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Archive for March, 2012

Did I mention that I dislike shopping? Nothing has changed. I decided, rather than realize my worst nightmare by braving the mall, to head to a local ladies store that specializes in plus-sized clothing.

When I walked in I grabbed a few dresses off the rack and was heading towards the change room when a kind and very bubbly staff member intercepted me. She said she’d take the items back for me so I didn’t have to carry them while I looked around. Then, after taking a quick glance at my shape, told me that they were much too large for me. The nice lady went and fetched more appropriate sizes and whisked them off to the dressing rooms. Upon her return, she spoke to me about what kind of dress I was looking for.

She showed me a trendier dress with an off-white and gray to black pattern that reminded me a little bit of the tie-dying I did as teenager, without all the wild colors. In the centre of the chest was a black section of fabric in a diamond shape; embellished with sequins reminiscent of gemstones. I liked the fabric but I wasn’t sure about the gathering that leads to the decoration… right between my breasts. My girls are big enough without drawing attention there. I don’t know if it was the way I looked at the dress with horror or the pallor of my skin that tipped her off but she said, “Trust me; this will look perfect on you.

I won’t even get into a discussion about how I feel when the words “trust me” are uttered. I was positive that this was not the dress for me. I reluctantly headed into the dressing room where I now had ten frocks to try on. “Let’s get this over with” I thought with a grimace. I started with my favorite; well at least it was my favorite on the mannequin in the store—a purple dress with ruching and three-quarter length sleeves. Sigh. This was definitely not the dress for me. It clung in all the wrong places. Next was one with a white background, an intricate black pattern, and a red block along the bottom section. I put it on and it made me look old. Not that I am a spring chicken but it was a bit matronly.

My frustration levels were rising when the oh-so-cheery clerk came back to see if I needed any help. She asked if I had tried on the dress that she thought was the one for me. I politely said “no” as I really didn’t have any intention of trying it on. Next, I put on the tummy-tuck dress that is apparently supposed to make you look an inch smaller. I loved this one on the website, not so much in person. I don’t have enough of a derriere to make the skirt hang right. Compression in running pants is a good thing, in a plus-sized dress, not flattering at all. This was followed by several other dresses. Too big. Too clingy. Too shiny. Too long. Too expensive. Too short. I was out of dresses, except for one.

By this time I was feeling pretty dejected about the whole experience. Screw it! I decided to try on the dress that the sales clerk had been trying to talk me into. Fabric feels nice. This makes my silhouette look good. It hangs right. It didn’t make my breasts look any bigger, however, it didn’t make them look any smaller either. The length was perfect. The neckline was good.  Hmmm. The oh-so-cheery store clerk was right… this dress looked awesome on me and check out my legs!

I bought the garment and then proceeded across the parking lot to the shoe store. Luck would have it that I found a great pair of shoes to go with the new dress. A low heeled pair of open-toed, sling backs that would look amazing with the dress. They fit nice and were comfortable and they were even on sale. I paid for them and sent Bryan a text to come pick me up with coffee from Tim Hortons to soothe me.

So I did it. I bought a dress and it isn’t even a solid colour. I bought shoes with a heel… and I made it through the ordeal relatively unscathed. Bryan thinks it makes me look “sexy”, so that’s a plus. My next adventure… maybe hair and make-up or maybe I’ll go hiking instead.

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me... in a dress

As I went through my closet and dresser this morning I came to the realization that I don’t ever dress up or at least not very often. I tried to rack my brain and think of the last time I dressed up for anything. June 4, 2010. Almost 2 years have past and Kaia is practically 22-months old. Shocking, isn’t it? I was 38 weeks pregnant and had a sudden craving for Steak Oscar so I made Bryan take me to The Keg and I, for some reason, decided to wear a dress. When we arrived home he took a photo of me which is actually one of the few photos I really like of myself.

That sleeveless dress and shrug still hang in my closet. I figured that they’d still fit, after all I didn’t gain very much weight when I was pregnant. The reality of it is, I need to donate the set to charity, it hangs off of me. Grrr… that means I need to go to the mall! Why me?

I hate dress shopping or any shopping for that matter, but it is a necessary evil. I have events coming up that require me to embrace my feminine side and not in cute running clothes with pink accents. I considered putting it off until next weekend, but the stores are closed for Good Friday, Saturday is Tobias’ 11th birthday gathering, and the stores are closed Sunday. Monday, Bryan leaves for Quebec and will be gone until late Friday. So, today and tomorrow are the only opportunities because I don’t want to be dealing with a toddler in the change room.

