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.

 

 

Good News! I didn’t Die Today

It’s been a very difficult year for. I once sat in front of a gal who was gazing into my crystal ball and she told me that my life was going to be difficult for a few years to come. That was 3 years ago.

She was right.

It’s not that my life has been terrible, on the contrary. Growth and learning have happened at an exponential rate for me. All the great life lessons come to me at a price. They are never pleasant and they are never pain free. I learn best from hitting bottom than I do from skipping along smelling daisies. I am pretty sure I have reached Super Genius Level with all the life lessons of late.

My ‘not running’ lesson has been hard as well.

Since my Calgary half Marathon – my plans and goals were shelved.

Calgary was the most kick-ass awesome race experience to date.

  1. I felt strong
  2. I recovered quickly
  3. I was ready

I had set some pretty amazing goals for right after the race. I had planned on not losing my distance. I was going to maintain the ability to run16k for my longs. That to me works perfectly for half marathons – well, for me. I had the Moose is Loose lined up to walk it with my dad, then I was going to Disneyland to Run the Dumbo Double Dare (10km on Saturday and 21.1km on Sunday). The Vancouver Rock and Roll Half Marathon would be next the last weekend in October and then FULL ON TRAINING for the Donald in January. As you may recall, I achieved a DNF in WDW for a knee injury.

So where did I leave off?

Well, I had surgery after Calgary and my world fell apart. For the record, Patience is not a Virtue that I am very good at. I should have not walked the Moose with me Dad, but it was with my Dad and it was his first half and I am very happy I did it even though I experienced a major health scare. When I say major, I mean major. My Doc was not happy and wrote me a note forbidding me to run in Disneyland. So I deferred it until next year.

I watched all my pals and my daughter cross the finish line.

It sucked.

I was happy for them but I was sad for me.

Now looking at my calendar, the time table tells me that Vancouver is 6 weeks away.

I have been walking, I can do the distance, but time is a major factor. I am not elevating my heart rate lately so speed eludes me. The other side of that coin is…I am afraid I have lost my mojo.

Today was the day I would attempt to run again. I announced it at RunClub on Wednesday. In front of 60+ people who know me as the RunClub MC. IT made me accountable. So what did I do?

I went for a run today. And I didn’t die.

I brought The Captain with me. I knew that we would be stopping lots because he has to sniff everything.

I am out of Ghost6 runners. This makes it sound like a grocery list item. Well, for me it kinda is. I work in the running industry, so shoes are one of those ‘milk, bread and eggs’ items. I have a wall rack FILLED with shoes of every make and model you can think of. But Ghost 6 is my long distance shoe. My last two pairs are finished. I wore one yesterday on the floor at work, walked over 5k just doing my job, and got home to find my joints, back and shoulders were pain riddled. This is a sure fire sign that my shoes are done. I had discussed my shoe issue with Nic, my shoe whisperer. He had suggested that I give my Nike Pegasus 31 a try (I have 2 pairs) They are a neutral shoe with nice cushioning and a drop similar to the Ghost 6 that I have been using. I wear them all day for work and feel great! Odds are this was going to be a reasonable replacement and I was happy with that idea!

I began my run this morning at the top of Mill Creek Ravine. It is an old rail line that has been converted into a running path. It is paved and tree lined. When I say tree lined I mean it is bush. IMG_7680

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It feels like you are in the middle of no where. I love it. It is my favourite place in the whole world. It isn’t tainted by memories with others because I will not share it. It is my place. In fact, it is my happy place.

I just lied, I share it with my Captain, but only him.

The run started off pretty good. My legs felt good, lungs felt good, I kept my pace slow so I wouldn’t over do it. It was good….not great or fantastic, but good!

Half way I needed to stop and sit on the bench. I was getting dizzy and I blame my brain tumour. It makes me dizzy all the time, sometimes worse than others. Sitting calms things down. It was at this point The Captain decided he needed to chase rabbits into the bush. Ummm, no.

I was not going to bush-sack today. He looks at me and speaks like Chewbacca with groans and such. I looked at him and firmly said no. He actually  “harumphed” followed by a pout. He wouldn’t look at me for the next 10 minutes as punishment.

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Off we went, further into the valley.

It was at this moment I listened to my feet.

Feet: Hey Robyn, WTF is on us?

Me: Nike Pegasus 31

Feet: Where are the Ghost 6 that we love?

Me: I don’t have any left. Brooks has the Ghost 7 out now and we don’t like it remember?

Feet: Oh right, but that doesn’t explain the Pegs.

Me: True, but they felt so good on a 9 hour day, I figured they would be awesome!

Feet: well, now we know they aren’t. To prove this point, we are going to make the arches burn now. Followed by telling the knee you injured to get cranky because your arches burn and compensating for us is really going to make your knee cranky.

