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.

 

 

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Mo has a Wild Streak – Let the training begin!

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

Wild by Cheryl Strayed (Photo credit: bubbletea1)

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.

No Christmas Guilt Mo!

Then I Swam out of My Bathing Suit…not Awesome

It finally happened. I swam out of my bathing trunks.

How did THAT happen you might ask? Well…I was passing a guy in the lane, I picked up speed so I wouldn’t crash with on coming traffic. My feet became tangled as my shorts slipped down my legs. The guy behind me had his binoculars swim goggles on and was able to catch the entire show.

Awesome.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. So I laughed.

Back in February when I started swimming (3 bathing suits ago) I was wearing a suit I thought I would be in for a very long time. Quite quickly it became too big. Onto the next suit… again… It became too big.  In April, at Easter time I purchased the current suit. It was my very first speedo. I struggled a bit to get into it at first. I knew it was a bit small, but I wanted to be able to have it for a long time. Years ago I had a tankini I bought after I lost lots of weight (50lbs) at weight watchers. It was the smallest I had been since children. (The funny thing is, I weighed less then, but I am a smaller size now. Exercise has really made a difference in my shape.)  Those tankini bottoms are the ones I lost today. Like most of us fat girls, I am self conscious of how I look. I cover up my jiggly bits as does every other fat girl I see. I would wear my tank and slip on the shorts. After I lost the bottoms today, I left them on the side of the pool. I couldn’t believe how liberating it was. I could swim faster and easier through the water. It was very freeing.

It had me thinking about why I am so self conscious.

Society plays a part. Fat = not beautiful or shameful. I was often the subject of ridicule. People would talk behind my back about my size – people I loved. I knew it, I know it, it still happens. The odd thing is, it is people’s perceptions of beauty that make the road difficult. We all struggle with image. Often people think it is just a matter of not doing or not eating something so it will make a difference. True it would make a difference but there seems to be more to the equation.

I was at the family picnic last friday night. I could not stop eating chips! It is not a problem for me any other time in my life. Around my family, I fall back into that same trap of emotional eating. We talk about MINDFUL eating in my weight wise class. But this wasn’t all mindless. It was like i was trying to fill a void. It was amplified because of some things that were said. Again – perception. Without getting into huge detail, I felt judged and not supported.

I may never feel supported because my point of view differs immensely from this particular individual’s. Partly because they are placing their emotions and experiences onto my situation. It is not the same situation so their perception doesn’t seem to fit in my situation. In no way am I pointing fingers or blaming. I may only be assuming this to be the case. I hope I am. I want to be wrong. So once again, food became my best friend, my confidant, my protector. Soothing me into a numb like stasis. I have to figure out how to stop this cycle! I can apply the strategies I have learned every where else. I felt so terrible afterwards, I went for a long walk afterward to burn off some of the food I ingested. Someone might ask, then why did you eat it? Habit – yes, comfort – yes, fear – yes, I am not really sure, I it a combination of all those emotions.

Here I thought I had it almost beat. My mom said to me the other day, I think you are 1/2 way there. I am not sure about that. When I am surrounded by my children, my friends, my support network, I feel like I can conquer the world! I know I can do this! I was thinking that I have the head game to weight loss all figured out. HA! Friday night I learned differently. I have a ways to go. But I am getting there. I do understand the eat less move more aspect. Looking at food as fuel has changed my life. Understanding how emotional stress makes me eat is also good. It makes me AWARE. That is new. Awareness is the beginning of recognizing what I am doing. I need to enlist the help of my daughter. She supports me unconditionally. If I strategize with her ahead of time, I know she would discretely take the chips away from me. It is funny how SHE is allowed to do it, but any man in my life would have his head chewed off by me if he tried. This thought alone needs more reflection.

Meanwhile, I liked the freeing aspect of swimming in just my tank. I wore shorts in public for the first time since – well I can’t remember. It is liberating and I like that feeling. Mo and I need to go and dig deep into the old clothes to find more shorts. I am getting ready to say good bye to the fat girl and hello to the fit girl. She is less jiggly.

Coping with Emotional Eating

I have always known deep down inside that I am an emotional eater. What I didn’t really understand until today is how much pain food was able to numb.

I am stuck somewhere between acceptance and control. I want to change the was things are, but sadly I have no control. My instinct is to eat. I swam instead. Did I get the same satisfaction? No. Did it take the pain away? No. Did I swim until I was tired? Yes. That didn’t help? No.