I usually shop for clothing at MEC, The Running Room, or REI. Nine times out of ten I do it online. My style yo-yos between camp mate and running girl. At home you’ll catch me in jeans and t-shirts. I have about 15 different colors in the same style of t-shirt. All of my jeans are black or some shade of charcoal. I have some cute skorts that I wear with… can you guess? T-shirts! Most of what I own is baggy except for my running garb. Even my hiking pants are several sizes too big now. My son refers to me as “The Baggy Pant Princess” from time-to-time.

So… with trepidation… off I go to find a dress or two. I probably need shoes as well.

I’ll report back later, if I make it through the ordeal.

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Let’s face facts; we have all been judgmental at one time or another. Today’s post is about a lady who I met when I went to my recent appointment at the ophthalmologist’s office. Her name is Liz.

Liz and another lady were having problems accessing the internet on the computer provided for waiting patients. They thought the wifi was down and I spoke up to say that I had no issues with using the connection on my BlackBerry, so it must have been the machine itself.

Liz and I chatted a bit while we waited. She asked if I believed in God and I said yes, because I do believe in a higher power. My beliefs are complex so I didn’t go on to explain—there wasn’t enough time and I really didn’t know her. I had mentioned what I do and given her my card. I always hand out my card because you never know who is going to need a graphic or website designer. She gave me her contact information and the next day I wrote her about the projects she wanted done.

She replied with an email full of Biblical reference and said “I need someone to set up my website. I also need someone to make me a flyer and business cards.” She went on to say “I will be in touch (Lord willing) and under His timing. But I just know he introduced me to you yesterday. I will study all the information on your website, your books etc. and I have faith that soon I will be in touch again!” Throughout the email she made it clear that she was choosing my business because of what she assumed I believed.

Because I feel that having integrity is extremely important, I wrote her back and explained my beliefs much the way I did in the post titled my thoughts on spirituality. I thought it the just and fair thing to do as she was placing so much of her decision on her perception of my beliefs rather than my talent and experience. It was also my fault for even responding to her query about my spiritual leanings in the first place and I should have been more clear at the time. I felt, by sending this reply, that I would be respected for my honesty.

The response from this woman, who happens to be in training to be a “Biblical Counsellor” was a shock to me. “I mentioned in my email Laurie that as GOD leads me I would contact you to help me with some projects. I am saddened by this but yes our differing beliefs will end our connection.”  Hmm… apparently I am not spiritual enough. I wonder if she only buys fuel from gas stations run by Christians she deems worthy enough. Or if she ensures the produce she buys from the grocery store was grown, picked, shipped, and sold by people who believe the same as she does. I hope the dairy farmer that milked the cow was worthy. Were the jeans she was wearing sewn by a “true” Christian? I apologize for my sarcasm but I found it insulting that she made the decision based on my faith; that even though she found my work “quite beautiful” I am not worthy enough to be her designer. She could have merely just said that I wasn’t the designer for her rather than put down what I believe in. It certainly lacked feeling or etiquette, in my opinion.

Several words come to mind, and they weren’t exactly complimentary. The most prominent one was prejudice and the second judgment. Because I do not hold the same spirituality that she does, that was the end of it. I was raised as a Christian and I was always taught to be accepting of all people despite our differences. To me, this was akin her judging me for the color of my skin or the shape of my body or my race. I am appalled.

This reminds me of one of the many bible quotes that my Mom taught me when I would sit on the stairs reading. I would have been about five years old and the quote was about acceptance. It was in Romans 15:7 “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you.” Liz, it seems, has clearly made up her mind and she certainly wasn’t accepting. I teach my children that we should understand and be accepting of people who may have different ideas than we do. Really, aren’t we all on similar journeys in this world?

I was also taught to never speak of religion or politics. This is one of those instances where, perhaps, I should have listened to my Mother.

I hope, that in reading this story, it will remind you to be accepting of others. With that, I leave you these words or inspiration.

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Nothing brings down walls as surely as acceptance.”
~ Deepak Chopra

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motivation

It seems that I have been bit by the Pinterest bug. It’s an absolutely fun way to explore on the internet while sipping coffee at 5 am as I start my day. And it seems to pass the time quickly… a little too quickly. Curse you Pinterest.

