31 May 2011

some serious heat

Last week I was tempted to put my heat back on - it was 45 degrees Fahrenheit....


Today was 43 degrees Celsius with the humidity... are you kidding me mother nature? Seriously the thermometer read 96 degrees at one point.When it got to 85 in my house I decided that I would give in and put on the AC.  Only because poor ruby was lethargically laying around the house and I was worried that she was overheating.  


I now have to suck it up and be out for a run by 7am in order to avoid the heat.  I logged a quick few miles before ballet class when the sun was gone but it made for a not so pretty (and slightly stinky) ballerina.  Perhaps the idea to train for another 1/2 marathon through the summer wasn't the best idea.  I forgot just how HOT Windsor gets ... But all in all I'm not complaining - being hot leads to fun ways to cool off such as a dip in the pool (contemplating a kiddy pool for the yard), ice cream cones and cool lemonade.  There is always a positive to be found!! I'm happy for the sunshine, for that feel of warmth radiating off your skin and the luck of having Italian skin that tans easy! 


Now to find that friend with a boat...and a pool....and ice cream.... 

30 May 2011

sittin', sippin' and fishin'




Today is one of those days... I'm totally jealous of all my American friends celebrating Memorial Day today as it's such a beautiful day.  FINALLY! Although it would have been nice to have 4 seasons it seems we went from winter to summer in a day.  Literally I contemplated putting the heat on last week and now it's 32 degrees! I am lacing up and going for a run later that is for sure. 

I have to admit that I do miss Finland summers - right now they are down to about 3 hours of darkness and soon it will be 24 hours of daylight.  Summers there were beautiful - lakes all around, freezing but beautiful.  The one by our house was full of fish which was awesome and just steps from our door.  Windsor summer is just so humid and hot - today just makes me wish I had a friend with a boat....


There is just something so peaceful and relaxing as being in the woods and near the water.  This is all I want to do this summer - I want to find a cottage to rent on my own and just chill.  My perfect vacation includes this itinerary: wake, coffee outdoors, eat, run, swim, eat, read, write, hike, fish, eat, campfire, read, bed.  My bliss! As much as I love my family and friends I just can't stop looking forward to some time of my own. 


What could be better than boating out to the middle of a lake, sitting in the sun and fishing? Sitting on the dock with a cold drink, basking in the sun and reading a good book?  Cuddled up around a bonfire making smores and singing songs? This was my family vacation every year from 2yrs to teenage years (then the Wilderness girls began!) It was perfectWe would spend all day at the beach, go for a hike in the dunes, mom & Claudia would make gourmet camping dinners, Bob would do "black magic" around the campfire and we'd sing "who stole the cookie..." 


Bob would make us look for "wild hairdressers" on the beach or do "gorgeous" as shown in the above pic! Seriously every time I've seen a pink foam hair curler I instantly think of wild hairdressers... Iain and I would play with our dinosaurs, we'd roll down sand dunes, rawna would be in the bathroom primping with her butane curling iron, vanessa would be eating some sort of bug or mold.... They were the best vacations ever.  Though I complain I never got taken to Disneyworld, this really was my happiest place on earth.

29 May 2011

Insomnia

seriously...it's 12:45am and I cannot fall asleep.  


Apart from the echoing booms of the Detroit Electronic Music Festival that at times is slightly rattling my windows all the way over here in another country, I don't know why I can't fall asleep.  Maybe I've finally inherited the family trait that affects most of the women in my family...the inability to sleep.  I don't understand is having my mother's chin not enough, now this? My whole life has always been - head on pillow, eyes shut, off to lala land - asleep.  Quick and easy.  On the rare occasion that I couldn't fall asleep, a few minutes of having someone rub my back and I'm all set.  Now I love Ruby to death and it's pretty cozy when she curls up with me but I can't seem to convince her to rub my back or tell me a story so really she's not much help.  Here's the time when a husband is pretty handy. 


I'm pretty independent - It's a blessing and a curse.  I own my own set of power tools, I know how to use them.  I've fixed my own toilet, tiled my own backsplash, installed an overhead light and a myriad of other odd jobs.  There are a few things however I don't enjoy and/or that I'm afraid of where again, a husband always came in handy.  I don't cut the grass - It was one of our tradeoffs when we first got married and now that I'm in my own place, well that is not going to change.  That is what neighborhood teenagers are for.  Now I don't admit defeat or fear often but I will come clean with this - I don't light the BBQ.  I did once - years ago when Tim was at work late and I nearly singed every eyebrow/lash off my face.  There was a huge "woosh" and flame and I jumped back quick as I could and have not made the attempt again since.  We do have a BBQ here however I'm not yet brave enough to attempt that again. 


