Thursday, September 23, 2010

Life is No Nintendo Game

Do you ever wake up one day and think...this is my life: what have I done to make a difference? Have I left my mark on the world? Will I be remembered for doing something great, being that person that went the extra mile, impacted people's lives, changed things that could be changed?? Will I learn all I want to learn, go to places not yet traveled, meet those people, do the undone???

I have story in my head. I have had it for years. It is ever changing, with lots of additions and deletions. It is the story of my funeral and how it will play out. Most of the changes, I have to admit are wardrobe related. What will I wear in the casket? Are they bloody well going to put fabulous shoes on my feet to bury me in? Who the heck is going to do my hair & makeup? Are they going to accessorize me properly? Will they remember the glitter? This is the final act in the show...there must be NO mistakes!

I digress. With this story I have of my funeral, it leads me to these thoughts, these actions, this relentless quest.

I wake up every day with a list. Some of it on paper, some in my head. I lay my head on the pillow at night..again, it is swimming with possibility. With dreams & goals, big & small. Throughout my day, my ideas get written on bright orange Post-Its. What if I forget these fabulous ideas?? What if they aren't followed through? Why aren't there just a few more hours in the day? Why can't I just have that extra time to squeak in just one more thing...scratch one more item off my list?

Ever since I was really young, I have been a bit of a freak. I did things normal kids really didn't do. I had a slight baking obsession, starting at about 9 or so (I kept documentation via Diaries). I think I baked or cooked something every single day. Was I bored or subconsciously was I creating my own version of The Food Network? Changing the world, one muffin at a time. Wooing them with fresh baked muffin smells.

Now as an adult, this continues...I would still do it every day if I could. The creating, the aromas, the sheer happiness that comes over me when my sharp knife cuts through a crisp pepper. That is irreplaceable.

But I have grown and changed over the last few years. My passions have budded and flowered into something wonderful. I started running, become more fit than I ever have been, changed my eating, started a new job, created a Facebook group dedicated to inspiring not only myself, but others to get on the right track. It is exciting. I could list a dozen things right now I want to do right now since these changes. This has made my Bucket (list) heavier. There is so much more to accomplish, to create, to change, to better.

I now plan my life out by Beachbody programs and races. That my friend, is a sure sign. I have become not only passionate, but EXTREMELY driven to succeed. I want it all. I can't quite explain how I went from this person I was to who I am now. But I like it. And I don't apologize for it.

I have decided that you only get one shot. You cannot go back and redo things. You have to seize the moment. Be all you can be, do everything in your power to get to your goals. Surround yourself with positive people. You attract what you project. You reap what you sow. That is my theory. And that is how I am living my life.

So when I say I am going to run that marathon, make those 52 Cheesecakes(one of my ideas), play on stage with Bon Jovi, open that dessert store, have my own TFN show, build that wine cellar, rebuild the Pet Cemetery (Laura will get this), rebuild that 68 Cougar, meet you in person, train like a Navy Seal, organize an I See Fit People Event & make those t-shirts, meet John Travolta, design SOMETHING(**whew**..and there is SO much more) can be assured I mean it. Wait..I feel a sudden urge to sing Jefferson Starship.

So before those mini vials of glitter come uncorked and scattered at my funeral, there is work to do. There is no second chance.

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see". ~~~John Burroughs

Monday, May 24, 2010

Be Strong

Be strong. Hold your head high. Suck it up.

My whole life I have been the strong one...always dealing with what life throws at me. Always being the one to keep it together and not freak out, snap like a twig or break into the ugly cry.

Change is a comin'.

My entire life I have been pretty much healthy. No broken bones, not much sickness, no medications for anything. Just basically healthy. Minus the short circuit heart thing.

I have in the last year, changed my entire life around and I am feeling wonderful! I feel fit healthy and where I want to be. I feel like I can do anything most days. I like it. In fact I LOVE it.

But, these past few weeks I have been put mentally and physically to the test. I suffered an injury to my leg 3 weeks previous to a 1/2 marathon, but I still completed the race. Then I spent the next 3 weeks not able to run. That was rough. I felt like someone gave me a precious gift then snatched it from me. Something that meant the world to me and I could no longer have it. I was not dealing well.

I am trying to be patient with this and heal. It is hard. I have the patience of Job with some things, but damn it all, not with this. I want it fixed and wanted it fixed NOW!

