100 Mo

img_1091Life gets in the way and suddenly you are not where you thought you might be. That is the problem with expectations. You think and plan for one thing and another thing pops up. As did with my life this week.

I went to my my post MRI follow up and discussed events. Things are progressing nicely – and by progressing I mean my Acoustic Neuroma is behaving itself. Swelling has changed and so my new normal plan is working out just fine. Stress free is my goal but seriously when has anyone ever lived through a stress free existence? I practice mindful meditation as a way to combat the anxiety I feel towards my AN and life in general. This has resulted in a positive change in outlook. For that I am thankful.

My Mo goals have not been as successful but all things considered, I am pretty happy about that.

Let’s recap; 2 weeks ago I set 3 goals for myself.

  1. Increase flexibility to be able to touch toes (again).
  2. Increase endurance by walking consistently.
  3. Strengthen core to improve posture.

TOES! I became another inch close this week! I am 2 inches away from success. My body has begun to rebel and groans a bit but I insist we need to continue practicing.

Goal 1= Progressing.

Walking! Well…. It is super icy and I just got cleats screwed to the bottom of my shoes. Falling is not helpful in my new normal life so safety first people! Perhaps this will help me achieve that goal. The winter weather feels like it is back so I missed warm and melty walking opportunities. Cool crisp evenings are something I look forward to.

Goal 2= Stagnant

Core! WOOT! I see the most progress in this goal. I have increased to 100 crunches and feel pretty great about it. When I finish and I am lying on my floor, I can feel a waistline indent, take THAT wine from Friday night! Everything is tightening up nicely. 40 more as an increase felt really great. I am pleased to discover that it doesn’t take long to get back into fight shape. I obviously wasn’t starting from scratch. This pleases me.

Goal 3=knocking it out of the park!

For February I have been thinking about adding something to my morning routine. I think it will be small weights for my arms and shoulders, but I am still thinking about that.

Getting back into fighting shape will be a slow process for me, but my goal of the Canada Road Race is still clear and in sight. I will make it. Having a goal where I am seeing major success has been motivating. Ultimately that is where I am at, finding the motivation to keep progressing.

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One Week of Mo

I stand before you with one week after the new Mo goals of 2017 were set.

So Robyn, how did you do?

Great! kinda…. sorta… but I am pretty happy about it.

Let’s recap, last week I set 3 goals for myself.

  1. Increase flexibility to be able to touch toes (again).
  2. Increase endurance by walking consistently.
  3. Strengthen core to improve posture.

My first goal to touch toes went pretty well. I was 6″ away from my toes on Monday. By Friday I was 3″ away. This impressed me. I thought progress wouldn’t be as quick and when I was doing some yoga poses with my legs outstretched, I was able to reach my toes one leg at a time by Friday. In a standing position it hasn’t happened yet. But so far I am pleased. I spend about 5 minutes every morning doing this.

The plan was for me to walk 30 minutes ever day after work with my dog and an hour on the weekend for a long walk. This did not happen. I have an excuse although its lame, It was -30 all week. Whatever, I’ll catch up. But I did go for a super long walk at Elk Island National Park! I saw a Bison and a wolf track. I trudged in a foot of snow. Next time I am renting snowshoes. If you want to hear about that adventure, visit here.

Strengthen my core. That was hard but I did it. The worst of it is getting off the floor but that too with add strength. I started with 20 crunches and 10 crunches on each side for a total of 40. By Friday I was easily doing 30, 15 and 15 for a total of 60. That takes me about 5 minutes in the morning as well. But then I am done and it quickly has become a habit. I forgot on Monday, but remembered Monday night. Then I jumped right in on Tuesday morning and boom – easy peasy.

My plan is to walk 30 minutes tomorrow, although my legs are pretty cranky today because the snow was deep. It was a large effort at Elk Island today. I also visit my Neurologist tomorrow and get my results from my last MRI. This is an event that I find very stressful. I am sure I will get good news but having an Acoustic Neuroma is stressful for me. People tell me to just stop worrying about it. ITs not that I worry, I am concerned. That is a big difference. I make sure I do all the right things because living a full life is important to me. Its not like you can just forget about it. I have symptoms that remind me everyday. I usually leave his office and cry for a bit in my car. The big stress relief. I do this even if its good news. I cannot help it so I just let it happen. No point fighting. Then I am able to move past it and focus on the goals and tasks at hand.

So Wish me luck!

Wake up Mo

Remember me?

It has been 18 months since I have posted here. Let’s catch up.

