Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Reminders of Our Strength

Like many other fitness/endurance/adventurer enthusiasts, I confess to loving my active wear.

If you need to borrow a pair of runners, I have you covered.  Dress shoes not so much.  It would be really hard for me to find more than 2 "dressy" combinations of clothing from my closet.
I have embraced the fact that I am a jeans wearing, hiking boots, leggings, wicking shirt kind of gal.

My favs come from many different companies.   I will try to put together a post of my favourites.   I love looking at what other people can't live without.

While we were in California a couple months ago and my husband and I were engaging in our favourite pass time-  riding south on the PCH and stopping for coffee where ever we please.  One day, I stumbled upon a new brand of active wear.  I noticed this business a couple times riding past and today was the day to stop in and check things out.

I enjoy knowing the beginning of a company and especially how the name was chosen.  There have been a lot of new and interesting retailers I have discovered in California; Coeur Sports, De Soto, Wattie Ink, Oiselle, Betty Designs, and Soas to name a few.

GRACEDBYGRIT is a company started by 2 women who wanted women to feel empowered and safe.  What I love the most though is this quote that comes directly from their website.

"Every woman has experienced that difficult moment that she thinks might just break her. How we make it through those moments defines us. We have realized that our grittiest moments give us our grace. Every woman has been GRACEDBYGRIT." 

Does that hit real close?

You hear a lot about having a mantra to get you through tough times.  I don't exactly have 1 mantra that follows me wherever I go.  Most of the time, I get my encouragement from the things surrounding me right then and there.  My GRACEDBYGRIT delicious tank helped me muster up some grit and determination at mile 18 while running my marathon last month.

Or how about Oiselle.

"But perhaps most powerfully, it's been about celebrating a sense of freedom. And thus the name Oiselle (pronounced wa-zelle). A French word for bird, it alludes to that feeling of weightlessness that most athletes know and love. That sense of flight - when the legs go fast and the heart goes free."

When I wear my Roga shorts, I remind myself when my legs are tired that they are free, not tied down and they can fly.  I see myself running with high legs, barely touching the ground as my feet fly.  I swear, I find new energy.

My most favourite tri/biking shorts are from Coeur Sports.  They are just plain awesome.  

"Coeur is French for heart & the root of the word courage. And that’s what we put into our collections and our sport. As an athlete, you know that athletic performance is about so much more than genetic talent. Its also about heart. Heart is about digging deep and being mentally tough. Heart is what gets you to the finish line when all the body wants to do is lay down.  Heart is at the center of the community and the friendships you find in sport. Heart is what makes you give back to the community that has given you so much. Everything we do at Coeur - from our designs to how we play a role in our community - should reflect our values and how we aim to conduct ourselves. "

Most miles during an Ironman triathlon need a reminder to be courageous and brave; to have heart.

These are just a couple of my favourite companies that produce awesome athletic wear that don't just perform well and fit right, but they make me feel empowered, strong, brave and remind me that anything is possible.

This is what I need to reflect on when I am in tough moments.  This is what pulls me along when I want to slow down; what helps me get up when I stumble;  and what keeps me thankful for the strength of my body and what it can do.

What are your favourite reminders of strength?

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Hello warm temperatures!😊

and I guess hello mosquitoes😞

Hope everyone had a great long weekend.  May long weekend is the official kickoff to camping in Canada.  All you lucky people that got to enjoy the great outdoors, camp fires and smores, I am so jealous!  I hope to get to the lake one of these days to get some cleaning done before summer so we can really just go enjoy ourselves when we are there.

#farming2017 has been in high gear getting our crops in the ground, harrowing, picking rocks and such and we couldn't have had nicer weather.

Filling the seeding tank with seed and fertilizer

Me taking a water break while picking rocks and boy did I need it.  

The "baby" of the family got her learner's license.  So proud of her but also sad for me for the reminder that I am getting older.

She was also involved in a huge high school drama production of "The Lion King".  What an amazing job they did and what a huge undertaking it must have been for those organizing.

