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i’m still here…

As you can see I have taken a six-month sabbatical from posting. It has been busy and I have been focusing on my children and new adventures with my family which meant something had to give. I’ve also been thinking a bit about what direction I am taking as a writer and blogger. I figured it was about time I posted an update as well as a little about the changes that are coming.

The children are growing up so fast. My son Tobias is now 16. I am very proud of the young man he has become. Little Kaia will be 7 soon. She has such a kind heart and a big stubborn streak that I think she gets from me her Dad. The time goes by so quickly. My children are part of the reason that I choose to work from home. It’s a luxury and there are sacrifices but it gives me the opportunity to spend more time with them. My Mom was the same. I can’t remember a time where she wasn’t there when I came home from school.

The first change will be in this blog. The plan is to archive Finding My Inner Possible and redirect the domain to where my new WordPress site will live. I’ll keep the archive accessible, of course. Inner Possible started out as a weight loss and fitness journey. While that lifestyle theme is still a big part of my life, there are also many other facets that I want to share with readers. I’ll be self-hosting as well which will give faster load times and even better… no ads! It will cover everything from fitness, camping, and photography to travel, recipes, and knitting. Keep an eye out for an announcement here when the project launches.

I’m back to running and it’s a complete restart. I’m learning to embrace the suck. I had an awful winter full of setbacks. Bronchitis. Flu. Pneumonia. Eye infection. Stress. My immunity took a big hit and I gained weight. When I wasn’t sick, I was taking care of someone sick. A few weeks ago, a CT scan revealed bone lesions on my skull. I’m going for a bone scan in just over a week and then I’ll know a bit more about what I am dealing with. Right now I am in “need more information” mode but I’m avoiding Dr. Google and trying to live in the moment until I have some concrete answers. With all that having happened, running sat on the backburner so 2.5K is about my limit right now. In a mere three weeks I run back to back 5K events at the Mudcat Marathon. I’m sure I am going to be doing a lot of walking. It’s all good though. Every step is a step forward. The big thing is that I am not going to beat myself up for any of this. It’s life and where I am at now is by no means a permanent thing. The kids and Bryan are running at the Mudcat Marathon too. We are completing the Fishy 5K on the Friday night as a family and on Saturday Bryan and I will run the 5K while Tobias cheers Kaia on in her 1K Mudkitten run.

sv azura

As a distraction from the looming unknown, I’ve been writing about our family adventures with a sailboat named Azura. Only our family would purchase a 31-foot yacht without knowing how to sail. Nothing like throwing caution to the wind. I bought sailing lessons for Bryan as a birthday gift and he starts those in a few weeks. Azura was transported during our last snowfall and put in the water a few weeks ago. There were a few hiccups but she’s now at her new home. This weekend I will be sanding and working on the trim. Bryan is rebuilding the hatches, cockpit floor and dorade boxes. Our children are helping but also spending time exploring the parks and trails nearby. On Easter weekend, we had our first meals from the galley. It was quite enjoyable and reminded me of camp cooking in many ways. If you’d like to read more please visit SailingAzura.com.

I’ve been reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s writings. The book I have my nose stuck in right now is called You Are Here. I love the whole concept of being mindful and I’m bringing that into every aspect of my life. I’m also trying to minimize what is in our home. Seriously, I do not need enough camping gear to outfit an entire Scout Troop. The only collection that will remain off limits from being reduced is my yarn stash… there are some things that you just don’t mess with.

Speaking of yarn… knitting has been very therapeutic for me too. I love that it is practical as well as creative. If you are curious about what I’ve had on the needles feel free to browse my ravelry page.

Goodness me, it has been forever since I’ve posted. This seems to be a recurring theme but as Fall progresses into Winter, I’ll have more time to write.

Summer and early Fall have been amazing. It has been a time to reconnect with my spirit and put the anxieties of last year’s health issues to rest. There have been camping trips and other adventures. I revisited Bruce Peninsula National Park and enjoyed myself immensely. It was quite a contrast to how I felt when we were there in 2015 a few days before I was sent to the emergency room. My son had his first full-time summer job so many of my days off were spent on adventures with my little girl (she’s six). There were trips to the splash pad and the library as well as other excursions. Then he was off to leadership camp at OELC-CASO near Orillia. It was a remarkably busy summer.