With all of my belongings about to land back here in Canada and my apartment starting to take some shape, it's a weird feeling to be starting over, to say the least.  I think I experienced the "runners low" after the Kalamazoo 1/2 - it was my first milestone accomplished on my own.  Though elated with my new PR, there was just this let down afterwards that it was over.  I hated my outfit (of course!), I was mad that I couldn't have pushed more and going through the pictures, I was mad that I didn't look up at the finish.  My runs have not been great since then but a new month is soon upon us and it's time to look forward.  It's time to make a training schedule to get ready for Detroit this fall - I need a goal and I need focus otherwise I just wander like I did these past few weeks.  I guess I need to cut myself a little slack and realize all these changes are going to take time to sink in.  I need to stop focusing on the good-byes.  I need to get ready to say hello - to new people, new adventures, and hopefully new loves....and new bbq lighters ;) 







26 May 2011

comfort food

Alas, something is wrong with my left eye - myself, dr google and the pharmacist all concur and don't think it's pink eye. It could be the result of a too old mascara or perhaps something flew into my eye during the last few days of tornado-like winds.... 

But tonight I kinda felt like something to cheer me up yet didn't have the energy to bake... then I remembered this little goodie bag.... 

 last time I made cookies I froze a whole bag of them for safe keeping or in case of emergency... 

 So I popped 3 of them in my trusty toaster oven and presto! warm, fresh baked cookies.....

the perfect treat on a cold May evening (seriously the temperature dropped so much tonight I considered putting the heat back on!) 

pink-eyed pirate - over and out! 

25 May 2011

guilty pleasures

ok I'm going to admit it - just lay it all out there... tonight I watched the first episode of The Bachelorette. go ahead - mock me, taunt me.... I'm not normally a reality-tv kind of girl.  Really without a TV I mainly catch up on select shows online and the only reality shows I really like are The Amazing Race and The Biggest Loser... 


Now stop judging me for this indulgence and let's judge the bachelors! Seriously, there were some cuties and some who seemed genuinely nice and successful and intelligent.  However, that was balanced out with a few real douche-bags including Tim who got so drunk off his ass that he slurred his speech, spills his drink all over himself, almost gets in a brawl with the masked man, and then passed out and had to be carried out. Seriously? 


There was a Greek Josh Grobin look-a-like, a Soprano-esque butcher from New Jersey who was pretty creepy,  a surfer dude and the guy who called his mom from their date...The token Canadian guy is obviously a Newfie - said "eh" a million times and couldn't be more stereotypical and geeky to boot.  There is also one contestant Ames who I think may perhaps have missed the memo regarding his sexuality... There is also a creepy due in a black mask who is trying to make a point about it should be what is inside that counts (which I obviously agree with) but seriously dude you are trying to win a girl's heart - and competing with some pretty hunky guys.  I don't know about Ashley but that freaks me out and I'm not sure I'd like to date the Phantom of the Opera.  There were a few people who looked like they were wearing a suit for the first time in their lives.  A few odd poets... A few weirdos that literally picked her up and swung her around - like what are you Tarzan? That is the first impression you chose? Really? 


So here's who I'm vying for:
West
Ben F the wine maker that reminds me slightly of Dax Sheppard
JP the cute baldie from NYC 
Ryan (who got the first impression rose)
Blake 
William, salesman/impressionist 


I did think that she made a wrong choice with Jon from Vancouver, WA...but then he cried.  Not that I have anything against men who show their emotions but I would have equally mocked any of the girls on the Bachelor who cried after the first night.  Really? You fell in love in an evening? Come on! 


Anyone else out there willing to admit they watched?? lol Come on - tell me who you like? After watching this and numbing my brain for a good 90 minutes, the first thing that pops into my head is - God I'm not looking forward to dating again!! 

inappropriate behaviour

It's true - I do not have good funeral behaviour.  They make me nervous and when I'm nervous I smile - and I laugh - and generally I look like this disrespectful ray of sunshine waiting in line to give the family my condolences.  The thing is I actually feel much empathy for them and am doing my best to keep my emotions in check.  It's the opposite when I'm angry as then I usually get frustrated and cry.  Perhaps I should try to pick a fight or call a customer service call centre before going in to a funeral to induce some tears....

I usually also do not have appropriate funeral attire - since I stopped working in the corporate world 4 years ago I don't actually own a pair of dress pants.  Usually I am fine with a skirt and blazer however in tonights monsoon and temperature drop there was no real appropriate foot wear as sandals were certainly out but I can't also bring myself to put on knee high boots a the end of May.  I know that tonight after leaving the funeral home I should have gone directly to The Gap and found myself this much needed staple.  Alas it is pouring rain and thunder & lightning kind of storming so getting out of the car again wasn't really on the top of my list.  