While I swam I gave some serious thought to pain and why I can’t remember hurting this badly before. I think there are a couple of very good explanations for that.

1. Wisdom and knowledge have taught me many things. One of them being gratitude. Being grateful for what you have, then losing it in spite of your best efforts sucks. Accepting it is gone and no amount of fixing can help, also sucks. Being taught that gratitude and kindness can give you what you need, makes losing it that much harder to accept. The reality is I have hurt like this before but wisdom makes me appreciate what I had more so. The pain is magnified.

2. Past experience taught me to eat my troubles away. That left me feeling numb. I am not doing that this time. Don’t get me wrong, I really, really want too, but I recognize the addiction trap I was in and am trying to resist it. The result is, the pain doesn’t go away. That makes it feel more intense. That sucks.

I do wish I learned at an earlier age this lesson I am going through now. Regardless of the time, I am learning it now. I need to find strategies to cope. Listening to sad songs and crying doesn’t help the situation. My brain is pissed off because I won’t eat any cookies. I am trying to ride the wave out. I will win.

I have taken care of body in this situation. Taking care of mind is a struggle. I think I must turn to spirit for this next phase. Gratitude breeds acceptance. Turning the thoughts around so negative does not creep in is the key for me.

I am starting a gratitude photo album. Every day I will take pictures of things I am grateful for. It is my hope that this will be a healthier way to cope with pain and loss than eating. Thank goodness for Mo, she gets me through the rough patches.

Mo and I Completed our First 10K

The day I told myself I was setting a goal to walk a half marathon (21.0975 km or 13 764 miles) I figured I could do this, no problem! How did I know? Well, I was known for my commando style at attacking the Disney Parks. Being at the gate for when it opened, walking all day and not stopping until I hit the bed long after fireworks were over. A Half Marathon should be a piece of cake by then. Oh Edmonton Tourist you are a eejit.

I want to take this opportunity to apologize to every half marathon walker and runner out there. It is hard and I know it!

Today was my long walk scheduled to be 10km. I had met with my dietician on Thursday and we discussed nutrition strategy because I seem to crash around 7 or 8 k into my walk. Her suggestion was to have pasta the night before, eat a breakfast of egg, fruit and the traditional sunday pancake. Then she wanted me to take a package of Jelly Belly Sports Beans with me and a bottle of G2. I was instructed to take 2 beans before I walked out the door, followed by 1 bean every 15 minutes or so. As I reached the 7k mark I took 2 more because of this mental block playing in my head. Or as I call her Negative Nancy. She was mouthing off to me. Playing conversations in my head I had the pervious day that were upsetting. Suddenly Mo appeared after I ate those 2 jelly beans, Mo suggested some more G2 and suddenly I was home! completing my first 10k in 2.07 hours. Slower than I had hoped, but the point is to FINISH not finish FAST. I will save that goal for another day.

Knowing I walked 1/4 marathon today amazed me. Why you ask? Not because I didn’t think  I could do it, of course I can!! Just knowing where I was a year ago and how I never thought this new person I am could ever be me. Thank you to all of you who support me, cheer me on and continue to inspire me.

Next Sunday is another 10k.  Piece of cake!

KitKat + Wilson = Mo

Today Mo and I sat and chatted with my Dietician. We discussed the need for increasing my intake because I feel I am plateauing. Sounds weird, but if I am not ingesting enough calories then my body with go into survival mode. I burn 1000 calories on Sunday’s for my long run/walk. I am so hungry afterwards I am at risk for devouring small children or animals that cross my path. My Dietician told me she was proud of my progress.

PROUD

I can count on 1 hand the number of people who have told me they are proud of me.

I came home tonight after yoga, did my homework, planned a camping trip with my son and kissed my girl goodnight. Before my girl went off to bed she needed to post a facebook status.

Keep in mind she is 13, in my minds eye, there is no one more special or spectacular sans her brother. The two of them together are my Mo. Here is her status:

My mom has a blog where people all over the world read it, her twitter, she has like 6 famous people following her, she’s met the mayor, is goal setting, finishing her degree to enter management at her work, she swims, is doing the half marathon, AND is juggling family. I have one sentence to sum her up. My mom is the coolest EVER! Oh did I forget to mention that she is also working full-time?
Love you! ♥

Wow…I love you too sweet girl xxx