Me: DAMN, why can’t you two just be happy you are out running again?

Feet: Because, we want Ghost 6 strapped to us and we are not going to behave until you meet our demands.

Me: Seriously? you are holding me hostage? You are going to regret this feet.

And they did. But in turn, they made my last 3km H E DOUBLE HOCKEY STICK!

To make them suffer, I did a long a steep hill. This made knees really pissed at me. Heart and lungs were cool with it though.

Once I reached the top I paused to check out the view.

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To me there is nothing prettier than a prairie blue sky! The feet were finally relaxed about the running thing and felt happy again. Then Cap and I hit the road once more and the feet were ANGRY!

I ignored them, but ran to my store.

I entered the building, walked back to the clearance room, found the last 2 pairs of Ghost 6 size 10 Women’s and marched to the counter where I did a product check for other shoes in the province.

These were the LAST 2 SIZE 10 WOMEN’S SHOES LEFT. DAMN YOU BROOKS!!! So I bought them, and some KT Tape for my knee.

I ran just .2 shy of 7km. Not bad for my first day back. It took me a while, but that part will take practice. I have a 10km scheduled with Karen on Sunday, so I will run a couple of 4-5ks this week to keep the joints moving.

AND I will run in my new Brooks Ghost 6, training has begun for the Vancouver Rock and Roll. I have my health, the motivation and the shoes.

Bring it on.

 

The Interview

December 16, 2009.

That was the day I sat at a table in my classroom and cried after school. Well…I sobbed like my heart was broken.

It was, but not in the traditional sense. I was crying because I hated my job. I hated my life and I hated the dark path I was spiralling down. Between that day and January 11, 2010 my life is blank. I cannot tell you what happened or who I spoke to or why I did things. I can’t tell you because somehow, I have erased it from my thoughts. I suspect it was to dark and sad to bother remembering.

Why January 11? I started a conversation with someone that day that changed the way I look at things. I didn’t know it then, but January 11th was the first day of a brighter future for me. I learned about running. I didn’t take it serious and still thought it would never be for me. But it interested me.

I began listening. More importantly, I began thinking.

A friend of mine who would become the most influential reason for change, asked me a series of questions one day. They required answers to questions that I had never thought about. Things that made up me. Books I read, movies I liked, favourite foods, activities I enjoy. It sounds inane, but for me I called this the interview.

The interview required me to examine myself. Look at myself in a light that was honest.

I don’t remember doing that before.

Looking at myself this way required me to examine my life and actions and discover why I was loathsome. Why I behaved the way I did and why did I always put myself last. The ironic part of this whole scenario was – my friend who asked me these questions, asked because they thought I had it all going on and wanted to learn from me.

HA!

They soon learned that we were the same except for one small detail: I aspired to change at faster rate to achieve a level that would put me on equal footing with them.

Did it work? No.

I realize now that we were equals. I never saw myself equal to anyone. I saw myself as less than average. Less than normal, and less than what I could possibly every hope to be.

3 years ago I never thought I would be a University graduate. I never thought I would ever run a half marathon, nor would I ever be working at a job I didn’t hate.

2 years ago I never thought I would be starting a foundation that would assist researchers that can find a cure for a disease that changes the lives of children and families in ways that is to painful to imagine it happening to you. I never thought people would stop me on the street because they recognize my face and know my story. I never thought I could do things independently and still be accepted by friends and family.

1 year ago I never thought I would work in the fitness industry. I thought I would always be discriminated against because of my weight. I thought pretty things were never meant for people who looked like me. I thought fitness clothes were just for gazelles and gorillas like me had to wear ill fitting mens clothes. Never did I think I would influence an entire industry and see the change happen in the spring and because I had the courage to speak up and ask for something I think I deserve.

Today I sat and cried just like I did 4 years ago, only this time I am crying because I do not recognize that place where I was. I cry because I turned dreams into goals achieved. Dreams without goals and a plan are just wishes. Wishes are just fireworks that go up in smoke.

A woman came into work the other day because she had heard I was working there now. She wanted to meet me. She wanted to hear my story. 4 years ago I just had a sad story. I still have dreams. Not all of those dreams will get goals and steps to work on. Why? Because I have learned that not every dream comes true because you out grow them. 4 years ago I had different dreams. None of them came true and quite frankly I am happy about that because you never know what is around the corner.

I don’t expect all my dreams to come true, but I have steps in place to make them a possibility.

Possibilities are endless.

This is me 4 years ago.

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This is me 2 weeks ago. My new shirt with the Foundation’s named and my new look never would have happened without a goal with a plan. It made all the difference…and so did the interview.

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Why Would I Stop Running?