The Running Life

Running wasn’t much of a focus this summer for many reasons, including the heat. I did participate in a couple of events with my daughter including the Furry Friends 5K in Burlington and the 5.7K Chase the Coyote at Mono Cliffs Provincial Park. I was so proud of her. I had a great wipeout on the trail at CTC right after I had remarked that I hadn’t fallen on a trail in a long time. My injuries weren’t serious but it did make the costochondritis resurface and that feels incredibly like heart issues (thank goodness it wasn’t). I’m back and rebuilding my run base, albeit slowly. My heart is doing well and much of my lack of running had roots in fear. To push myself through that I’ve committed to a challenge next May at the Whole Health Mudcat Marathon in Dunnville. I’ll be running 5K on the Friday night with my daughter and the half marathon on Saturday morning. My friend Eddie is also running the 5K and it will be his first race so I am totally excited for him.

My Work

I stepped down from my volunteer position as Physical Activity Community Educator for the Grand River Community Health Center to pursue other things. While I loved leading the group walks, I needed to spend more time in other areas of my life. As you may remember, I have tossed around the idea of becoming a personal trainer but it seems I kept getting pulled back to writing. After my story on loss was included in Jean-Paul Bedard’s Running into Yourself, I realized that I need to continue writing. Simply put, being a writer is an integral part of who I am and my story has the power to help people so I’ve started writing it. I will be sharing some news surrounding that soon enough… as soon as I am finished my current manuscript.

A Cerulean Adventure

I’ve always dreamed of sailing and, much to my surprise, so has Bryan. He has been looking at vintage sailboats for quite some time. When he finally approached me about buying one, he was equally shocked that this was something I would consider. We looked at several more sailboats together but most needed extensive restoration. We saw everything from stripped and destroyed interiors to overflowing bilges and deck delamination. Pretty much every vessel was a sloop and I suggested that perhaps we consider a ketch. I quite prefer the style of a classic ketch anyway. Bryan wasn’t so easily convinced but he decided to look at a few. One caught our eye—a Classic 31 Grampian from 1967.

the Azura

the Azura

We went to check out the sailboat which was up on Lake Simcoe. To make a long story short, we are now the proud owners of the Azura. We’ve decided to keep her name because it suits her and I’m all about how her name is a play on those gorgeous cerulean blues of the sky and water. She has been outfitted for ocean travel and has been to the Bahamas or BVIs on more than one occasion. For now Azura will stay on the hard at Lake Simcoe and in Spring she will be transported overland to Port Dalhousie for the 2017 sailing season. We aren’t sure that this will be a permanent home but the people there were very welcoming. We’ve already met a man named Vic—he’s a seasoned sailor who is quite the character and is going to be our port side neighbour. There is a gorgeous trail not too far from the pier where I can do my long runs along the lakeshore before we set sail on Saturday mornings. Toronto is directly across the water and about a 4-hour sail depending on conditions so I am sure there will be loads of exploring. We had considered docking somewhere along the shores of Georgian Bay but we’d rather spend the time sailing instead of driving. Perhaps in a few years we will consider a spot near Midland. My daughter already wants to plan “sleepovers with Mommy” on the Azura and she has nicknamed her “The Leaky Beak” in Neverland Pirate style. Too funny.

I want to thank Shaun & Julia Sailing, Joshua Scudds, and Nina at Port Dalhousie Pier Marina for taking the time to answer so many of our questions.

Life is short… go out and embrace it! B(e) Positive!

summer vibes

Wow! My blog certainly has been idle for a long while. I took a hiatus for several months to do other things including to spend more time with my family. I’ve been staying active and trying my hand at gardening (again). I’ve been knitting and reading as time allows… sometimes I like to be a bit of an introvert and that seemed to be a theme this year as I worked through the frustrating feelings the health battles of last year left me with. Here is a synopsis of what has been happening in my life.

