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Archive for the ‘camping’ Category

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!

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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!

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The new year is well under way and everyone in our family is back to the typical routines; school, work, and play. This morning the house was unusually quiet giving me the perfect opportunity to share my plans for 2014 with you.

It is always tempting with the promise and energy that comes with ringing in a new year to make the typical resolutions but I’ve learned over the years that being goal-oriented throughout the year works so much better for me. My plans are not entirely unlike what they have been in past years and I’ve already alluded to some of them over the last month.

"gotcha, Mom"

“gotcha, Mom”

Tobias will be 13 this year. Egads! I will be Mom to a teenager. It’s so hard for me to believe that the little guy in this photo has grown so quickly. It seems like yesterday that he was drenching me with that water gun. Kaia will turn 4 and she’ll be starting school in the Fall. That went fast too!  I enjoy motherhood immensely and I love passing on wisdom and life skills to my darlings. I am always learning new things from my children too. I believe that being able to learn from the those around me also makes me a good teacher. We’ll be participating in loads of outside stuff with the kids including the usual running, hiking, cycling, and camping.

I’m working towards running the Mississauga Marathon. I am running the half distance in that race as well and my intention is to knock a great deal off last year’s pace (21 minutes to be exact). Then, three weeks later, I will run the 25K at the arduous Sulphur Springs event. 25K will be a new personal distance record for me and my goal is simply to finish with a smile. Of course, there is also the race ambassador role that I have taken on—Digital Champion with CRS for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K. I’m having lots of fun with that and can’t wait until race day on April 13th, 2014. It is wonderful to be involved with such a great group of runners and the support from the other Digital Champions has been incredible.

I’ve started boxing and kick-boxing inspired workouts for cross-training and Bryan suggested that I could use a heavy bag as part of my workouts. I don’t want to be in the basement as the space is uninspiring, to say the least, so he suggested setting up a little training area in our backyard once things dry up in the late Spring. This way Kaia could play in the fresh air while I pound it out. I did a bit of yoga out there last summer and it was wonderful. We’ve also been talking about ropes and tires and other things that could be used outside to add some intensity to our training.

Living a healthy lifestyle which includes being active and eating a whole foods based diet will continue to be a big part of our lives. Being as healthy as we can is important to Bryan and I. We also strive to continue being positive role models for our children. This isn’t just about physical health but about the mind and the spirit too.  We make an effort to unplug the whole family from electronics and spend time together without that sort of distraction. 2014 will be no different in that regard. Speaking of which, we will be camping again this year. Last year we invested in bike-packing equipment and camped along Le P’tit Train du Nord in Quebec. The trip was a bit of an adventure but we learned so much from it and will return that region to explore some more. It will be interesting this year because Kaia will be on a Trail-A-Bike rather than in a child trailer. With that in mind, we will plan shorter days. We are also going to be camping and cycling with our dear friends Sandi and Phil as well as their son Tyrel. Funny I’ve known Sandi for decades and we have lived together but never camped together. We even have a spooky Halloween camping adventure planned.

I will be taking that climbing lesson and belay certification that I had planned for my last birthday. Sadly I had to cancel it because I broke my toes a few weeks before the date. I was much more disappointed than I expected to be. I’m considering a few other activities that I swore I’d never do, including zip lining. Did I mention that I am utterly terrified of gravity? Time to get over that!

From a business perspective, I finally closed GJ Studios and started a new company called Outdoor Adventure Press. The new identity suits the direction I am headed in career wise. I’m currently finishing up the manuscript for my third camping related cookbook after having to extend the project when my Mom passed away. It should hit shelves in early 2015 and I will be happy to share it with the world. The other two books continue to be fairly popular titles in their genre. I’m also launching a new outdoorsy related project that has an emphasis on children and families. This has been in the works for some time but writing the book took more time than anticipated. I will continue my freelance writing for outdoor publications and there will also be a few running related articles as the year progresses.

I’m curious to see what else this year has in store for my family and me. I love the fact that a new year is like a blank book just waiting for the pages to fill and the story to unfold.

Hello 2014!

So, tell me, what are your plans for this year?

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