Not that people usually enjoy this part but it really freaks me out to go up to the casket - unless I actually loved the individual in there, it kinda creeps me out to see a dead person laying there.  I can't look at them - I usually kneel, close my eyes, say a prayer, sign of the cross and I'm up and away from the casket.  I do however always feel the need to pick up the condolence card as I need something to hold in my hands to keep from fidgeting - especially when I'm there on my own like this evening.  But then, I feel this immense (italian) guilt to hold on to the card - it feels sacrilegious to throw something like that out.  Inevitably I have a big box of these cards - not sure what I will ever do with them.   It's kind of the same as when someone gave me a Book of Mormon once trying to convert me (this was a going away to university gift from a work colleague) - I can't bring myself to get rid of it.  

I guess we all have something that makes us uncomfortable - I also always cry at weddings.  It doesn't even matter if I know you - I could be watching it on tv or in a park but I always cry.  I never did make a good bridesmaid either.... 

23 May 2011

queen victoria and princess layla

In celebration of Queen Victoria's birthday we Canadians ring in the first long weekend of the summer.  Cottages opened, boats put in the water, gardens planted and finally it's the first taste of summer weather - complete with a thunderstorm.  I did not have any big plans for the weekend - for those of you who sat by campfires and played in the water I am, most definitely, jealous.  


El Salvadorian Papusas = Happy Lindsay
Friday night included a trip to Canadian Tire with my sis to buy new vacuums (the weekend plans included cleaning), Saturday evening I did enjoy a Mexican/El Salvadorian feast of carnitas tacos, shrimp ceviche tostadas and bean/cheese papusas with all the trimmings.  It was delightful! Made up for the awful run I had earlier in the day - fyi my calves still hate me.  


So since the weather is finally beautiful and since I did not really feel like doing much of anything, my friend Karen came over to porch dwell with me, chat and watch the fireworks everyone was shooting off in their yards.  We had an interesting conversation about our varied point of views on a.  taking the road less travelled with high highs and potentially low lows vs b. taking the path that is safer where you may have as many great experiences but your heart will get hurt less.  Then, knowing how much I love to make lists, Karen asked me "if you had to describe yourself in 3 adjectives (and only three), what would they be?" Hmmm....limited to only three descriptive words and off the top of my head no less, here is what I came up with: 1. Optimistic 2. Creative and 3. Thoughtful. Thinking of it since then there are a few others I could use but I'll stick to those three as they do describe me pretty well.  And so I turn the question outwards - Using only 3 adjectives, how would you best describe yourself?


Sunday I cleaned, laundered, painted, moved furniture, ironed and proved that though my marriage ended, my domesticity remains intact.  Then BBQ at my parents and searching for Italian villas to rent for our first family vacation in years - coming this September! Monday was a pretty lazy day including a few more domestic acts and then lunch with the girls.  La was in town from New Jersey with the newest lady in the bunch - Princess Layla whom we all got to meet, cuddle and coo at incessantly for the first time.  I have been lucky to know these ladies since we were 14 - yes we have been friends for the past 20 years and some even longer. There are a few new pregnancies in the bunch, some career changes, some life changes but as always great to catch up. It was the perfect ending to the weekend.  

20 May 2011

t.g.i.f

"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but how we react to what happens to us, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a Catalyst…. a spark that creates extraordinary results."
~ Anonymous

Today was a beautiful, sunny day where everyone seemed to be in such a bright mood which I'm sure is in direct correlation to the weather.  It finally felt like the start of a new season with so many new adventures yet to come.  It's a holiday weekend here so we can only hope that the sunshine continues and people's spirits remain high.  It's interesting to me how we tend to come out of this winter hibernation into this new, bright world of spring with new found hope.  With the good weather brings some of my favourite things - sipping coffee on the patio, lazy picnics in the park, getting lost in a good book while laying under the shade of a tree and that feeling of sunshine permeating your skin and warming your heart. The brightness of all the flowers in bloom, freshly trimmed grass and sidewalk chalk adorning the neighbourhood!

You could get lost in all the possibilities of summer.   Markets of fresh produce, rummage sales of interesting finds, evening campfires with friends and falling asleep completely exhausted knowing you spent every waking moment of that day living.  

Somewhere inside us there is always an invincible summer - when it seems coldest and darkest and when we are most likely to want to curl up and hide - it's there.  I'm not one to relinquish control very easily however I do give myself up to the fact that there are things beyond me and the only control I really have is how I choose to react to life's roadblocks.  We can always hope for change but if we don't try to make those changes or make the choice to find the positive in a situation, there is no way for hope to exist.

Wherever you are reading this, I hope you have a bright day tomorrow. 
Be thankful for it. xo 

19 May 2011

recovery run


finally took these bad boys out for a run on Riverside Drive....

forgot how disgusting the smell of hops from the Hiram Walkers brewery were ....

got a whistle from a roofing crew and a "hey there" from a grass cutter....

came up and went through the park but then ran in to an issue with mud so I had to detour...


so back up my pretty street I went, feeling like I hadn't run in a year...

back on the bandwagon....