Last week after my therapy, I was told sure, you can give it a try. I come home, feeling stellar!! I am flying high..the therapy went so well, and my leg feels superb! My spirits are high and I change into my running clothes and give it a whirl. I am on the treadmill, so I don't get stranded on the highway and I fire the old girl up. I start out with a walk, then break into a slow jog. Then I feel it...the slight burning beginnings, the ITB flipping over my knee and after not 5 minutes I am walking. It is getting worse. I keep going and think maybe I can walk it out. The snapping and flipping continues and I can only go for 7 minutes. I pull the plug. I am done.

I just sit down on my treadmill and cry. I cannot imagine after this being a part of my life now being taken away. I cry harder. Get me some chocolate or some hard liqour, for the love of God.

The next day my leg is worse. I am in supreme pain at work and am basically dragging my gimp leg behind me. I am feeling pathetic. Both inside and out.

I talked to my sister Wanda about the upcoming race in less than 2 weeks. At this point I am not sure if I can walk it let alone run it. Then there is the other 1/2 marathon less that one month away in Nova Scotia. I am not feeling confident about it. I need Jillian screaming in my face right now, "Unless you are dead, passed out or puking, keep going". I chant this over in my head. Jillian, you are a cold hearted snake. I love you.

Two days later I am wrapping my head around this and keeping myself occupied with P90x, because oddly enough I can do that and it doesn't bother my leg. I can DO this. I will heal, I will be better. I will wait.

This week I also had a setback that scared the bejebus outta me. I lost focus in my eyes for about 2 minutes, spent a night at the hospital for testing for a stroke and various other things. A. STROKE. I am sighing heavily as I type this.

I am scared and a thousand thoughts go though my mind. What if I cannot walk or talk, let alone run? What if my kids and family are left with me in a vegetative state? What if I don't live to do all the things I haven't done? My Bucket List is undeniably gargantuan. This cannot happen. I have so much to do, to say, to be.

So today I have decided one thing. I am STILL strong. I can STILL hold my head high. I can STILL suck it up like nobody's business. But it is ok to feel the loss. To mourn for something that means the world to you. For me it is family, life, love, running, health, food and desire. I need them. And I know they need me.

I may not run the race in 2 weeks, but I will walk it if I have to. I may not run the 1/2 marathon, but I will run another one. I don't plan on dropping like a fly anytime soon either. I have plans. Dreams. Goals.

I. Am. Strong.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

Saturday, February 20, 2010

CLX..The Here, The Now

CLX...The Here, The Now.


Six months ago I decided to take on CLX (ChaLean Extreme)...I didn’t know a whole lot about it, but I sure learned over time. I wanted to document some of the things that I took from 6 months of a life change, in my opinion.

~Never underestimate yourself. I wasn’t sure I could do this, but I wasn’t sure I couldn’t either.

~Speed does not build muscle...slow controlled movement has more effect on you that pumping iron like a madman. Slow. It. Down.

~Yelling while working out actually DOES help to get you through the move. Ask my neighbours...they will agree.

~What you fuel your body with is a HUGE determining factor in your end result. Protein, Carbs, Fat...they all play a part in your diet. Ingesting garbage because it is easier than prepping meals is no good. Take the time to eat right...your body will thank you. You will be stronger, happier, energetic and you will feel full longer.

~People will think what they want regardless. No, I am not dying, or starving myself or vomiting after I eat. Au contraire. I probably eat more now than I ever did. I am healthier now than I have ever been in my life. I am in the best shape I have ever been in.

~Body size...yes, my body isn’t quite the same as it used to be before I started running and CLX. As long as I am a runner and weight training, it isn’t likely going back to its old self. There are still people that comment to me about this. Oddly enough, they don’t get it was a life change for me. The question I ask myself repeatedly is why did I wait until I was almost 40 to make this change? One of life’s little mysteries, indeed.

~I am Hank Spongepocket. Literally. Since starting CLX, I have done more research on food, macronutrients, vitamins, organics, exercise, HIIT, race training, etc, etc, ETC!! There is so much to learn. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I have learned something new.

~Mind over is my mantra. I have always been VERY stubborn...ask anyone who knows me. This just proves it. Tell me I can’t do something and I will prove to you that I CAN. That is how I attacked CLX.