  • You last saw me in Ireland running across the country from Dublin to Kinvara. That was Epic.
  • Then I helped my friend run from San Fransisco to Los Angeles for fun and we raised $10000 for Do Away with SMA.
  • I race the Wine and Dine that year and then in 2016 I went to the Star Wars Rebel something something in Disneyland. That is when the wheels fell off.

I have a little condition called an Acoustic Neuroma. Long story short, it is a brain tumour that took up residence on my vestibulocochlear nerve. Mine is close to the brain stem but not pushing into it. If that happens then it’s surgery to remove. But so far, it’s behaving itself. I have single sided deafness, balance/dizzy issues, pressure headaches but all things considering, I’m doing pretty good! I walk slow now because I have to be super mindful of falling. More women die from falling complications than heart disease according to my doc- I fall a lot and it’s not glamorous so I have slowed down. Fatigue is a big issue that’s not mentioned here but my doc says it’s one very common symptom. Naps are my super power. If you need medical information about it, the Mayo Clinic explains it quite nicely here 

I tried running as this progressed but certain symptoms were more than I could handle. I took all of 2016 off and worked on figuring out what my new normal was going be. Let me tell you, it broke my heart because my physical progress from Fat to Less Fat was pretty damn important to me. I had an aunt say to me, ‘you better watch it – you’ll be fat again in no time.” I know people mean well but sometimes I think ‘Do they really?’ I haven’t really spoken with her now since….2015? I think? I cut out negative and mean people from my life. I made the choice to simplify everything. I found a pretty good balance but felt myself getting squishy… I still wear the same size but when you don’t use your muscles like you used to your shape changes.

I am not likening that much.

I gave up pop and artificial sugars. I gave up sugars for the most part, Christmas 2016 I went over board but, I can curtail that again easily. My eating habits are still pretty great but my exercise is not. Going for a walk once a week with my dog is good, but I need more.

So I signed up for a Race.

2017 is Canada’s 150th birthday, My 50th birthday and Edmonton Marathon’s 25th birthday.

While my dream of NYC Marathon is now a faded memory, I can still walk. Sure I have to walk slow and less far but I am still upright and not dead yet so all is well. I signed up for the Canada Day Road Race 2.5km.

IT’s shocking to me that I am okay with 2.5k and not the 15 km or relay of even 5km. It has taken me a year to get over the fact that I do not run anymore.

People say, well you will bounce back. That isn’t helpful. 1 year of getting used to the fact that everything in my life is different is not the same as bouncing back, because I had to find a new normal. I also do not want to undo all the hard work I have put into myself. I am worth the effort so here I am back with Mo trying to figure out what fitness level I am and how I am going to move and advance through new levels. So I made a few goals.

  1. Increase flexibility to be able to touch toes (again).
    1. I will engage with yoga stretches every morning for 5 mornings a week.
    2. Primarily focusing on my hamstrings.
  2. Increase endurance by walking consistently.
    1. Walk for 30 minutes every day after work with my dog.
    2. 1 Long walk on the weekend for a minimum of 1 hour.
    3. focus on time not distance yet.
  3. Strengthen core to improve posture.
    1. planks every morning starting with as long as I can go, I suspect it will be 30 seconds but we will soon see. Record how long and increase over one month.

3 small goals is good for January. I will update my progress and reassess the goal in February. My long term goal is Canada Day 150 2.5km race.

I plan to be in the creek a lot this month because its my happy place and I really need it.

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Health can sure change your life in a moments notice.

 

 

Race to Kinvara: The kit arrives

I got a text while at work yesterday.

“There is a really big box from Saucony addressed to you”

YAY! My kit arrived! I only had 6 hours before I could go home a tear that box open!

I knew it was coming. I had received an email with my airline tickets that my ‘kit’ would be arriving July 4th. Well…it arrived July 3rd. It looked like this.

I loved how it was wrapped in twine. Seriously, all packages need to be wrapped in twine!

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I savoured the moment. I want to say I didn’t know what to expect, but I work with shoes for a living. It felt like there were shoes in there and maybe some documents. I was that kid at Christmas who always touched the wrapped packages and could guess what was in there.

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Inside was the BOOK. This book outlines my trip. It let me know I have only 8 people on my team. Wowza…8 I know 3 for sure, maybe more. It also let me know I represent Team Canada, the other countries would include, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, USA…and some others I forgot. All I could think or register in my brain was 8. It also told me there were 22 legs one day and some another day…look, you do not expect me to remember do you? There is running involved and lots of it. But I was distracted by visiting the Guinness Storehouse the very first day! The next day I was distracted by Dinner at Kilkenny Castle! And the third day I was distracted by a SOCAIL MEDIA CONTEST! Now THAT is something I have a fighting chance to win! I need to tag everything #RacetoKinvara @Sacuony and for good measure #FindYourStrong. This blog series is about just that. I found my strong Saucony and its scary and wonderful all at once! I read it…running…places I’ve not seen before, like the Atlantic Ocean from Ireland. Pinch me already.