The Centre of My World

My children are doing well. I’m happy for summer break and a reduction in the amount of school-borne illnesses. It was a rough Spring with cold after cold that would spread to everyone in the house. I nicknamed it the “kindergarten crud”. My daughter is really excited about being a big girl going into the first grade. She’s working on reading by herself and learning to ride a two-wheeler without training wheels. I’m keeping the first aid kit well stocked for knee scrapes. Miss K. is somewhat competitive with her big brother so she shows great determination but the balance of riding the bike is a work in progress. Speaking of her brother, my son is turning out to be such an amazing young man. This is the Mom Brag warning. Now where was I? Oh yes, TC  is on the Minister’s Student Advisory Council for 2016/2017 and will attend the Ontario Leadership Education Centre this summer. This is his second term. He has also landed his first full time summer job and it’s a fun one. He is working for the school board as a day-camp counsellor. Seeing him leave for his first day last week was akin to putting him on the school bus that first morning 11 years ago. There may have been a few tears. I’m so proud of how he has taken such initiative. There are times though, that I miss my chubby-cheeked little boy.

A Slow Progression Into a New Career – Maybe

My last post was about my training to be a Physical Activity Community Educator (PACE) with the Grand River Community Health Centre. Training went well and I am into my fourth month of leading fitness walks each week. I’m also doing some one-on-one mentoring which I feel is an important support for people. I’m finding that I am getting as much out of this experience as the people I am working with. It’s very inspiring seeing the enthusiasm at the start of someone’s journey. This is also a great way to get me out of my office and into the community in a meaningful way. Sadly I have to step back for the month of August but I hope to be back at it in September.

Outside of the initial training for PACE I’ve taken a few courses on my own such as fundamental movement skills, physical activity in the heat, and concussion awareness. Currently I’m studying a 4-week course called Physiotherapy, Exercise & Physical Activity. I’m tossing around the idea of taking college courses to become a personal trainer or fitness coach – maybe. Or perhaps there is another book in my future? I’m still not entirely sure which direction I want to take with this. I feel that with my own journey I have much that I could bring to whatever I eventually decide to do… after all, I know how much dedication it takes to change your life.

Tent Time

Camping is on the summer agenda of course and I’m excited about that. We had to adjust plans to suit the boy having a job but it is all working out well. I’ve decided to pitch my tent at the same place where my heart problems started last August… Bruce Peninsula National Park. I’m considering the trip a bit of a restart. I promise to post some photos and a trip summary when we return. I bought a new camera as I broke mine at the same spot last year so I’m going to play around with that a little. And a dear friend and her family will be coming from Ottawa to camp with us. We met through running and get along quite well. I haven’t seen her in person since September and it is going to be a great adventure.

My Running Life

I ran two events this year. The first was the Oakville Mercedes 10K at the end of April. I chose to drop down to the 5K distance and walked more of the course than I expected to. It was great to be back at a start line though. There is just something wonderful about the race day vibe. The second was the 5K run at the Ride for Heart in Toronto. I was an ambassador for the Heart & Stroke Foundation so I got the VIP treatment. Here are the details.

I ran in memory of Chuck Orosz and Bill Langman.  Chuck was a friend of ours who passed away suddenly from a heart attack last summer. I missed his memorial service because of my own heart issues so I wanted to do this as a way to honor him. Bill was my Daddy. He died of a heart attack when I was a teenager and I miss him terribly.

Thankfully the rain held off and it was muggy but with a nice breeze. I ran some of the course and I went out really strong but I also walked a lot more than I had anticipated. I’d been dealing with all sorts of issues as I tried to rebuild my base so I knew that I wasn’t going with any sort of a running base. A few weeks before the event a lovely friend said to me that the victory lies in being alive to enjoy the start line, so I carried that thought throughout the race. During my extended walk breaks I took the time to talk to others walking about why they were running or walking this event. Some of the stories were incredible. One lady had emigrated from Israel and her family history of heart disease was so bad that two of her brothers became cardiologists. Another group was doing the event under the name Team Carol because their friend passed away from a sudden heart attack last year. With each story I realized what a gift it was that I could participate in the event and how being an ambassador for the race helped me through a very difficult time in my life. I ran most during the last kilometre where I encouraged a woman who was struggling so that she could cross the finish line as strong as possible. A few hundred metres before I parted ways with her and ran to the finish line.