1476023_668049609912757_266164373_nI had a conversation the other day with a person who tries to be kind but after decades of being mean and nasty, words still come out wrong. She had called me to see how I was doing, we speak to each other and ‘catch up’ about once a year….and only if she calls.

She had asked me about my progress on my running and my weight loss because apparently it is how you look that defines you. I had NO IDEA  ← insert a heavy sarcastic tone here. I always thought it was the things you do and they way you treat people that define you.

At any rate, I told her about my weight loss  – it has tapered off but that happens. It leaves in waves and the tapers off. The suggestion was to drink shakes or smoothies to boost something or rather so it will kickstart me again… Um – get ready for more sarcasm – I had no idea she was a nutritionist too!! I ignored her helpful suggestion and told her my Doctor, my dietitian and I had a plan and its working great. (apparently if it was working great I would be thin by now) I also told her of my running life – its hard right now because of the new snow and the windchill makes it disgustingly hard to want to go outside – but I do it.

Then she asked me what will happen to me when I stop running altogether? It would be a shame to get massively fat again. WTF? Why do I have to stop running?

Apparently, it isn’t as awesome as cycling and I should switch now before its too late.

Really? Too late for what? Armageddon? The Zombie Apocalypse? I am pretty sure I don’t have to quit if I don’t want to. In fact, my Doc and I were just talking about up coming races and how I preregister to keep motivated because I always need to know what is coming up next so I don’t fall into the Marathon Blues ever again.

The Marathon Blues is a phenomena where you train super hard for an event and then once it is done, you have nothing to look forward to or train for and life feels like it is missing something. I told my Doc I have 4 half marathons for 2014. That will keep me going in spite of the snow.

I am currently waiting for the sun to come up because I don’t feel like running with my headlamp today. And I am hoping the wind will slow down when the sun is up…at the very least it will look warmer than dark and foreboding out.

As far as I can tell, there is no real good reason why I have to quit running or why I would ever stop. When that day comes, I will deal with it then. Meanwhile, being 46 I have a good 20+ running years ahead of me if I continue to play it smart. Between me, my Coach and my Doc – we have it covered… Thanks.

Now please excuse me, I have a 5k in shin deep fluffy snow to run.

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Body Image

Body Shapes Sketch for blogPart of the Mo Project has been about body image. Not losing weight or looking awesome – that is a massive benefit. More importantly loving how I look.

Starting out on this journey I learned pretty quickly that my emotions around body image had a lot to do with what ex-boyfriends and an ex-husband had to say about my flesh.From them,I heard comments about over weight gals sitting on airplanes and taking up more room than they paid for. I have learned about the horrors of seat extender seat belts and I have HAD a fake hug where it was actually and belly squeeze to see how much weight I was hold on to. I have heard stories about men ACTUALLY ‘losing their chubbie’ at the thought of sex with an over weight gal- sorry to be crude but CRIMENY! Why is it that some men can be just so shallow? Why is it the ones who have weight to lose themselves seem to think its okay to to discuss the flab on their gal or worse…the flab on gals who are NOT THEIR GIRL.

We all know that guy. We also know that guy learned that behavior from somewhere.

After my run on Sunday I saw my photo with the medal around my neck and I was shocked. I have not stepped on a scale in over a month, mostly out of fear that I have gained weight but also out of fear that I have not. My mom pointed out to me that my weight is coming off from head to downwards…my ass is massive and that annoys me because I run to tun my ass OFF…so far it doesn’t look like it…but after seeing my photo, I have to say it’s coming off everywhere, just slower than I had hoped.

I read Plus Model Magazine…not for the articles, for the photos and to be inspired. Curvy girls are beautiful. The secret is to wear clothing that makes you feel beautiful and makes you feel sexy. That is a common truth for everyone. If you feel it – then you are it.

I have turned a few heads this year. Something that hasn’t happened in FOR FREAKING EVER because 1) I am older 2) I stopped taking care of myself and 3) clothing was meaningless for a while.

It’s not that I am looking but it certainly feels great when a stranger checks you out! It makes you feel attractive and that is all part of the body image for self.

Hair, makeup, clothing, jewelry and shoes do not have to be expensive, but there has to be thought put into it.

I am sick of fat shaming. Walk a mile in ANYONE’S shoes before you get to do any shaming. Learn to love yourself in spite of comments from others. Eat food that makes your body feel good, when I say feel good – sugar doesn’t do it. Fresh and natural does.

And coffee… but that is just me.

So today when I got up, I did my hair, my makeup and chose my clothes carefully because who am I seeing today? No one…working at home. But it helps me feel great about how I look, which helps me be careful about what I eat.

Love yourself. Those ex’s didn’t make the cut for a reason.

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