Three Thing Thursday

1.  I don't get bothered by many things, however after a brief stop at the grocery store to pick up an avacado, feta cheese and black bean sauce, I wanted to scream  educate the man in the EXPRESS line that the 15 items in his cart was over the limit and that the girl ahead of me just buying shampoo and the rest of us with 6 items or less were express lane shoppers, not him.  In the grand scheme of things I shouldn't really let this of all things bother me, but for some reason it makes my blood boil. That and people who chew loudly, with their mouth open. That's just gross.  


2. Holiday weekend this weekend here in Canada - main goals for the weekend are to work on the store's website and get that back up and running and to finish painting my new apartment.  Monday will likely include a trip to IKEA and hopefully the purchase of a couch, bookshelves and likely some other useless items that will be cheap that I will just HAVE to have! 


3. I am currently experiencing the Runners Low - opposite to the Runners High which often occurs after a race. It's that slight let-down that it's over after many weeks of dedicated training.  I have not run since the 1/2 almost two weeks ago.  I am however still eating as though I am putting in the miles and that just has to stop! A steady diet of bbq popchips and dark chocolate peanut m&m's is not advisable.  I am going for a run today even if it is in the rain because well I need to get back at it and out of this slump.

18 May 2011

bursting with pride

there once was a girl who as a child liked to eat tree fungus, poison mushrooms, other's people's chewed gum stuck to the undersides of tables... 

she used to receive Christmas cards from Poison Control.... 

she could never understand why she couldn't have ice cream on our annual camping vacations and went from campsite to campsite to ask... 

when I lived in Ottawa, I did her hair and make up for high school dances, we begged for beaver tails when we skated the canal and we drank Vernors under the Christmas tree when I was homesick for Windsor.  

she grew in to a beautiful young woman with exceptional wit, a gigantic heart, and smart as a whip. today my 'little sister' graduates from medical school. 

When Iain died suddenly, she was in her second year and though her grief kept her up many nights, she pushed through and carried on.  When Emma got sick, she was right there with her for everything and advocated for her treatment.  

I tear up as I write this because I can only hope she knows how wonderful she is and what an amazing doctor she will be.   My heart is in Ottawa today- wishing I was there.
I love you Ness and I am so very proud of you.  xo

17 May 2011

thank you Happy Runner....

Thank you to The Happy Runner blogger who posted this quote on her Facebook Page today... just a good thought.... 
"Just as a problem-free life never makes a strong and good person, smooth roads never make a good runner. As the runner fights the urge to stop, she masters her very mind. In overcoming adversity, she better understands the inner workings of her psyche. Life becomes bigger, bolder, filled with great potential." 
-- Dean Karnazes in Run. Run ON!
Also the pictures from the marathon were emailed out yesterday...I am so NOT a pretty runner and hence not sharing on here!! My cute little skirt finally arrived TODAY which would have made it a prettier race....

Entrepreneur at heart...

So two years ago when we packed all belongings to head overseas, pretty much anything that plugged in got left here in Canada.  We had a big garage sale but anything big we cherished got sent to my sister's basement or given to friends.  There was no shortage of people who volunteered to look over my beloved KitchenAid mixer! My mother-in-law won out on that one since she bakes even more than I do - although she does follow the recipes! 


And as you know, I'm slowly but surely moving in and getting this apartment set up, painted, organized and decorated - I have big plans for the next few long weekends!! Last week I went out for dinner with my MIL and since it was the first time I've seen her since I've moved back, she graciously brought my little blue beauty back to me.  Counter space is seriously lacking in this apartment so I'm not sure where her permanent place will be but this weekend, when it was cold again and rainy, all I wanted to do was cook - and bake.  


So I fired up my mixer and turned out some delicious butternut squash cupcakes - I planned to ice them with a cream cheese/honey frosting however the cupcakes ended up sticking to the paper cups so I decided it wasn't worth the effort.  They are pretty yummy but it takes a lot more work to peel the paper off - disappointing.  After that I decided to make chocolate chip cookies...and chicken corn chowder (recipe posted a few months back).  Oh yeah and as everything cooked and simmered I managed to complete my taxes (finally!).  Honestly if I ever were to win the lottery or come in to some serious cash, owning my own bakery/coffee shop would be on the list.  Just a little place for people to meet and visit .... it would have a hole in the wall that opened to my other shop next door - a papery! 