Even though there were some things about this event that could be improved, this race reminded me about one of the things I love most about the running community and that is the way we support one another. Oh and being in the first group of runners to ever do a race on Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway was cool too.

Speaking of running, Bryan, the kids and I are participating in Chase the Coyote this coming Fall. It’s a trail race that has three distances. Bryan is running the 14.4K and the rest of us are running the short course which is 5.7K. Miss K is merely six years old so this will be a good distance for her. She’s quite exuberant about running so it will be fun to train with her. We are still undecided about which of us she’ll run with at the event but she seems to be leaning towards getting her brother to be her sidekick.

Well that’s all for now. I’ll be posting some gear reviews and other ramblings over the coming weeks as I start my return to regular writing.

Life is short… go out and embrace it! B(e) Positive!

PACE

As usual it has been a bit hectic so I’ve been spending more time away from social media. There is the usual Mom business in the height of cold & flu season and I am back in the swing of training for my Spring running events.  I’ve been playing around with a Polar M400 and an in-depth review will be coming up. I’m still working on the manuscript for my third book and hope to finish it in the next month or so. On top of all of this I’m in career transition mode.

Quite some time ago I decided to close the doors on the web and graphic design business. I’d been designing since 1994 and, while I was very talented and the income was great, it had become something I wasn’t super-passionate about. Then, when I became a published author I realized that I needed to put my energies into work I am passionate about… work that I enjoy. Writing books and articles, as you have probably surmised, is something I love and will continue to do, however, I find I am being drawn in an interesting direction. It seems the more I fight it, the more the universe seems to be conspiring to make it happen.

You are likely wondering when I am going to get to the point of explaining how the title of this post, PACE, relates to my ramblings above.

Yesterday was the perfect day to walk to a meeting. Even if I knew how to drive, taking the car a half kilometre would be a waste of a beautiful morning walk.

I am now in training to be a Physical Activity Community Educator (PACE) for a local community health centre. This is a volunteer position that will allow me the opportunity to help others adopt a healthier lifestyle with one-on-one mentoring, leading group activity programs, helping create a physical activity library, motivational talks, and leading workshops.

Part of the reason I moving forward with this is to give back to my community and help others. I’ve always appreciated being able to make a positive impact in people’s’ lives. There are also personal and professional growth components to this. Helping others will keep me motivated and accountable, plus I have been tossing around the idea of doing more career-wise in this field. This is a wonderful chance to get my feet wet.

I’ve looked at several options including becoming a registered dietitian, fitness coach, or personal trainer. I’m not prepared, at this stage in my life, to take a four year BaSC so I am leaning strongly towards the personal trainer side of things once I surpass a few more milestones. While there is a lot of competition for positions, I do have a unique perspective that could set me apart. I’d love to work with diabetics in a training environment. I’m not there yet but it seems that I am constantly being pulled in this direction for a reason.

I have much to think about but in the meantime I’m going to enjoy helping people in my community learn that they can do things they never thought possible.

run free

Remember back in November I posted that I accepted the role as Run Ambassador for the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s first Run/Walk at the Ride for Heart? I mentioned that I’d have a discount code for those of you who want to run along the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto. Well, I have something even better…

TOMORROW is FREE registration day for Ride for Heart’s first ever Run/Walk!

Tomorrow only, the registration fee will be waived. For more information please visit Ride for Heart.

The event is on June 5th, 2016. I am a survivor and my goal is to run the 10K distance but there is also a 5K run and walk. I hope that you will join me to help raise awareness and research funds for a disease that affects so many.

hello 2016

2015 was a rather eventful year that held many wonderful moments along with struggle and sadness. With the roller coaster ride I have learned much about myself. I am resilient. I overcome obstacles. I am a survivor. And, I am grateful for all of it. Even though I leave 2015 behind, I carry with me joyful memories of time spent with people I love and wisdom garnered from making it through difficult times.

