That day I became became my own hero

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I did some things in the last 30 days that really amazed me.

  1. I took over the primary spot of managing at work, although temporary, I never excepted to be in this position. I have learned more about myself in a few shorts weeks than I thought possible. University was right, I am capable of so much more than I believed. It is a wonderful feeling to have the complete faith of those around you. I never had that in a work situation before. I like it.
  2. I fitness level is at a level that I didn’t believe to be possible and STILL carry around this kind of weight. I didn’t really train for the Calgary Half Marathon. The Trusty Steed tried to talk me out of running the half. saying I need to be careful, I might injure myself, I really need to evaluate the effects of recovery….blah, blah, blah….We have had this conversation before. I now just ignore him and do what I believe I am capable of. It’s not like I had never done a half marathon before. It wasn’t my first rodeo. I knew how far it was, I respected the distance AND I know about the best ways to reach optimum recovery for me. I ran it, and I never felt better during a half marathon. Never – EVER. I recovered right away and went to work the next day and stood on my feet ALL DAMN DAY. You know something? I have the medal to show for my accomplishment. I feel more proud of this medal than any other I have earned.
  3. I have always been afraid a body modification. The thing about weight loss that no one talks about is the extra skin that doesn’t spring back into place. I have people tell me that they had no trouble. Well, I am will to bet they didn’t 100lbs+. If their skin bounced back, I am super excited for them! Way to go! It is AWESOME that you loo and feel great! That didn’t happen for me. I am at the point of no longer seeing my progress. The more weight I loose, the same way I look. It is kind of discouraging. I talked to my Nurse at Weight Wise and she suggested Skin Removal. It isn’t for the feint of heart. I talked to my Doc and he referred me a Plastic Surgeon who specializes in procedures BECAUSE of weight loss. He won’t even talk to you if you are a yoyo dieter or a fad dieter or haven’t kept the weight off for years. I qualified. I had round one of 3 treatments. Let me tell you, after going through the first phase, I CANNOT WAIT for the second phase!!!

There you have it, 3 things that I did that amazed me. Each one will get their own special entry here on The Edmonton Tourist and here on Me and Mo. Stay tuned because we both know how I like to share crappy stuff that happens to me and then I turn it into lemonade – or Dole Whips because Dole Whips are better than Lemonade.

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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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My choices are : Run or Not Run

sick-girlI woke up with my left eye glued to my cheek. Apparently I had been swallowing glass all night because I couldn’t muster to courage to swallow any longer. I go from ‘why is it hotter than Hades in here?’ to ‘Crimeny. is it about to snow?’. I feel like a thousand ants crawled into my ears and are having twerking competitions.

Perhaps this explains why I don’t feel like running.

I just finished reading 50 50 by Dean Karnazes and I was expecting to hate that guy. I figured he would be an arrogant elite athlete who had no idea what the average guy was all about.

I was wrong.

However, Karnazes is a bit of a maniac when it comes to running. He has mental strength that would make most people cry. When he is sick, he goes for a run. When he isn’t sick, he goes for a run. Now this guy doesn’t just run a 5k loop around his neighborhood. No. He runs a marathon or more because more is better. I agree with that logic, but I am not in the physical realm yet. I really want to be. But doing the work to get there is hard. And when I am sick…harder.

When I feel like I do today, I hunker down. I don’t talk. I sleep when I need it. I drink water and lots of it. I also crave mac and cheese. What is the deal with that? I never eat mac and cheese any more. I also find myself watching movies. Today it was Jobs. I like vision Steve Jobs had. I can apply that to my every day life and to my running as well as my work.

I don’t even feel like putting on socks, never mind my running shoes that feel like soft pillows of goodness. I am wearing my compression running gear because it feels like a hug.

Hugs are good.

But tell me….How do people push past feeling like crap in a sack and run? I can’t. Well…I suppose I could. But I am a mouth breather and that would make my throat hurt more. So I must be a wimp. Or its an excuse. I can push through injury. I can push through mental blockages. I can even push through Catholic guilt – even tho I don’t consider myself Catholic any more, I retain the guilt. That is any Nun’s (worth her salt) Super Power. GUILT. I will run and keep fit before I clean my house, before I get food for my children, before I tend my garden. If you come for a visit, you will be rest assured that I am a teller of truth. My house is a tip yet I have logged 725 km since January 1, 2013. That means, from my doorstep, I ran to Great Falls Montana.

I am pretty sure that means I can give myself a sick day – Take THAT Sister Claudia, I have become impervious to your guilt.

Bring on the NyQuill. I’ll run later this week.

 

I am down, but I am getting up. Failure is not an option

Total FAIL!

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I have let the wheels fall off and I am about to pay big time for it.

I am good at that. I dig myself into some decent sized craters, fill it with water, flail around making assumptions hoping to be rescued and SNAP, the drowning begins.