Since living in Ottawa, my favourite store has been the shop "The Papery" which is jammed full of beautiful cards, stationary, napkins and gifts.  Come the holidays


it would also be full of beautiful Christmas decorations and wrapping paper.  Don't get my wrong, I love my store - what could be better than fashions and baby stuff but there are so many ideas in this little noggin of mine.  Since it's monday, it was Whole Foods & Target day!! I got all my cards for May & June birthdays - here is just a taste as I couldn't hold them all.  May & June are very busy birthday months around here!!! As well, I am trying to get all my thank you notes written this week for those who donated to the Leukemia Society in support of my run.  So I picked up another few packs of cards there too! There is just something so special about getting a card in the mail.  Knowing that someone was thinking of you and took the time to write a few words, lick an envelope and send a note your way.  It's just that little effort that can brighten someone's day that I love. There are times that I buy cards months in advance when I see one that I think someone would love!   I have an uncanny knack for remembering dates (birthdays, anniversarys etc) - that and a very organized day planner!! 

Just the other day I sent a birthday card and note of encouragement to a new friend out in Vancouver that I met last fall - it was not only her birthday but she is also attempting to quit smoking so I thought she could use the little boost.  She sent me a facebook message thanking me and it just felt good to know I brightened her day! Now, that said, I better finish writing up these thank yous and get them on their way!

14 May 2011

noteable and quoteable

I subscribe to a blog that sends me a positive quote at the end of each day - it just gives me the little extra thought in consciously making the effort to think positively.  Maybe it's the writer in me, but I've always loved reading through quotes and trying to find the way to make them applicable to my own path in life.  It's kind of a gloomy, muggy day here today so I thought I would start the day reading through some of the quotes I've noted down from these daily emails and then of course I thought I should share them.  

Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right. 
Henry Ford

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
Confucius

Never bend your head. Hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.
Helen Keller

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
Mother Teresa
 
A day without laughter is a day wasted.
Charlie Chaplin

The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man's foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.
Thomas Henry Huxley

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein 

I had to add this in to today's post - I admit to stealing it off a friend's facebook status but I just thought it was great.  Although some of my best friends have been in my life since late elementary/early high school, there have been others that have come in to my heart along the way, in many different cities that I have lived in and it makes me grateful for the constant evolution of people in my life for whatever reason they were sent to me.  Girls night Thursday night, family girls night last night and dinner with friends again tonight - I am blessed xo xo
"Whatever relationships you have attracted in your life at this moment, are precisely the ones you need in your life at this moment. There is a hidden meaning behind all events, and this hidden meaning is serving your own evolution"

13 May 2011

balance

ying and yang 
black and white
peanut butter & jelly
starsky & hutch

there is something to be said in life for striking a balance.  most couples complement each other with some sort of balance between the two.  parents often strike a good cop/bad cop role.  there is always one boisterous friend (me) which balances out the subdued, down to earth bff.  usually with most things in life there is a little give and take.  

i do strongly believe that you have to always find the balance.  it's easy to work too much or play too little - especially when you are in business for yourself.  there is a fine line between making time for yourself and doing bookkeeping until 11pm three nights in a row.  making time for people in your life, making time for yourself in your life all require finding that right balance.  sometimes we forget to put ourselves first - sometimes it's hard to say no because we don't want to disappoint others even though we know we want to.  most days it's just about finding the balance. 

this morning I worked out first thing with my trainer Nikki on the pilates reformer including 30 big-girl push-ups on the bosu ball (without doing a face plant which is a big thing for clumsy me!).  On my walk home I stopped in to a friends new restaurant to grab a coffee and found that she had made me gluten-free ginger cake.  balance.  

this evening my sister and I took my mom and aunt to the movies - theatre pop corn and a bag of dark chocolate, peanut m&m's poured in to it - salty and sweet in each bite.  Again, balance. 

12 May 2011

self help

At the finish line - smiling through tears
So, trying not to run this week has been proving a challenge - the weather is perfect and I feel good but I know I need to give my hips and knees a slight break.  I have a pilates reformer session and then I think the weekend there will be a few short runs.  

I was reading an article on the quest to attain a Boston Qualifier time and there was a quote that stood out... "Self-help is the quest to control what we can control in a world that seems out of control".  It's interesting because I think that is what running did provide me with these past few newly single months.  As my life was spinning around me, it was the one thing I had complete control over and attaining that goal was something that was just my doing.  


Here is a lovely horrific photo of Fran, myself and Kelly at the finish.  Note we looked a whole lot prettier in our start line photo lol! However you do need a photo with your medal so here it is...the best of the worst.  This is about 1/2 an hour post race so at least by now I've stopped crying and sweating - steve's name is barely visible there on my right leg.  


Thank you to Kelly for signing up for this marathon and convincing me to train for a race with you.  It was exactly what I needed and got me through what probably could have been a few crappy months.  Rain days, allergies and hip pain aside, training was overall pretty good and yes,  I have already started to put together my training schedule for Detroit which will start end of June.  For now, I'll just keep running, dancing and having fun!   