Resolutions are something I really don’t prescribe to, but you knew that.  Of course I do have a bit of a plan for the year. Last year my life took some turns that got in the way so I didn’t reach some most of my milestones. Some of my plans from 2015 will be left behind perhaps to be revisited at another time and others will be brought forward. In 2016 I will continue living active, embracing motherhood, advocating for my health, listening to my intuition, eating mindfully and having fun.

Fitness wise I am working towards rebuilding my 5K and 10K running base. Right now I’m battling a persistent cough which is irritating because it limits what I can do. My first race is a 5K near the end of April and the second will be the event that I am an ambassador for. It is a 10K Run at the Ride for Heart in Toronto in early June. In training for these two events I will be building towards the 21.1K distance again and perhaps even running a half marathon in the autumn. I keep a list of events I am registered for, or contemplating, here on my blog.

Out with the old and in with the new! All this talk about running and I am reminded that I need new running shoes. My current pair has about 780K on them. I noticed on my last runs that left arch is letting me know that it’s high time to replace my beloved Asics. I might need two pair this year if everything goes well. I plan to run quite a bit.

I haven’t been to the gym consistently in a while because of my heart and now this blasted cough so I’ll be heading back there soon enough. I love to hop on the bike, lift, and swim to cross train. I was determined that I wasn’t going to like the gym but I actually do. Go figure. I’m well over a year into my membership though and I still haven’t taken a class. I might have to try that out especially seeing as Movati has a wonderful new yoga studio. I like to think of it as my “Mommy Time Out”. The gym days usually mean some social time with my friend Carla who’s company I quite enjoy. She tends to be my adultier adult.

When the trails are open for cycling again, I’m hoping to get out on some longer rides with friends (this means you Jenha) and family. I love my bike. In the meantime, I’d love to see some decent snow on those trails so that I might snowshoe. Yoga is something I love practicing too and I let that slide when I was dealing with the severe bruising on my leg after my heart procedure. It’s something my wee girl and I love to do together. I also stopped the little plank and wall-sit streak I was doing alongside my son. The health issues certainly interrupted the fun I was having so time to get back to business.

Speaking of health, I’m still keeping close tabs on blood sugar and blood pressure levels in order to keep diabetic retinopathy halted in its tracks. While not to the proliferative stages, it has been worsening and was quite severe at my last visit. I see the specialist tomorrow and will go from there.

I adore being a Mom and I am blessed to be able to work from home which makes balancing motherhood with career a little bit easier. I’ll be volunteering at my daughter’s school a little bit and will continue to walk her back and forth to kindergarten each day. Hopefully her brother will join us from time-to-time. The trend our family started in 2015 was to have more unplugged times when the weather is too miserable for outdoor activity and that includes playing games, crafts, and, my favourite, colouring. It’s all about connecting to one another rather than the internet. That will continue this year.

When it comes to what’s going on with my work 2016 is going to be an interesting. Professional growth is the theme here. I’m close to being finished with the manuscript for that third cookbook. It has taken so long and there has been one hiccup after another but I’m plugging away. I was stuck for a bit and loathing the process. Think of my being at the point equivalent to the 35K mark of a marathon. Once a book is turned in I’m usually ready to jump into the next one—I hope to be sharing a proposal and discussing contracts by October.  I’ve also been seeking more assignments as a freelance writer and I will be studying towards earning the Editors’ Association of Canada’s various professional certifications.

Creativity is going to be back in the forefront this year. Yesterday I replaced my beloved camera that ceased working at Cyprus Lake last summer. I chose what is referred to as a bridge camera because it is weather resistant and that will be useful on our rainy camping trips.. I’ll be hacking around with that as well as my usual pursuits such as drawing, knitting, sewing, and reading.  It’s part of my plan to create bonding experiences with the children and Bryan plus redirect stress.

At the end of 2015 I started purging the contents of drawers, closets, toy boxes, cupboards, my office cabinets, the basement, and the pantry. Bryan started doing the same with the shed and backyard just before Christmas. I want to continue along those lines and get rid of the clutter. There are still unpacked boxes in the basement from our move in 2007 so it’s high time to see what has been forgotten in the cellar of this old place.