I put the book down, and read the letter from the President of Saucony – team spirit…fun… happy to be there… yep. sounds great! I am all for it! I put that letter down.

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I am a sucker for anything wrapped in tissue with a sticker. Its so…5th Avenue.

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Ooooh Race to Kinvara Tees! A couple of weeks ago, Saucony Canada sent me a questionnaire to fill out regarding my size. I replied with Shoes Women’s 10 or Men’s 9 – because I figured Kinvara 6 might be on the table….the women’s version is a little narrow for me. Men’s fit a bit better. It also asked clothing size. This is where I felt like not going. Just because I work in the industry and I am good at what I do, does not mean I am a Women’s medium. News Flash – while we are not the majority, we certainly are present. By we I mean fat girls. The industry does accommodate large men – okay men who are fat too. They do. Lots of things go up to men’s size 2XL. A men’s 2XL is really a XL, sizes are weird. But I would never dream of being able to fit into the women’s sizes yet. It just isn’t going to happen. So I am prepared to run in my running clothes that represent my place of work. The very reason I get to go in the first place. But I do know that I can fit into a men’s 2XL if it is stretchy – and by stretchy I mean, forgiving on the hips. Men tend to be not as curvy as women. so a bit of stretch helps a lot.

In the green tissue were 2 T-Shirts. One size women’s L and one size Men’s L. And wow… I cried a bit because if they go this wrong, there isn’t a team Canada Jersey that I could dream of fitting into. It hurt a bit and took some of the excitement away. Why have me go through the humiliation of telling strangers my size if its wrong anyways? Anyways… I get to go to Ireland and this will not hurt my Irish experience. Stiff upper lip and all that. As I tell my staff when things get rough…ITs only Shoes and Clothes people. The world has bigger problems out there… I get to go Ireland!!

I put those to the side and and looked at the next thing.

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Kineta Relay. Now I have heard about these but have never seen them. I quickly put them on because there is nothing that makes a fat girl happier than New Shoes and a Hand Bag. Why? Because they always fit. Always.

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These shoes weighed NOTHING. They were so light and so soft under foot, I decided to take them for a test run on Sunday…I cannot WAIT! They came with optional red laces, I might pop those on, I love red! I love these mostly because they are yellow. Not pink. VizGlo. Awesome!

I was asked at work today how am I not jumping up and down all the time? Well I am inside. I am scared too and that keeps the jumps more subdued.

I’m scared the jersey won’t fit, if I wasn’t scared before – I am now. If it doesn’t, I will be wearing red. My favourite RR T-shirt because you can’t expect me to wear what doesn’t fit. I’m trying my hardest. But I am just not there yet. 117lbs down and it still isn’t enough but I #FoundMyStong and that is enough for me.

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You are doing WhaaaaT?

I took a little time off to distract myself from my exciting Race to Kinvara. I am getting to be like a little kid before they go to Disneyland….I CANT Stand IT!

FullSizeRender-3But I have a lot to do and sitting around day dreaming about Ireland is not getting things done.

August, my pal Joe is going to run from San Francisco to Anaheim. About 28 miles or so a day. some days more, some days less. We are raising money and awareness for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. You can read all about how this all began here.

Today the details began.

We began planning the little stuff. The focus today was food. We are essentially camping in a hotel. The challenge is how to meet Joe’s nutritional needs and cook in a hotel room. Sure it would be easy to go out everyday and eat in a restaurant, but when you are trying to get all the nutrient requirements in for a multi-day marathon, eating out for every meal just is not going to work. We need to control

all the details from taste to nutrition. Bland is his prefference for running. Bland tends not to keep resturants in business.

Breakfast:
The confevsation went like this… “I don’t like to eat too much before I run.

Swell. You will need to supply your body with actual fuel.

I know… but it needs to be bland.”

We talked about options. It is important that he gets carbs and lots of them of a multi day event like this. Oatmeal will be the mainstay of breakfast. And not that instant stuff. Old fashion steel cut oats – QuakerStyle. Secretly, this makes me happy – I love a great bowl of porridge! Apparently he likes apples, nuts and cinnamon. Perfect. I can control content, he gets 3 food groups for a meal, he is happy and I am happy. 4 food groups if we add dairy. That will be optional. Now… cooking it.