You think by now I would learn. Apparently not so, I have to be resuscitated before it makes sense to me.

What am I talking about? Well, lots of stuff actually because I just can’t fail in one area of my life at one time, noooooooooooo, I need to screw up everything all at once. I am the ALL or Nothing Girl.

The last little while I have been stressing and working incredibly hard on a University project. It is huge, not because of the amount of work for school – that was big – but because it is an actual project for real life applications and it has life altering consequences if I get it wrong. It is THAT big. I put a lot on my shoulders and didn’t want to let people down. To do that, I neglected my training.

My automatic Dailymille notice postes 11km on my facebook wall yesterday. A team mate said to be “Overachiever”. Ouch (Freudian thing – I typed Couch 5 times before I could get ouch out. – weird right?) Sunday I was suppose to run 18km. Did I? No. Why? I was working. I even missed book club. But when I finished my project, I felt so awesome but more tired than I ever have been.

Monday, I was going to run the 18k (two weeks in a row I have missed my long runs – this is BAD) Why? I don’t know…inner drama? Crappy weather? Poor excuses? I napped?

Last night or perhaps it was early this morning – again… not sleeping. I hate my brain.

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I posted this on facebook:

ug…feel like crap and totally regret becoming a runner. Pretty sure I will die on August 25. Should cancel my trip to wdw so I don’t have to die a second, third and fourth time. Stupid lure of medals

It’s how I feel.

The lack of training at this time in the schedule is bad. I have one month to get my act together and show myself I can do it. I can, I will, but right now I really don’t want too. I am brain tired. Emotionally drained and Intellectually empty.

That makes it hard to put my shoes on and go. The irony of this situation is I know running will make it better. Yet DOING it is the second hardest thing I had to do today.

The hardest? I said a temporary goodbye to a friend who inspires me to do more. They have stepped out for a while. That sucks. But I understand. I get it. I don’t like but it isn’t about me this time – shocking but understandable. I will miss you, call me when you need me.

But every cloud has a silver lining.

My silver lining came in the form of two running mates. Mitch and Baz. Both said things to me that made me want to kiss them, hard, on the cheek. Because they are married and all and I love them in that MAN YOU GUYS ARE BRILLIANT kind of way. Mitch talked me through the jump and said “You just got to get out and do it.” He said other things that were perfect and that I needed to hear but that was the point of the message.

Then Baz gave me this:

http://meanrat.com/how-to-exercise-every-day-and-why.html

There is a line near the end that says  “Just show up”.

That is correct too. Basically they said the same thing to me. He also lectured me and as all great friends do, they smack you when you need it most, “ Wth!!! I may not have been linked up with you long but this doesn’t sound like the Robyn I’ve come to know. Read a good running book or watch some youtube running films. You’ll be fine, just find something that fires you up and completely forget the distance, just go with the flow.

Both men are brilliant in my books. So that is what I am going to do.

Just show up, Just do it and see where it takes me.

I have the best friends ever.

Riddle me this: Why does it hurt on short run days?

Riddle me this Batman: Sunday I run for 16k and feel fantastic, I am not sore and feel like I could go another 16km the next day. Tuesday I go for a shorter run on 6.5 km and can barely walk today because I am stiff and sore.

I think the recovery plan or lack thereof is the reason.

I decided to compare the two runs:

16 km Run

6.5 km Run

Carried 48oz of water drank 24oz by the half way mark Carried 24oz of water and drank 12oz by the end of the run
Ran at 9 AM Ran at 8 PM
refueled with power get at 5km Still full from dinner felt fine
Stretched after the long run for a good 20 min. Did no stretching because mosquitos were eating me alive. Jumped in the car ASAP
Ate protein/carb combo within 30 minutes of stretching out. Drank Nuun Ate nothing, too close to bedtime, drank water
Showered right away Showered right away
Walked around the house doing chores Went to bed

Obviously I did EVERYTHING wrong yesterday. I know from conversations with my dietician that refueling is very important. It gives my muscles the chance to rebuild with protein instead of eating my fat storage because that is inefficient fuel. I let my body snack on my fat while I am at rest and between meals. I get hungry and I tell myself that is my muscles making my fat cry. It works for the most part. I also have a fairly strict eating schedule. 3 meals and 2 snacks. I will sometimes forget about the snacks if I am really absorbed in work/school but I pay for it come mealtimes. It is never good to go into a meal STARVING – binge eating happens.

Learning Lesson #1: ALWAYS REFUEL AFTER A WORKOUT

Thirsty much? Yes and yes. for some odd reason, the prairies are super humid this year and I find it hot. Now for those of my friends who live in the East or South, I know you laugh at me when I think 60% humidity is high and 72F is super hot. But it is for me, just like you won’t run outside at 32F, for me that is perfect running weather. Obviously we come from different worlds. I am also a mouth breather. I have asthma and some awesome allergies so I have no choice. That makes my mouth dry. I hydrate very well when I am not running, there is a glass pitcher filled with water on my desk and I drink it. I get my daily requirements plus a cup of coffee everyday. When I run I feel better and energized if I drink lots of water.