It isn’t all a time-waster. One benefit I’ve found that it is also great for motivation. In fact, I have an entire board dedicated to things that I find spur me forward with running and being the healthiest version of myself that I can be.

Here is the link to what I call “my wall of motivation”. Each morning I try to post a few more things that I find inspiring. You might even want to follow mine. Every time I dread the treadmill or feel like I want to put off my workout session until “tomorrow”, I take a look at my board and I am reminded that I can do this—that I want and need to be active. . It brings me that bit of encouragement that I need to make things happen. I always feel better after a run or workout and the positive reinforcements from my motivation board really help get me there.

If you use a Pinterest board to motivate and inspire you to reach or maintain your fitness goals, please share it in the comments section. I’d love to see it.

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am I a runner?

“So, I am pondering something this morning. What is the difference between a runner and a jogger? Am I a runner because I am working towards the goal of two races and maybe a third? Or am I a jogger because I have a slow pace? Am I a runner because I don’t do this just for health and I am always trying to increase my pace, distance, and endurance? Or am I a jogger because I try to keep my heart rate in a zone where I can still talk? Am I a runner because this is my passion? Is there really a difference?”

I was in deep thought about running vs jogging after seeing a really negative ad that was run a few years ago by Pearl Izumi. I’m really not sure what their marketing people were doing when they approved this but I think it is definitely a branding blunder to alienate part of your target market by being insulting. This morning, while waiting for the coffee to brew, I put a similar running vs jogging blurb out there for my Facebook friends. Many of my friends are runners. Some are walkers. Others are backpackers and paddlers. Here are a few of the comments that were made.

“Apparently no difference other then the fact that ‘running’ is the proper term. Ask someone that has been running for many years if they want to go for a jog and they will quickly correct you.” ~ Steve

“So I guess it’s not the pace but the intent; the urge to just, -go, that separates them.” ~ Cindy

“In the Running Room clinics you are told to put jogging out of your vocabulary. You are a RUNNER no matter what pace you run at.” ~ Christine

And my favorite…

“Well, jogging is running at a slower pace (which of course, is a relative term). So, therefore, no matter what, you are a runner!” ~ Karen

I also looked at some articles that dealt with the same debate…

Elite vs Elitist

Difference Between A Runner And A Jogger

Are You A Runner Or A Jogger?

I Am Not A Jogger

And finally, my feelings on the subject…

I run on my treadmill, at the indoor track, and on the trail.
I run solo, I run with family and friends.
I push my limits beyond my own expectations.
I am competitive, if only with myself.
I get excited with each PR.
Every run I finish is a new beginning.

I AM a runner.

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baby girl and I

I am a Mom. I am in love. I believe in myself. I am a positive thinker. I enjoy being fit. I am devoted. I am inspired by myself and others. I am courageous. I am energetic. I show determination. I am passionate about everything I do. I am fearless. I have tenacity. I am a fighter. I am strong. I have overcome great obstacles. I am open. I focus on being healthy. I am loved. I have fun. I am committed. I am an athlete. I share my motivation. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am full of possibility. I feel happy. I am disciplined. I triumph. I am complex. I believe in others. I am uniquely me. I do what is necessary. I exhibit excellence. I am a good role model. I have fun being active. I am a good neighbor. I am giving. I care. I am ambitious. I can achieve anything I want. I am ferocious. I love to be challenged. I am driven. I can do the impossible. I have empathy. I am the stubborn one. I am loving. I love my family enough to love myself first. I am creative. I reflect on the gifts I have. I am outdoorsy. I am a tomboy. I can be girly when I want to be. I finish what I start. I am cheerful no matter what life throws at me. I can find the silver lining—always. I strive for a healthier me. I see the wonder in the world. I believe in being silly sometimes. I am content. I am beautiful. I have a sense of humor. I am intelligent. I am a spiritual being. I hug trees. I believe in karma. I love life. I am awesome…

and…

I am the me I’ve always wanted to be!