When I was a kid, my parents took me around the world. They instilled a love of travel beyond the love of home and things. I would rather spend my money on going somewhere than on TVs, Cars and furniture. Traveling is expensive, especially with kids, but my mom economized and provided us with great food so we could walk in the footsteps of kings.

My mom brought with her a trusty Electric Fry Pan – with lid. This was what it looked like:
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You name it, my mom made it in that fry pan. We had eggs, soup, pasta, stirfry, and countless other meals from a single source. We had a camp kit – all the things you would need in a kitchen: can opener, knives, cutting board, colinder, wash basin, condinemnts, spices, oils etc. It fit in a plastic bin. The Frypan went in a suit case. When we flew, the Frypan and a elecrical converter came with us. Between that and the hotel coffee pot, you can make anything. Ever have soup in a coffee pot? I have. She even warmed up bread by wrapping it in foil and placing it on top of the Fry Pan lid while dinner was cooking.

The advantage to this was her picky eaters (Hello Mike I am looking at you) would still eat and she saved a TON of money so we could see and do things like wander around the Louvre in Paris, or Chill with the Pope at the Vatican or even wave to Paul Bunion as he talked to us from across the parking lot.

Food is the one thing you cannot do without on vacation. Cooking and doing dishes is the least fun part about vacation – but it afforded us to do the fun things.

Shopping in a grocery store in another country really is a cultural experience. It became part of the vacation. Trying foods that were new, or laughing at the unusal nature of flavour combinations – all new to us of course. became part of the experience. Food is the one thing that brings people together on the same level.

Although our 500 miles for SMA is not a vacation, It will be an adventure. Providing our own food is an important part of this. Shopping in places I have never been will be an experience that isn’t new to me. I hope to find fresh farmer’s markets along the way but I am open to all new experiences. Which means…If you live there and are having a BBQ, I’d LOVE to come! Thanks in advance! Here is our route so you can make plans 🙂
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So the menus for the days have come together with flexible options open for contingency plans.

This trip is a million plans within a plan… and its all coming together.

You can help support this adventure by visiting here

We simply want to help as many people as we can, and play a part in defeating this disease. When I run, I always remember the faces of my younger brothers. ~Joseph R Kolinksy

My Summer Adventure

Last week I announced over at the Edmonton Tourist that I am running the Race to Kinvara. You can read about it here.

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It has given me the proper motivation to get my body moving more aggressively than I was before. I just haven’t felt all that keen on running even though I have the Dumbo Double Dare scheduled for September in Disneyland. I just don’t get all that exceeded about Disney Races. For someone who loves Disney and running as much as I do, you’d think it would be a match made in heaven.

Its not.

I get excited about going, I get excited about see my pals, I get excited about the expo. But the race? Meh.

I don’t run fast enough to make it fun. I think that is the large part of it. I don’t have time to stop and meet characters or goof around with pals. I need to go and I cannot slowdown or I get swept.

And I do not need a lecture on increasing my pace. I have knocked 2 minutes per kilometre off since I began running… so just keep those comments to yourself thanks. I am doing the best I can.

Races that are much more forgiving, let me enjoy them for what they are. My favourite race is the Calgary Marathon Weekend. LOVE the atmosphere, the crowd support, the entertainment on the course and you know what? The course itself is pretty. I love the Bow river, I love seeing the Rockies in the distance and I love that it is mostly flat. Not Disney flat. That is FLAT, but Calgary is Prairie/Foothills flat. The perfect flat because running downhill is awesome fun for me.

I know, I know…You can walk a disney race and still finish. Well, maybe YOU can, but not everyone can. I have had 2 sucktastic Disney experiences in a row. I am determined to make my next experience a better one. I loved my first race – the Minnie 10km.

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Crossing the finish line and having Rudy Novotny say hey to me was awesome. This next race has my mental game shaken. Friends have already asked if I am running with them…HELL NO. Go have fun. Enjoy your race. I have to work my ass off to finish and I’d rather do it my own way. Stay focused. Stay Happy and STAY ALONE.

We talked about this before. To me there is nothing I love more than running alone, by myself as in SOLO. It is awesome to hang out before and after with friends but during…get lost. My pal said to me the other day, you don’t know if you like running with people because you have never done it.

Not true.

I have and do run with people for Run Club. I ran today with these awesome people!