It's funny that I write thinking that most likely no one is reading this and then I get a few emails or notes from people.  A few have said that I've inspired them - I've never dreamt to be an inspiration to others but thank you and I'm happy to be.  Try as I might I usually find something to smile about each day and I hope that you do too.  And if by chance, you smile cuz you're laughing at with me, then all the better! Just be your best you... and love your life and the people in it.  

11 May 2011

tutus

Last night was the final class of ballet II so our instructor brought her toe shoes to show us some moves and yes.....tutus! Had I know I would have planned the top half of my outfit more accordingly.  Let me be honest and tell you that I never wanted to take it off!! Ever.  My jumps were better in the tutu (I won't go as far as to say that they were good but just not as horrible!) and my turns were straighter (though I was still dizzy as all get-out).  

We video'd our original routine however I'm not prepared to post that just yet!  That way we can practice as we take a few weeks of rest and then start ballet III.  
Who knows...maybe there will be a recital in our future.  

As I've said before, it's really all about the outfit. 

09 May 2011

Race Recap

new PR - 2:31
fran, kelly and me at the start line
Goal time was 2:30 but I'm happy with my time.  I felt great through most of the run - the first 9 miles went fast actually and I was steady at 11min/miles up to that point which I'm happy with.  Went out quick and just stayed with that pace. I know I gave it my all and so I'm content.  

Honestly the first 5 miles flew by - love the adrenaline of a race where 50min can go by and you don't really notice! I liked that the course was both on the road and on trail - I love to run on trail. Miles 5 through 9 were still strong - I drank at each watch stop and started eating after mile 5.  I had sports drink in my pack for in between but around mile 10 I had sugar overload from the sports drink and the sport chews and got the shakes.  I came close to throwing up at the point just to get some of the sugar out of my system.  I stayed ahead of the 2:30 pacer until just after mile 11 - I tried to keep up but I was starting to hurt at that point.  We had a downhill and then on to a trail and I prayed for Steve to run with me - I just kept saying "run with me buddy" in my head and kept moving.  Then there was this mass of people and balloons as you made your way out of the bush - everyone slapping your hands and telling you to keep moving.  Two little girls with the signs "toenails are for sissies" and "you're fast and pretty" made me smile!  Just after mile 12 was the hill that killed me - I literally stopped at the bottom of it and said "what the F*@!" out loud.  I tried to dig deep but I only made it half way up and then I walked up the rest and then kept running.  My hip didn't hurt until the last 200 feet - just past the 26mile marker so I kinda just favoured my other side and looked for the finish line.  

Coming up that last straightaway I started to choke up - shoot, typing this I start to tear up too! It's not that I ever doubted I could do it - I did it before so I knew that I could - but it still felt like such an accomplishment to me.  Everytime I wanted to stop along those last few miles, I just kept saying to myself "it's just you and the road, you can do this" I shaved 17 minutes off my previous time - I walked only through the last few water stations and up that damned hill.  I crossed the finish and the tears started.  I thought of all my inspiration like Emma & Steve that helped get me through.  The man placed my medal over my head and congratulated me and I just felt so proud of myself and sad at the same time.  I don't really know how to explain it - I guess I just felt alone with this great victory.  So I grabbed a bottle of water and tried to compose myself since I really hate people seeing me cry. Then at the end of the finishing corral I looked up and saw the face of a friend waiting to congratulate me which, at that moment, was exactly what I needed.  I'm sure he'll never know how much that small gesture of support picked me up.  I realized that as much as this was my first real accomplishment as a newly single girl and as much as I did it on my own, I wasn't alone.  I am blessed with friends and family who I know will always be proud of me.  I did it.  I am proud of me.  And I know that whatever this new adventure brings, I can do it.  

cheese plate with fig puree and butternut squash risotto w/prawns
So as much as this was a physical challenge, it was in part an emotional journey to strengthening that belief in myself as a single person.  I needed to push myself and do something that was just for me.  I then rewarded myself with a day of shopping and a delicious meal with a great friend.  Met a lovely shop owner, who told me I needed to move there and open a store! Bought a few great pieces of art from her for the apartment and promised to come back again! Then this morning I discovered "Taste of Heaven" and Kzoo corn.... and yes it lives up to it's name! 


It was a great weekend - Kelly, Fran and I all completed the 1/2 and Peggy cheered us on! It was a great course and I'd certainly do it again.  Now to rest up a bit and then start training for Detroit this fall. Thank you again to everyone who helped me support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society... I guess I better start on those thank you notes!