Lesson #2: DRINK THE WATER YOU BROUGHT WITH YOU

Stretch baby! I think I need to stretch more than the average person. This is not based on scientific fact, it is based on how I feel. Walking like my joints are welded together is not cool. My muscles seize up pretty much immediately after I stop running. It could be age it could be weight, it could be just my DNA, however if I stretch right after a workout and after a hot shower, I feel fabulous. This hit by a truck feeling sucks donkeyballs.

Lesson #3: STRETCH IT OUT

Those are not hard lessons to learn, but why do I feel like I can ignore them during the week? I have hills to run today and that will feel like torcher thanks to my lack of proper prep. Suck it up Buttercup, face the consequences to meet your goals.

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Starting friday I will be starting my new series called Fierce Friday. It will be stories about amazing athletes who I have the pleasure to know and they all teach me something about being a little bit more fierce.

 

 

Changing the Weak Mind into a Strong Mind to reach the Finish line

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A friend of mine who is training for the Edmonton Half Marathon texted me that he had completed 18km the other day. That is WAY ahead of schedule. The rest of us were at the 10km mark. I suggested to him he should train for the full marathon  because his distances were right on target for marathon training. This was his reply:

I don’t think I can be in marathon shape in 8 weeks. It feels crazy.

Oh really? This was my response”

If you don’t think it- then you can’t.

If you think you can, then you will

I believe in the power of the mind. But let’s clarify that. I am not naive enough to think I can do anything without putting in the work. Muscles and the rest of my body rely on me to train, that way they know what to do when the mind takes me into the land of daydreams while I run. You see, running long distance can get BORING. Shocking right? Any time you are out there over 2 hours, you literally run out of stuff to think about. So I daydream. I am an awesome daydreamer. I could medal in all daydreaming events. This is a benefit of being an introvert.

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Let’s clarify the definition of Introvert: Contrary to what most people think, an introvert is not simply a person who is shy. In fact, being shy has little to do with being an introvert! Shyness has an element of apprehension, nervousness and anxiety, and while an introvert may also be shy, introversion itself is not shyness. Basically, an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people.

I am an Introvert and it’s awesome. It is hard to find time to be alone with my thoughts because the people in my life are talkers. I like taking trips by myself, I like going to movies by myself, and shopping by myself – it’s all good! Give me an empty room and I have reached nirvana! So running solo for 2-3 hours is an exquisite time for me. Alone, peaceful and silent – except for the waving hello to fellow runners, I don’t talk but I will wave and smile…sometimes I don’t smile because it feels like work. Such is the life of an introvert.

I often hear my peers worrying about being able to do the distance. They worry about not making it, or having to quit. I just don’t understand it. Why wouldn’t you be able to finish? Injury could be a factor. But mentally strong people push through it to finish. Not because it hurts less or they are stubborn, but because you have told your body with strength and conviction that you are finishing. You muscles carry you through to the end and the mind masks the pain. It is an amazing thing. That is how I got through my first half marathon with a stress fracture. My mind was masking all the issues from the PACE BUNNY WHO WOULDN’T SHUT UP to the pain I was feeling until I crossed the finish line. That was when all hell broke loose. I then began to feel the pain and my body wouldn’t let me walk on the foot anymore. It was crazy. The power of the mind is truly incredible.

Belief is only a part of the mental toughness training. Running in weather is important. Rain, snow, heat are all factors that play with the brain.

I am wanting to learn about developing mental toughness. I want to be able to push through pain and exhaustion to finish my goals. I can do this. In an effort to learn more, I am beginning a series about women athletes who work through obstacles and overcome them to achieve their goals. I’ve started the interview process with some amazing women and will begin this weekly summer series The first week of July.

If you are interested in being interviewed or can recommend an amazing female athlete in your life, please drop me a line! I’d love to learn more about you or them or both!

edmtourist@gmail.com

or message me on facebook at The Edmonton Tourist

or on twitter @EdmontonTourist

Meanwhile, stay strong and just do it.

Happy Running!

Motivational Monday: Judge me – I dare you

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So Mo, we have a tumor…now what?

It actually sounds worse than it is. I was diagnosed with Acoustic Neuroma. Basically is is a tumor that grows on the nerve that connects the ear to the brain. Mine is the size

English: benign tumour: acoustic neuroma (also...