Bryan, the children, and I have yet to have a good discussion about our plans for vacation time. There has been the odd mention of another bike-packing trip in Quebec or some wilderness canoe tripping. I’d love to backpack again but my little girl can’t put in the kilometres for more than a day hike just yet. At the dinner table on New Year’s Eve we were chatting about what we did last summer and mentioned another visit to Santa’s Village. Our five year old piped up and said “I want to go to Cyprus again! Can we go there first?” So perhaps we will do that. Whatever we decide, there will be tent time.

And… I may just learn to drive a car this year.

Basically my year is a relatively blank and open book. Whatever 2016 brings me there is one thing I do know… it will be a year filled with gratitude, happiness, and love. I wish the same for you.

Happy New Year!

Soon we will celebrate the beginning of 2016. There is a sense of renewal that comes with the dawning of a new year and and it’s tempting to resolve to make great changes especially when caught up in the energy of it all. Waiting in the wings, there is a multi-billion dollar diet industry that thrives on our want to better ourselves. Fad diets, quick-fix plans, and all the other tricks in the business of weight loss are designed to garner profits and create repeat customers. January is by far the most profitable time for such companies and one only has to look at this week’s sales flyers to see the plethora of offerings related to the business of New Year’s resolutions.

However, there is a saying… “Don’t make a resolution… make yourself!”

I stopped making New Year’s resolutions especially when it came to losing weight. I’ve always felt that this yearly tradition is a setup up for failure. For example, back in the days when I was morbidly obese I’d resolve that a certain year was going to be the one where I’d lose all of my weight. I’d start out strong with the latest diet plan that guaranteed success. More often than not the plan was flawed and the task was too daunting. By mid-February my umph was gone and I’d give up because it was just too hard. I’d hang my towel over the console of the treadmill and walk away. I saw it with many people at the gym this year. The gym was jam-packed during the month of January and a few weeks later crowds started to thin out. By the beginning of February things had died down quite a bit and by the end of February it was back to normal.

Why does this happen? My thoughts are because we choose resolutions that are too specific, too big, and too rigid and in doing so we set ourselves up for failure. Throwing in the towel often happens because the process is difficult or it’s taking too long and frustration wins out. It can become an “all or nothing” scenario. Sometimes it is a matter of pushing too hard, too soon, and burning out rather than making incremental and lasting change. Instead of focusing on how far we’ve come, we look at how much work we still need to do and that puts us in the wrong mindset for success.

The answer is easy… shift the focus. Change is very much a mind game. When I started to look at the days ahead differently, real change began to happen and there was a permanence to it. Instead of the typical New Year’s resolutions I adjusted my perspective and I found the results were amazing. In the process I lost close to 180 pounds and my lifestyle became dramatically different. Here’s what I did…

Rather than resolve to lose a huge amount of weight, I chose a few milestones that I wanted to complete. That first year was to go on backpacking trips and I accomplished that. I was morbidly obese so I knew I’d have to work up to backpacking. I started with short walks, then day hikes, then practice hikes with a pack. Next thing I knew I was hiking the rugged shores of the Bruce Peninsula. The weight was coming off and I felt better than I had in a very long time. Years that followed included activities like canoeing, cycling, bike-packing Le P’tit Train du Nord, running a half marathon, and all sorts of other fun adventures. Some of these milestones didn’t have set timelines but others had dates attached to them because of the need for registration or reservation as well as booking vacation time.

As I prepared for such activities everything else fell into place. I watched nutrition through moderation and mindful eating which helped to fuel my body properly. Not having a specific deadline lowered stress levels. This in turn reduced cortisol and other stress hormones which helped me to lose weight more easily. I trained so that I would be well prepared and not risk injury.

Accountability is a big motivator for me but I find a blanket statement like a that of a resolution just doesn’t cut it. My milestones, whether camping excursions, cycling trips, or running events, are what keep me accountable. Even those times when I’ve had to bail on an event, like this year when my heart had other ideas, I kept the next milestone in the back of my mind and did what I could to work towards that.

In a few days I will share some of my plans for the coming year and I would love to hear what milestones you have in mind for yourself.

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