06 May 2011

feet don't fail me now...

so what was supposed to be tapering was me petering out - it wasn't my best week but it over so I'm moving on! we leave in the morning for kalamazoo - expo in the afternoon, carb loading and perhaps a dip in the hotel pool/hot tub and then sunday is race day. 

i ordered myself a fun new running skirt since all of my summer running gear is somewhere between finland & canada but it didn't come in time so looks like I'll be just running in plain old tights unless I find something fun at the expo.  I'm thinking if it's cool out I may bust out my bad ass compression knee socks.... 

the only thing that sucks about going on the road for races is not being home for breakfast that morning.  And since I have food allergies I usually am used to packing my own nutrients to take with me on road trips.  So I have with me... baggies of whole nuts to snack on, instant oatmeal, chopped nuts and dates to go with said oatmeal, organic apples, almond butter packets, lara bars, protein bars, green tea w/ pomegranate, energy drink packets, coconut water for recovery, and of course my vitamins. 
Now on to clothing...who knows what the weather is going to be like so I've got shorts, tights, long sleeve, tank tops, knee socks, short socks, zip up... 

I haven't decided yet if I'm going to wear my belt pack yet - I trained with it so it would be nice to have my own water and snacks with me.... my skirt had pockets for treats so now I have to find somewhere to bring these with me... so I'll bring my pack, my arm band for my ipod in case I don't wear the pack, a hat, headband.... I have my contacts (lol let's see how that goes at 5am!) and my prescription sun glasses so I'll make that call the morning of. I hope to find running glasses to wear with my contacts at the expo.  The only thing I am missing is a sweat band for my wrist - I think it could be handy... not necessarily fashionable but hey sometimes we have to go for function...  Ok so the only thing left to do is to finish up my playlist and sync my itunes to my phone and I'm all set.  

Many of you know that I've dedicated this run to my girl Emma and raised just $1050 for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society which is more than double my initial goal of $500.  I couldn't have done it without such wonderful friends and family and yes, when I return you can all expect a hand written thank you from yours truly.  

That said, there is another young man that I think of every time I run.  Unfortunately his battle to cancer (osteogenetic sarcoma) was lost in 1999.  He was the first friend I lost - the first funeral I had to attend of someone my own age.  We ran together though high school.  We met at a party when I admitted to him that I had the biggest crush on his younger brother.  He made me laugh like no other.  He was amazing and humble and so, so strong.  When he was diagnosed, everyone said "why you? why do you have to go through this" and his response was "why not me?".   He was a star runner and soccer player at university level until he got sick.  I remember visiting him at the hospital in Toronto after he was recovering from surgery and being there as he took his first steps after six weeks of being bedridden.  Those few steps in the hospital room as Mary and I cried and took photos for his mom and cheered him on.   Only a few months later he lost his leg and his cancer spread and and just a few short more months and he was gone.  He was the one that taught me life is short so not to take it for granted and cherish your body and your health because without it, you are nothing.  

So as much as I will run for Emma on Sunday to honour her fight, I will (as I have in every race since he passed) write his name on my right leg and pray for his strength and hopefully his humor to keep on moving. 

05 May 2011

cleanse week

let's just say it hasn't been the best week... 


It started off with the royal wedding and then my cousin's wedding shower - not that I wasn't happy for them because truly I am and wish them the very best but it's not so easy not to think back to my own wedding and wonder what went wrong. 


This week is the city wide cleanse so it's been a week without coffee.... ok it's only been 4.5 days and although I did cut back the last few weeks knowing that the cleanse was coming i still started off with a major headache and I'm not sleeping right.  The cleanse is pretty much a vegan meal plan so no dairy, no meat, no eggs, no sugar, no coffee, nothing white (potato, rice or otherwise), and no gluten which is every day for me so that was easy.   Since I eat pretty healthy it's not too much of a change but I miss cheese and I miss coffee - green tea tastes like grass.  


The weather has been overcast and back to cool temps although today is bright sunny and perfect so I'm trying to channel some positive energy. 


My right calf has been hurting - alot - since last week so I am starting to worry about the impending 13.1 miles in my future.  I'm thinking compression socks for the run may be in order and if the weather forecast is right (cold and rainy) I'm sure I'll be happy to have them on.  


I'm trying not to worry about my time for the run and just go out there and have fun but for some reason I feel like I need to prove something to myself.  It's the first major thing I've done since being on my own and I think it's just hitting home. 


And my stuff...I know I've mentioned before about wanting my stuff and wanting to get settled.  Well it's now packed in a shipping container and soon will be on the sea back to me here in North America.  Which means it is for sure, 100% over - there was always this back of my head little hope that as long as my stuff was still there, there was this slight glimmer of hope that we would find a way to work this out.  That hope is now gone.  And as much as I know in my head that this is the right thing and this is the path of my life, it does kinda suck.  


Overall I still think I'm doing good and trusting that I'm following God's plan for me.  I know that in the end I am a strong, wonderful, intelligent woman that will be beyond 100% ok.  I'm bound to have bad days and a few sleepless nights and go through a few boxes of kleenex here and there.  However this week has had a few of those days and it sucks even more to not have coffee or chocolate to turn to.