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The past week I’ve been thinking about my first 5K race and I’ve been somewhat nervous about the prospect. You see, even though I have been training since we made the dreadmill part of our living space in late November, I had never run more than 4.05 km at one time. Distance-wise, if you counted my warm-up and cool-down it was 5 km but that just isn’t going to cut it on race day. I want to cross that finish line having run 5 km even if I have to do it as 10s and 1s (for you non-runners this means you run for 10 minutes and walk for 1, repeating until the finish line). There has been a part of me yearning to conquer the longer distance.

spring is almost here

The weather here in Southern Ontario has been unseasonably gorgeous. Normally March is a combination of everything from sleet to rain and high winds. Saturday saw highs of 18°C. The spring flowers have started to pop up, even. Saturday was a rest day from running so Bryan, Tobias, Kaia and I went for a bike ride. Bryan brought the GPS and we mapped out a route that would allow me to do a 5 K run on the trail sometime in the near future. Perfect. I cut my bike ride short to take the baby home and because I wanted to make sure I had enough energy for a run on Sunday.

The forecast indicated thunderstorms so we planned that we would run at the track if it appeared like the weatherman was correct or we’d run on the trail if it was nice out. You see, I had already made up my mind that I was going to attempt the distance this week and I didn’t want to reach this milestone on a treadmill. I got up early on Sunday filled with anticipation for the day. It was a very foggy morning but by 10 am it was turning into a gorgeous one, with sun and a little bit of variable cloudiness. The trail, it was. I was excited and a little apprehensive.

We walked from the house which takes us to a workout centre and a trail that runs to Gilkison Flats along the picturesque Grand River. The spot we chose is 1.6 km from our front door and is very close to Brant’s Crossing. I would run from there to two trail posts at the bottom of a hill. There is a pond and a little viewing deck and this is exactly 2.59 km from the little workout centre. A fellow runner and her son, my son’s good friend, met us there. I told the rest of the group to go ahead and run; I’d meet them back there when I was done. After all, we have much different paces.

I started the chrono and interval features on my very girly Timex Ironman and took off like a tortoise over the bridge that crosses the Grand River. I ran. It was so beautiful outside and I was happy to be out here enjoying the day. I was about three quarters of the way to my turnaround spot when I passed Bryan pushing the baby in the jogging stroller. He’s fast and was already on his way back. This was the toughest part of the run for me, as it always is. I start to feel tired and my mind tried to tell me that I should just call it quits. I don’t listen to that negative little voice—I push through. One thing I’ve learned is that I can go beyond that spot where I want to throw in the towel and complete what I’ve started. I really didn’t have a choice this morning because it wasn’t like running on the oval track or treadmill—I had to get back to the house.

Tobias and his little friend approached and as the boys passed me, my darling son gave me a high-five! Funny how one simple little gesture picked up my spirits and spurred me forward. Thanks Tobias. Then I passed another runner who warned me about two big dogs on the trail ahead. As they headed back, I ran to my spot. The solitude was great. The birds were chirping so loud I could hear them over the music playing through my earphones and their songs were even louder during the break between tracks. I took one earpiece out and hung it from my shirt, turned around, and started running back.

At this point I had run 3 sets of 10s and 1s. I started a fourth and got about 5 minutes into it when I felt I should have some carbohydrate. I had forgotten the test strips for my blood glucose meter but I also know my body pretty well and how it reacts to this level of activity. I popped two ClifBloks and drank a little water. I had to walk to do this because I am not coordinated enough to run and drink at the same time. I wondered if I could manage enough running to get back to the start. I gave myself the “suck it up buttercup” speech and started running again. As I was starting the last running set, I saw Bryan. He had run back with the baby to greet me. He gave me some encouragement and I told him to head back to the start because I’d be there soon.

dailymile.com entry

As I crossed the bridge again I stopped the chornograph. 50:30! I asked Bryan what the distance was because in my excitement I couldn’t remember. 5.18 km. Not only had I met my goal, I had exceeded it and I did it in the time I had originally chosen as my goal back on that cold November day that we set up the dreadmill in the alcove beside the living room.

There are forty days left until my first 5K race and I have attained my milestone a full month before I had expected I would. Even with a three week break I had managed what I thought was impossible a mere 4 or 5 months ago. I started out knowing that running was necessary for health and fitness, after all, my life depended on making fitness a habit. Then I simply did what was possible. Now I realize that I am actually doing what I had originally thought was impossible.

I did it! I really did it! I ran 5K!

And you know what? It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. Sure it’s has been a challenge but when I changed the mindset, everything else changed too. I’ve changed. I’ve grown as a runner and as a person. Running has taught me that the only thing that holds us back is what we believe. If you believe you can, you will. Plain and simple. It’s that easy.

Have a healthy week and b(e) positive!

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