English: benign tumour: acoustic neuroma (also known as schwannoma or neurinoma)right size:20x22x25mm Deutsch: gutartiger Tumor: Akustikusneurinom rechts (auch Vestibularisschwannom oder Kleinhirnbrückenwinkeltumor) der Größe 20x22x25mm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

of a grape. Apparently it is a medium sized one. There is a lot of good news surrounding this, so lets be clear: THIS IS NOT A PITY PARTY!!

First of all, it isn’t cancer. PHEW!

The worst side effect is hearing loss in my left ear. Hearing aids won’t help. I like this because if I am bored I can say “What? I can’t hear you!” and walk away.

The worst case scenario is surgery. The best case scenario is it stops growing and we leave it in.

Why am I writing about this on Me and Mo? For a couple of reasons:

  1. It affects my emotional eating.
  2. I get dizzy and workouts aren’t functional.
  3. It is part of the obstacles I need to deal with for my health and that is what this blog is about.

So where does that leave me?

Yesterday I signed up for the WDW Marathon weekend run events. My kiddo and I are both running the 5k, I am also running the 10k and the half marathon. Today I feel like I won’t make it to the finish line of the 5k never mind run for 3 straight days. Why? I did something stupid yesterday.

I ran on the treadmill. I have a hate/hate relationship with the treadmill. It was really windy and I didn’t feel like struggling during my run. So I went to my dad’s and hopped on his treadmill of boredom. His TV isn’t hooked up and it’s in the basement where you can’t even look out the window. So me and my ipod listened to the Mickey Miles podcast for about 20 minutes…then it happened.

I began to feel nauseous and I couldn’t hold myself upright. Grabbing onto the bars I slowed the machine down so  could walk. It felt like a ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl only without the laughing and fun part. Then I sat.

I needed to sit for about 45 minutes before I could I get myself home. Dad was already to drive me home after he ate his dinner – he said he had none to share so too bad so sad for me! My family is so loving and awesome. No special treatment here! I really like that!

I was fine, so I got myself home safe and sound, but WOW was I tired. The kind of tired that goes with a half-marathon tired. I don’t remember closing my eyes for sleep, I just remember waking up this morning. A few more nights of those kinds of sleeps would be fantastic!

Today it was raining! This thrilled me because I am SICK AND TIRED OF WINTER! Rain means the snow melts faster and the air smells fresh. It was cold in the rain but not snow cold – I loved it…except wow I was still tired. It took me forever to finish 6k. But that’s okay – I will call it my recovery run. Tomorrow is only 3k so I am pretty sure I am good for that one. I think I have to dig out my dizzy meds for the next little while which is disappointing, because I thought I was done with those.

Note to self, swimming, bikes and treadmills make you dizzy. So much for my dream of Ironman Kona! HA! My only dream about that was the Kona part. A long lie on the beach in Hawaii sound really good about now, but for now I will dream about my runDisney race instead.

Motivational Monday : This is still my reality

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Yoga for Runner’s Plantar Fasciitis made me cry but felt OH SO GREAT!

I feel like I am one hundred today.

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I made the mistake of not keeping up with my full yoga workouts lately, and when I say lately – I mean this year. I typically just do the poses that stretch out the muscles I use for running. Sunday night, I decided I needed to do the full yoga workout.

Sunday was my long run and I was feeling some tension in my lower back. I thought a really great yoga session would stretch out all my muscles and leave me feeling great. The good news was I achieved that! The bad news is I am hurting STILL after 2 days.

Every time I run I stretch out afterwards. I have a few yoga poses that I do regularly that feel great after a run. Saturday night, I was chatting with my girlfriends and I realized I have stopped doing the poses that are difficult. Why? Because they are hard. When I was a regular attender at yoga class, I did them all AND I got better at each pose every week. Why did I stop? I have no real answer other than I am cheap and lazy to the core.

I pulled out my list of poses, turned on my yoga tunes, lowered the lights and went at it for about 45 minutes. I was so disappointed with my flexibility. This is clearly something I need to do on a regular basis. That night I had trouble sleeping because I hurt. I hurt in a good ‘wow that was a great workout’way. Lots of heat was flowing to the muscles but every time I shifted in bed, I would wake up with the body telling me it hated me.

The worst best pose Sunday night was Toe Squat. This stretched out the plantar fasciitis. Yes I wanted to cry. No I didn’t cry. WOW does this pose work great! It is a tough area to stretch out and I have been feeling some tightness lately. I use a baseball to massage the area on a regular basis but I think this particular pose will be done every day after running. I found a great video that explains the procedure very well. Just a caution before you do this, if your plantar fasciitis is tight – this is not going to tickle.

So if you see me around town today and you notice I am (still) walking around like I just got out of a full body cast, you will know why. It is a 6km run today and I am heading towards the river valley, but afterwards? Yoga (she said with a snarl). I need to improve my flexibility and love the way it is suppose to feel once again.

Happy Running!

Meanwhile, check out my latest post for Feets.ca Passing the Miles Away !