That said, the sun is shining so I am heading out and going to get one last run in before a few rest days and then the 1/2 marathon.  Shoulders back, chin up and smile on.... here's to a good day! 

02 May 2011

remembering.....

‎"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
-Martin Luther King, Jr

It's kind of odd to me that today as I read through various people's status updates or read the news online there seems to be this sort of happiness that justice has been served knowing that Osama is dead. I don't really feel like his death is justice but hopefully it does bring light again to the issue of terrorism.  As easy as it is to rejoice in an enemy's demise, MLK Jr is correct in stating that hate multiplies hate.  Let's hope that his death isn't celebrated as the loss of one man but the loss of his hatred.  

The horror that OBL instigated against the United States and the world for that matter will never be exonerated just by his own death.  That one action will never be able to replace the sorrow, the fear, the pain that he caused.  So rather rejoice and give credence to his death, we need to continue to mourn the lives of those who died on September 11th and those subsequently who lost their lives on the battleground defending our freedom.  At the same moment, in mourning we need to not only honour those lives lost but celebrate our own lives and to try to figure out how we can each make the world a better place.  

Maybe it's simplistic or naive but I should hope that our focus today isn't on the death of our enemy but to take another moment to reflect and to remember.  As with most horrific days in history, I don't think anyone will forget where they were that morning of September 11th. I remember pretty much every detail of that day vividly.  I remember the girl coming into the hotel and saying that a plane just flew over her head.  Calling my mom to tell her that we were ok and her telling me that the news was reporting our location as one of the next potential targets.  Hearing the emergency alarms sound and rushing out the door to dust and smoke only to be told we had to stay inside until the evacuation route was cleared.  The ceiling of the ballroom we were waiting in crumbling when the ground shook as the towers fell.  Walking to give blood and being turned away because there wasn't anyone to give blood to.  Sitting in a restaurant that night where no staff were really working - everyone was just helping themselves and someone was cooking.... there were military everywhere and the streets of NYC were just quiet except for the incessant sound of sirens.  I will never get out of my head the faces of those family members walking around aimlessly looking for their loved ones, handing you their picture with blank eyes just hoping you would say yes that you had seen them...

Let us take this moment to remember.  God give us the strength to always move forward after such tragedies and give us the strength to be the change we want to see in the world.  And let us never forget.  

01 May 2011

tapering..

I'm not necessarily a fan of tapering before a race.  I think it's because I don't usually feel 100% prepared so I want to keep training as much as possible.  I wanted to get in a 12 mile run before this race but I didn't and although I ran over 11 strong (twice), and I know I can do 13.1 because I've done it before, for some reason this is nagging at me. This is it - all the training I've put in and now it's time to scale back and get ready to run! 


I started out training because it helped me organize these newly single thoughts, because it was something I was doing just for me and because I needed something to focus on.  Then my friend Kelly signed up for a 1/2 marathon and asked me to do it with her, which I happily agreed to because I'm always better when I have a race in sight!  Then life got overwhelming and I didn't have it in me to run for a week or so and I tried to take a step back and appreciate the good things in my life and realized things can always be worse.  


My thoughts went to a special little girl in my life - her dad was one of my best childhood friends and I consider him a brother.  He died suddenly at 29 years of age leaving her behind just shy of two years old.  She got sick only a few months after his passing - diagnosed with Leukemia.  She has been a little fighter these past two years and now is hopefully seeing the end of her treatment this June.  I realized that yes, my life was in a bit of turmoil but it wasn't anything life threatening.  I may have a broken heart but it will mend and I will survive but here was this beautiful little girl teetering on the edge.  


And she was my inspiration to get out and run - especially on those spring days of April showers where the last thing I really wanted to do was lace up and get soaking wet putting in the miles.  She kept me moving.  In a way to honour her fight, I wanted to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada in hopes to find a cure for this horrible disease.  I set an initial goal of $500 and have now more than doubled that.  I am humbled by the support of my friends and family and I hope to do you proud next weekend.  


I realize that as much as I want to achieve my time goals it is really just the feat of getting out there that I should be happy with.  Deep down I'm competitive so it's hard to let go of goals but then I stumbled upon this post in one of the blogs I follow with this quote: “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.”  and this perspective: "Kids are resilient. They're stronger than we think. They take their treatments, and they often don't say a word. They don't complain. They don't let it phase them.But they shouldn't have to be strong. They shouldn't have to be mature. They should be... kids."


I am certain that I will finish and I know Em won't care what my time is just that I did this in her honour, to salute her strength and her battle and hopefully the funds I raised will help another little one fight and kick cancer's ass.  


So I will just run and do my best and be happy even if I'm running in the rain - which will probably come in handy because I'm about 110% positive that I will cry my eyes out when I cross the finish line!