This drama and farming is what conflicted with our tentative plan to attend Spruce Woods Ultra.  It was the right thing to miss the ultra this year.  Really still hope to run it sometime.  Need to get this body of mine on the right track first.

On that note, the training has still not been going well.  Thankfully, I am kinda past the point of pure and complete exhaustion.  The kind where it is so very difficult to get myself out of bed so obviously have no desire, energy or ability to do much activity.  I have had a few short bike rides and a longer ride on gravel on Sunday.  I was feeling a bit better but as per our usual, we get exploring and the miles tick along until I pretty much hit bottom.  It was a day that was meant for riding all day- warm temperature, few bugs, not much traffic, low wind and a chance to unwind and spent time with my husband.  I felt very unwell the rest of the day as a result of my overexertion though.

Love this old barn

I captured this picture on Mother's Day- who could ask for more?

Any safer suggestions on how to get magpie's to pack their bags and move out?

And finally, a really nice evening in the back yard with the dog.

With seeding soon to be complete, hopefully, I will posting a bit more frequently.  I am planning to share what has been happening to me health wise and the plan I have for the near future.  I hope that if anyone else has also been on a lost train of confusion (in terms of weird health issues) that I can share my story with the goal of helping one of you.

Have an amazing week.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Rocky's Motivational Punch

I hate to start anything out on a negative note because I am a really positive person but I need to get this off my chest.
I have been pretty discouraged.
In the dumps in fact.

The stomach infection that took me YEARS to figure out and then months to get rid of is back.
 Insert big, heavy sigh.  

This is way more complicated than a 2 week dose of antibiotics.  It affects my entire body in so many ways and takes a ton of effort in a lot of areas to get back on track.  It will change my training and affect my day to day life in pretty big ways.

I wasn't going to bring this up.  I thought I would just bide my time until things starting feeling better and my emotions were a bit more in control before I shot out a blog post.  Like who really wants to spend their free time reading a blog post about someone who is scraping the bottom of the barrel?  Heck, I don't think a day goes by that we all aren't faced with some conflict and negativity.  No one wants more of it.
I changed my mind about staying quiet about it when I realized there is more to this story than me being a debbie downer.

I have a challenge to face, a mountain to climb, a demon to fight, a wall to bust down.  And I will do it one step, one stone and one brick at a time.  With that will come a soul that will be empowered,  a new sense of awareness, more strength, courage and determination.  I will find more pieces to my puzzle.  This part of the journey might not be of my choosing but I am confident that there will be many gains along the way.

In 2016, I had the most amazing year as I could train, race and live "like a normal person" having energy, health and a body that did what I wanted it to do.  For the first time in a long time.  And it was awesome.

Some of my recent discouragement was thinking that would be gone.  I love adventures and have a few of them planned for this year and I was already mourning the loss of them or maybe what they could have been.
Don't do that. It's stupid to mourn something that isn't dead yet.  There is time and things can change.  It might not but it might.  I need to remain positive and concern myself with things coming up when they come.

Life doesn't come to us without obstacles.  I sometimes used to wish for that red easy button you see on the Staples commercials and could just push it and everything would be good, done, just how you want it.  It would be that easy.
But life doesn't always deal cards fairly and add to that a mixture of genetics, environment, stress, relationships and other factors and you sometimes get the perfect storm.
A storm that changes it's appearance steadily; to some it is a physical storm like an infection, autoimmune disorder, cancer, or heart troubles. To others it may be a relational storm that leads to divorce, estrangement, issues with your kids or troubles at work.  Or it may also manifest in an individual as unhappiness, anxiety or depression.

A few things through all this tie us as together as people;
1. we are not alone, people everywhere are experiencing difficulties (even if it looks like they have their crap together) so take strength and comfort in number.
2. we all have the same questions to answer- "Will I let this ______define me?  I may fall but am I getting back up? Am I going to remain positive and thankful or become jaded and bitter?"
3. the journey continues and our choice in how we live will influence and affect countless numbers of people

My favourite words of encouragement have always been from Rocky.