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It’s sometimes my job to be a pace leader for the Learn to Run Group. I like it because I set the rules and I think because I am the leader its just different. I like it better when I set the pace and then need to slow down for others. I do not like having to make people slow down for me. I just don’t. I don’t want to talk when I run. I will listen, but don’t expect an answer. A) I am deaf in my left ear and can’t hear you. B) I daydream when I run so talking makes me have to pay attention. BOOOOO that just makes running hard.

When I daydream – or get in the zone – I am aware of cars and the vibration on my wrist for intervals. Thats it. I think about  all kinds of things that I don’t want to share because its about Me sorting out MY thoughts. I love being alone with my thoughts. I don’t get to do that very often. So when I get to…wow…pure bliss.

Anyways…. Ireland.

I have felt then need to up my game because I am on a TEAM. I don’t want to let my team down. Sure it isn’t supposed to be serious. Sure its supposed to be for fun. I still feel the need to be the best I can be. That means I need to run hills, practice pacing, try out clothing and get a feel for what will work.

The best part about the Race to Kinvara is….I get to run alone without my team.

It is a relay. Everyone will be on the bus when I run. I will have been left in the dust by the other teams, so that means I will have the road to Kinvara to myself. I am pretty sure I will weep with joy. Me and my shoes running along the road alone. Honestly? Nothing sounds like a better vacation than that. Apparently I will have a Porter who will drive a scooter to keep an eye on me, hand me water when I need it and basically take care of my needs. Thats as close to being a process as I will ever be and that really appeals to me.

I will do my leg of the run and someone will feel the need to make up for my slow time. Do I care? I did a week ago. I don’t now. This is going to be MY Irish experience. How they choose to experience theirs is up to them.

I did add an element to my training that I had not done before.

I have started wearing my HRM on my training runs. I want to make sure I am running at my best. This is what I learned: I go too fast on my LSD days, but I run within my target for maximum on speed work days. So when I tell someone I am trying my best…I really am.

I have also added my footpod. It gives me my cadence (steps per minute) I am not sure what to do with that information yet. I will keep collecting it and I hope to see it increase by the end of summer.

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I have also started back with My Fitness Pal because I am worried I will gain back what I have lost. I am NEVER GOING DOWN THAT ROAD AGAIN! My jeans are a touch too tight…so its time to become aware again. So far? I have noticed that I was doing okay! I just indulged into many libatious moments over my vacation. But, I always said that I am not on a diet, I am changing my life, but with that, I need to live. Drinks with  friends is part of that. However, now that training has begun in earnest for my Summer Adventure, the beverages need to stop too – the occasional cool one at a BBQ will be fine because I will adjust my intake to accommodate.

So thats it in a nut shell! Aside from my awesome runner’s tan… I am just the same.

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Running Coast 2 Coast: Podcast Edition

rc2c5 years ago I was sitting in the car with my friend Simone and she was telling me how much she loves running. It released her from her stresses. I replied with…. I don’t understand how running feels good AT ALL. You are crazy, it makes no sense to me.

My dad always ran and my family was always saying “you are addicted to running, this is terrible, you need to stop, its bad for you.”

My dad didn’t stop. He kept running. He basically did what he always does. he replied with a “yeah yeah yeah” and did what he wants. Why? Because my dad is a grown up. He gets to choose his own hobbies, his own passions and his downtime spent freely from obligations.

Go Dad, you rock!

I met a runner who runs marathons…get this…FOR FUN. Seriously? Do you know how far that is? Dude, 42.2 km is FREAKING FAR! I didn’t give him the proper respect. I was all….big deal, so you run. So do lots of people. But the more I listened and understood, the more the Kool-Aid tasted better. I drank enough Kool-Aid that I wanted to give running a try.

Boom, 5 years later I am a bonafide Runner.

I have a Pie Run tomorrow. I get to go for a run and they will give me PIE at the finish line. Seriously….who doesn’t like Pie? I’ll run for pie.

I told my pal about the Run for Pie – the same guy who runs marathons for fun. He said “Pie? That has to be one of the best foods available a race course! But there was one time I had a sub, there was these people….”

We exchanged race stories.

Then we thought, this might be a fun podcast.

So he pressed the record button on one of our conversations.

Suddenly, not only am I a runner, but I am a podcast host who talks about running.

Weird how life takes you down paths so unexpected.

You can find my podcast Running Coast 2 Coast here:

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If you like it, please leave a review. If you hate it, please leave a review with WHY. Whys are important for growth.

We are 3 podcasts published and have lots ready to roll out. Even if no one listens, we are having fun. AND I get to talk about running, my next favourite thing to running.

Doing stuff I like and having fun. Can’t get better than that.

Dad’s are smart. Well, mine is. Thanks Dad.

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