo does too. Intellectually I do too.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I have been at this journey for well over a year. Last year it was about setting goals that were insane for me, achieving them and celebrating them. I then fell into a goal setter let down…

I couldn’t find my focus. I was tired. Not so much physically, but mentally. I let go of some serious things, serious people, toxic things and toxic people. Where does that leave me to date?

I smiled spontaneously this week for the first time in I have no idea how long. I smile a lot. I have the wrinkles and laugh lines to prove it. Smiling because you feel JOY is a whole other smile. It comes from a place of peace.

I found it. I have no idea how long it will last but I am enjoying the ride while I am on it.

Because I felt JOY, I was able to sit down and make some goals that had to do with wants. This is different than last year. Last years goals were about proving myself to people. I finally figured out that I don’t need to prove myself to others, I really needed to prove myself to me.

Things I have learned;

I am smart.

I am strong physically and mentally. I am almost strong emotionally. Baby steps.

I like me. I like spending time alone with me.

I have skills that can save my life in the wilderness, in an urban environment and in a recreation environment. How many people can say that?In an effort to find myself I tried a billion different activities and have weeded out the ones that I do not enjoy. If it is for pleasure, then do pleasurable things.

The quote at the top has deep meaning for me. I now have a healthy fear of life. I respect it. I know how to proceed with caution and not reckless abandon. This is a huge growth for me. I walked a half marathon thinking, pfffff I can do that easy. It was not easy. It was 99% mental and 1% physical. I could have and likely SHOULD have done things differently. Being the smart girl I am, I have taken what I have learned, and am applying it to my next set of goals.

In October 2010, I was in Germany. I was walking back from the camp showers late at night to the caravan. It was dark and damp. I slipped on some muddy grass and tore my MCL on my left leg. I saw stars, I howled, I cried and I needed help getting into the caravan. I hit rock bottom physically. Mentally that was about to happen much later…

My Doctor encouraged me to walk and he is the type of guy who doesn’t want to tell someone not to exercise. I was just suppose to listen to my knee and not push it. What the hell does that mean? I walked the Half a year later, I swam 1.5 hours 4 times a week and walked 40k a week….that was a lot. My knee hated me but I told it to feck off.

I started training for the Calgary half in January. my knee hated me more than anyone could possibly appreciate. I was stronger than ever. My heart and lungs could take me to new heights and I could walk fast enough to pass runners on the track. Once I hit 45 minutes, my knee said…that is IT, I HATE you and I quit.

And it did.

I had to stop walking, swimming and strenuous yoga. I felt soft and gooey. Gross…

When I went back to my Doc and walked up 3 flights of stairs without my knee weeping, I figured I could swim again. So I did. This time I took it easy. I swam 30 minutes for my short swims and 45 for my long. I was faster than before. I couldn’t belive it. I felt strong, healthy and focused.

I still felt squishy. I knew I needed weight baring exercise. I want to run like a gazelle. I see and hear stories of men who were fat and chunky running and then they became these fit Adonis’. Why can’t I do that? Truthfully, there is no reason why I cannot.

I started reading John Stanton. He is a local hero who was a chubby guy, started running then became the go to guy in Edmonton for all things running. He branched out. He is now the go to guy in Canada and owns a string of Running Room stores. I figured this guy knew what he was talking about.

This is what I know. I HATE LEARN TO RUN CLASSES. When I have a goal I turn inward. I prefer the silence and solitude to pull me through. I have an inner drive and focus that will amaze the strongest man. I get this from my dad. When I swim I use this focus. This is why I can swim for 1 1/2 hours. I only stop because I am hungry and have no energy left. Mentally I could go for days.

I did some research and discovered that I should start my learn to run classes at a 3Km. Running for 20 minutes non stop. I don’t want to be surrounded by people when I do this. Perhaps it is because I talk for a living – but I don’t want to chit chat when I run, walk or swim. I just want to go. It feels like flying when I am alone in my head.

Saturday I did my first session alone at Wildrose Park. I ran 1 minute and walked 2 minutes x6. This took me 19 minutes. I went a distance of 2.07km. My heart and lungs laughed their heads off. It was easy for me. It was EASY for me. The fat girl RAN and it was EASY. I can walk 26km.

When I got home what struck me as I walked in the house was, wow it feels good to not be so tired I want to sleep. I felt energized.

I need to repeat 1 and 2s for the rest of the week. Stanton says to do it every other day. Awesome, that is easy enough to do. I did yoga today. Tomorrow I will run 1 and 2 for a total of 19 minutes. I will then swim after work for 30 minutes. I swim to de-stress and to change eating habits of eating while stressed out. Here is my challenge for the week…

It is no secret that I am a night owl. Mornings are for the birds and the sunrise. To get my runs in this week, I will need to run in the morning before work. Holy Hell that sucks the big one.

That will be the challenge. Not the running, not the swimming – but running in the MORNING for crying out loud. I will do it. Laying out my clothes tonight will help motivate me. I can do this because this is the MENTAL challenge. I kick-ass at mental challenges. Morning run? I accept that challenge!

Besides it has me excited. I am anxious to run 3k without stopping.