I have watched the Rocky movies years ago.  I can't remember that much about each movie and I it has been my plan to spend some winter trainer rides re-watching. It hasn't happened yet but will someday.  He can pack quite a motivational punch (no pun intended) about the tough moments in life, about choices in life and about being a fighter.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Weekend Roundup and a Weird Anniversary

Hello May! and holy mackerel where did April go to?

We had a smashing good weekend.  Had all 4 kids home together for a few hours, celebrated my husband's birthday, went on my first road bike ride this year early Sat morning, did a bit of relaxing and made a good dent in the yard/house spring cleaning.

It was fantastic to get back on the road bike again.  It was only a month ago while away on vacation that I rode it almost everyday.  In fact, I rode 500 miles in the 2 weeks while I was away.

My bike missed me I could tell.

The ride was a bit cool with temp just over the freezing mark but with little wind.  I wore gloves instead of mitts- bad decision but I survived and still have all 10 digits.  Toes got pretty cold on the way home even with toe covers  but they survived too.  I have 2 black toe nails from my marathon a couple weeks ago so maybe they are toughening up.

Hubby's birthday cake was a peanut butter cup pie.  It was the first time I made this particular recipe and I was skeptical about the filling but after licking the spoon and then the bowl, I knew it was a winner.  I will be making it again.

On the training front- I have to confess, things have been pretty sporadic.   I feel like I am just not on my feet again and recovered from my cold.  I am still blowing my nose endlessly and just feel so tired out a lot of the time.  It has been just over 2 weeks and quite frankly, I am getting tired of being tired.  I need my energy back.
I had some nice runs and bike rides but they have been easy and I have stayed pretty close to home.

I was pretty darn serious about running in the Spruce Woods Ultra held on May 13th but my daughter is in a major drama production "The Lion King" at school and they are performing that weekend so we will be opting out of the ultra this year.  I was a bit unsure about it at first but was truly disappointed when I found out the date of the drama and knew that I couldn't run.  The drama is typically the 3rd weekend in May so I had not even thought about it interfering.  Oh well.  With the way I have been feeling, sometimes things just work out the way they are supposed to right?

A couple days ago marked the anniversary of my daughter having her wisdom teeth removed.  Normally, this isn't really an anniversary to remember but later that day (2 years ago) after the extraction, she lost consciousness and suffered a concussion that has had lasting effects.  The worst of these effects has been chronic migraines.  She has had a headache everyday since her concussion and usually about once every month or so, suffers with a severe migraine that takes up to a week to break.  Interesting enough, she is in bed as I write this, waiting for the migraine to break.  It has been painfully hard to see my child suffer and have to rearrange her goals and plans for post grade 12 and her future.  We have sought out medical assistance in every imaginable way to find few answers and no solution to her headaches.  Last year alone, we travelled almost 11 000 kms to attend various appointments.  Only to really be told to give it time.
A weird anniversary to think about and when she reminded me of it the other day, I told her I didn't want to talk about it or think about it.  It was a horrible time and I still can't think of that 24 hours of stitches, ambulance rides, testing and her unbearable agony without getting really upset.  I try to forget and here she is asking me to remember.  I began to understand that in her mind and those who have also suffered injury, loss, rehabilitation or other life changing event, the anniversary marks something very special.  She has had to fight really hard.  Lots of appointments, constant road blocks and dead ends.  Not to mention the loss of friends (who don't understand), the loss of her planned future and the loss of the the joy of young adulthood.  It has been a real roller coaster.  And somewhere deep inside, she has had to dig real deep, many, many times to stay positive and upbeat, to have patience and faith.  The burden has been many times overwhelming and in her words she said "I have had a headache for 730 days but I have also been courageous, shown perseverance and been tested to my limits in those 730 days and I have survived."

So for those of you who are in the trenches and those fighting along side their loved ones- don't give up, stay strong and celebrate the victory of courage and determination.  I think I will take her flowers and a Dairy Queen blizzard tonight and tell her how proud I am of her.

Hope you have a great day!