~There are people out there just begging for help. All they need is someone to tell them, “Yes, you can do this”. I am trying to be that person. There were people that did it for me when I wasn’t sure I could. I am so grateful to them for that. This is my way of paying it forward.

~I learned that stereotypical working-out-to-dvds-in-your-basement is JUST that. This was not the 1980’s verison of the 20 Minute Workout. This was part of my day...almost every day for the last 6 months. Chalene and her family became my family. Literally. Both Chalene and Jenelle are awesome and genuine. These are real people.

~It is not always a good idea to try to hit the Ann Wilson high notes In “Alone”, along with flailing arm movements while running at 7mph. Yeah...will have to rethink that move.

~You have to be the person to change yourself. There is no fairy Godmother to wave their magic wand over you and transform you into Cinderella. You have to want it, so screw the wand! Just make a conscious effort to change your life every single day.

~There will always be excuses for not exercising: people will stare, I can’t do it, I am too tired, there aren’t enough hours in the day, my kids take up all my time, I can’t afford to go to the gym. There are a few days that you just cannot help, sure. But every day?? I think not. Get up and Do. It. No excuses. Your kids will survive for that one hour you are taking to get you healthy. And no one is looking at you when you are working out. They are too busy trying to keep themselves from doing a face plant on the treadmill. Get over yourself already. As long as you have legs and shoes you can walk...that is free.

~Nothing gets me more fired up than talking about something I am passionate about and having someone else so curious, that in turn that passion is reciprocated.

~It is a wonderful feeling to have someone tell you they are inspired by you. I am in awe when I hear that because some days I cannot imagine why. I am just a girl, who loves life and living. I want to learn all I can, try new things, eat new food, mold myself into something better than I was before. If someone takes something away from that to make a change within themselves, I could not be more honoured.

~My family is everything to me. They were with me though everything and saw me change. But they changed with me. My kids are cooking, and eating healthier. They are interested in the hows and whys. My daughter has started CLX as well and LOVES it! This is so awesome!! My husband didn’t get it at first...didn’t know why I wanted to do this. He gets me now and stands beside me all the way. I am very lucky to have him loving me.

~Food is fascinating! I have always loved cooking and baking, but now I am becoming even more experimental and creative. The kids have never had so many new dishes to try. And they are LOVING them. Cooking should be fun and exciting. Eating healthy does not mean boring or small servings. Eat the right thing, and you can have plenty.

~I was not a huge meat eater, but I am more so now. I eat tons of chicken, seafood, and tuna. Protein from these lean sources are necessary to fuel and repair your body as you become more involved with weight training. Don’t skimp. These foods are your friend.

~Contrary to popular belief, a new tank from Lulu does INDEED inspire you to work harder. You spent the money on had better look good in it. It is motivation, I think, in disguise. Yep...I am going with that theory.

I could go on for days really about all the changes, the inspiration, the ideas that came to me during these last 6 months. I am sad to see it come to an end, but VERY excited about my new project to tackle: P90x!!

I learned so many things about myself I never knew. CLX, running, getting healthier...I am grateful every day for these past 6 months. If I can do it, you can too. No fairy god magic wand. Just have a will to change yourself, to persevere, to do something you never thought possible. Why wait?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Not For You...

I woke up one day and decided, by some stretch of the imagination, that I was going to run. I had never really run distances before, just on the treadmill here and there. Yep...I was going to do it.

So, I signed up for a Learn to Run clinic. I wasn't really sure what to expect and I was nervous to say the least.

The night of the first class, my leader takes me out to do 1 and 1' one minute, walk one minute. I am like, alllrightyyyy...I am on it! So I take off like a bat out of H-E-Double Hockey Sticks, leaving the leader behind to eat my dust. She is like, "Wait uppppp". I am doing great!

So ok..I got the first minute in, barely, then we are walking. Next run interval comes up....I start getting tired....have to stop before the timer goes off. This sucks!!! But I keep at it. I start running again and I am NOT feeling the love here. My head is starting to Fred Flintstone ache. But I keep on...1 and 1's...which really aren't. I have to walk more...I am not enjoying this. I obviously have pace issues. My head is gonna blow off my shoulders. I feel ill. I keep on.