I plan on doing that for my birthday. Happy birthday to me on Dead Elvis Day! August 16 incase you want to come cheer me on at Wild Rose park.

Goal #2 5k in the same fashion. I will start at the beginning and work every week until I can run 5km with out stopping. I plan to have that goal achieved by October. Then I will be a 5 k runner and do the Santa shuffle in December, run at the indoor track and perhaps outside if I can figure out the not falling on ice part.

Goal #3 will be to run the Canada Day 10Km.

Goal #4 will be the Donald Half in WDW. I want that medal so bad I can taste it. I will run the 5 k fun the day before.

Doing this slow to re-build the muscles around my knee will be the key. It is hard not to skip to the end. But that is the goal – slow and steady.

I completely get Cheryl Strayed. Her journey made perfect sense to me because in many ways it is my journey. One step in front of the other. I can’t jump ahead to the end and neither did she.

Wake up call at 6:00AM – good grief… I’ve got this.

Death by Sushi

Eye death
Eye death (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

There have been two times in my life when I welcomed death and she snubbed me.

The first time was I was in labor with my first born. I don’t recall my surroundings other than bells were going off and a ton of people suddenly appeared. I feel into my pillow and thought to myself – I’m okay with dying. Then I looked over at my husband and he was worried. Then I thought, oh hell – I can’t very well leave him alone at a time like this.

I pulled through.

The second time was yesterday. I had sushi for lunch. within 10 minutes I was sick, within two hours my joints were swollen, my breathing was comprimised and I was covered in hives. I was in so much pain I thought, I’m okay with dying.

I am no a wimp when it comes to pain and sickness. I go to work with pnemonia, I walked 7km on a broken foot, I have even had a hangnail and survived. I was totally cool with dying. This poisoning business has taken a lot out of me. I am exhausted and afraid to eat. The not eating part is good and bad. I hope to lose a gazillion pounds because of this, but I know I will never get my strength back unless I do. Fresh food has me a bit scared.

All I want is peanut butter toast. I did live on that in high school. I was a non eater in those days. Give me a snickers bar and a glass bottle of coke and I was set for days. I would pack a peanut butter sandwich and an apple. It is still one of my favorite lunches. The best part was, I didn’t starve to death. I am pretty sure I am not starving to death now. I am super dehydrated and very sleepy. I spent my day drinking water and sleeping. I watched a movie and slept some more.

What this experience has done for me was reflect on who is important to me. I contacted everyone who I thought should know. ChatterBox even came in my room to creep on me to see if I was still breathing. I had no idea. I was out. Thinking about the list of people may me think about my small circle and how important they are to me. I also realized I am not all that important in the grand scheme of things. Life will continue whether I am here or not. The thing is, I would be so ticked off if I had expired yesterday. I still have goals to meet.

I was goofing around with some cards I have and chose a single card to meditate on. I use these cards for focus during my yoga practice or quiet contemplation. Usually a card that pops up is about creativity or joy. The message is often about seeking a creative outlet for expression of self or it is telling me not to take on too much and slow down to enjoy the view. Yesterdays card was one that has never shown itself to me. The card is Victory. The message’s essence was whatever you have been working on will succeed. I was surprised to hear that message. I never thought I wouldn’t succeed. I am tenacious enough to plow through to get what I want even if I need to find it in unusual places. I seen the brass ring and my eyes don’t leave it until it is in my hand. Sure this is obsessive or overly focused, but some of the greatest success stories are not because opportunity fell into their lap. These people worked for it. I am working for it. I expect my education dream to be fulfilled in a years time. Possibly a year and a half because I need to take some time off to rejuvenate my mind and make me hungry again for learning. I am tired and resent having to write with managerial focus when the sun is shining and the farmer’s markets and parks are calling to me. I also expect to have a new career within the next two years. I hope it will be much sooner, but I am willing to wait. I am not that person who is waiting for the opportunity to fall into my lap, I am keeping a watchful eye and listen carefully to signs.

Today is a big day in my world. My ED announced her retirement and the new replacement will be introduced to the Board today. The rest of us will find out on Monday. I look at this with mix feelings. I am ready for change but hesitant to discover how the change will affect me. At any rate, I am ready. A newish friend of mine asked me yesterday what my plan was to do with my degree once the business of school and homework was done. I said I want to be Emperor of the World complete with cape, awesome silver boots and minions. If that fails, I want to be an integral part of a non-profit agency. Not front line but management. Eventually I want to run the agency. Not necessarily the one I am in, but AN agency. I figure it is a great shield to the world being an ED for non-profit when I am trying to rule the world. It is a perfect plan and no one will suspect it. I will gain the trust of loyal minions and have access to an office secret lair. My son is savvy enough to build me all the technical gadgets I would need, like sharks with lasers on their heads or a volcano that erupts with a push of a button.

So either my near death experience has made me delusional or very self-aware. Either way, I’m glad I didn’t die by sushi – it is a pitiful way for the emperor of the world to die. I’m think more along the lines of death by a Q gadget or squeezed to death by Doc Oct. Either way, I will make a splash because I am reaching for the brass ring.