The next round of running I stop...I cannot go any further. I am about to projectile vomit on some poor man's lawn. No one told me it wouldn't be a good idea to have Subway, with onions and peppers and Jalapenos before a run. Yeah...I am contemplating the Ugly Cry at this point.

We walk back to the Running Room, my fearless leader and I. I am feeling like lower than low. I gotta learn this thing. I have to do it right. I will perservere! I WILL survive.

Next week I was back for more punishment. But it was better, and I did it. Hank Spongepocket had nothing on my absorption at this point. I did my homework as any student who is willing to learn should. I was sucking in all the information I could.

That was April, 2009. I couldn't run for one minute. Today I can run almost 14k, I discovered one day this week. And I will run a 1/2 marathon this year too. It is my goal.

I don't know how I got to be a runner. I always looked at "those" people with awe and reverence. They were RUNNERS. They were ATHLETES. I was NOT.

Today I still find sometimes I forget I have become one of "those" people. I look in the mirror and I see a healthy, happy person who accomplished some big things looking back. I am not quite sure it is me...but I look again. Yep...I recognize her. Don't ask me to change...I like who I am and what my life stands for.

This change is me is for me....not for anyone else. I have a serenity and a driven will now when it comes to running, both fueling me on. I have some kind of strange reverie that comes over me when I am running and I see the stars in the sky and the leaves beneath my feet. I want to go further and do more and see what I am capable of. I never knew. All those years I never knew I had it in me. I know now.

The Eye of the Ipod

So last night's treadmill run started out like every other. I got on with intentions of maybe doing 7 or 8 k. So I crank up the tunage...listening to a little Dead or Alive to get me going. I popped a 1/2 a pack of Sport Beans before the run and had a delightful Inca porridge from Tosca's Eat Clean book for supper!!

Before I know it I am busting into a great legs feel great, my breathing is even and calm and I am sooo feeling this run! Maybe it was the quinoa from the porridge?? Maybe it was Jon and Richie guiding me along??

I am not sure why, but as I continue along, I am not feeling tired, in fact, it was quite the opposite. I was pumped...burning up the runway, ahem, treadmill like I OWNED it! Ok, I actually DO own it, but I digress.

So, just about the 7k mark, Eye Of the Tiger comes on my Ipod. I all of a sudden become Rocky Balboa....I am running up bleachers, and hills and chopping wood and yelling Adriiiiiiiiiannnnnnnn like nobody's business. I turn up the speed a notch. I am frikkin' Balboaaa!!! Yanno, minus the boy parts and crooked mouth and hairy legs. But in my mind, I am HARDCORE training here!! I....ammmm....Rockkkyyy!

Ok...I made it through to about 8 or 9k and I am going strong. I have run out to refill my water bottle cos I emptied it sweating up a storm, but in 30 seconds I am back on that treadmill. I crank the speed up...I crank up the Ipod...I am not tired. Then, my treadmill is transformed....Sexy Back comes on and I am on the runway in Paris, wearing my couture sheath and my delicious Louboutin's. I am in the zone.....lights are flashing, my hips are strutting and I feel so JLo right now. Oh Em Gee, I am LOVING this run!!

Another drink of water (I am halfway through my second bottle and sweating profusely) and I am into the 12th k. I am gettin' crunk! Missy comes on and **insert dj record scratching sounds** I am all OVER that run! Is it worth it...lemme work it....the treadmill, that is. Get your minds outta the gutter.

I am coming down the home stretch. Desperate Housewives is coming on soon and I have to finish this much as I am not tired, not sore, just PUMPEEEDD!!
I am over 13.5k into the run, and I flip forward to some nice cool down music to get me calmed down. I am feeling so ADD right now. I need to simmer down. Then Bon Jovi is signing to me how he would love to "Pull down the covers and light a couple candles", and instantly I am coming down to my Happy Place. I feel like swooning and giggling, and I am howling to the top of my lungs all the Leann Rimes parts. I don't care that the bedroom window is open. I am singing a duet with Jon here, people!!


As I pull out the magic blue tab from the treadmill, I complete my 13.75k longest run since I started running in April. I am proud...damn proud. I am not tired, or sore, just happy and sweaty and wanting to run further next time.

Was it the porridge?? Was it Rocky or JLo or Jon??? What was so magical about this run? It could just be it's the Eye of the Ipod. Rising up to the challenge of the treadmill. I went the distance.