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Archive for the ‘running’ Category

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 not running right now and will need a complete restart. 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, something had to go on the backburner. It’s all good though. The big thing is that I am not going to beat myself up for any of this. It’s where life is at now is by no means a permanent thing—I’ll be back to running soon enough.

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.

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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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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.

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I chose last Saturday for my return to running because it was the anniversary of when I started a Couch to 5K program to train for my first race (2011). It felt amazing to run after being off pretty much since summer, even though the reality is that I have to rebuild my running base from the beginning again. As much as my lacing up again is good news, it isn’t all of the news I have to write about today. In my last post I mentioned that I had something to share about an opportunity to make a difference that is tied in with a Spring Race.

Back in mid-October I wrote a blog entry that illustrated how very important it is for people, especially women, to advocate for health care when it comes to matters of the heart. I often share the link on twitter and, a few days after, I received a direct twitter message from Seanna at Running Well. She told me how moved she was by my experience at the hospital and asked me if I would consider being a Run Ambassador for a new running event being held alongside the Becel Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart on June 5, 2016. It is a Run/Walk along the Gardiner Expressway in downtown Toronto. As far as I know this is the only run to ever be held on this particular street. There are 5K and 10K runs as well as a 5K walk. Even better, it’s a family friendly event.
I didn’t even have to think about it.

YES!

RFH_F16_Ambassador_Facebook_1200x1200_v1I didn’t take this decision lightly as I have a tough road ahead when it comes to rebuilding my fitness. There are so many positive reasons to take this on that saying “no” was not an option. This run is for an organization that is close to my heart because I am a survivor and because of my family’s history with heart disease. I would love to have my story inspire more people to take the first step and do something to change their lives. While I hope that I have been able to do that already, I’m always game for other opportunities to help people find their fit side. Of course there is that message that my experiences send about the need for all of us to be proactive in our own health care whether that be with heart disease, diabetes, or any other health challenges we face. Running has been such a big part of my healthier life and being able to share that motivates me to keep moving forward.

I will be running the 10K. My goal is to run strong so I’m starting with a 5K program and then I will jump into a 10K program once my 5K base is solid. With the event being in late Spring it gives ample time to do this well.

It is my hope that people will choose to train alongside me using social media. I would love to have you share your efforts with me too because I find it very inspiring. You will find me on twitter and instagram as @innerpossible plus on DailyMile. I will be posting all of the fit things I am doing to work back up to the 10K distance and using the hashtags #RideforHeart, #CreateSurvivors, and #RunforHeart. You may also want to follow @TheHSF on twitter, Instagram, and Periscope.

If you’ve never run before, seriously consider this race as your first event. Running is a wonderful way to get active and events, such as this one, are fun. If you decide to do this, please send me a note. I would love to offer my support and encouragement. If I can do this, you can too!

Registration for the event opens December 3rd, however, I will be sharing a discount code soon. Stay tuned!

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A week ago I completed my Cardiolite Exercise Test at the cardiology lab. My heart rate was a little elevated so I reached the 85% of max a little sooner than I usually do. No worries… it stands to reason after having two interventions in as many months, not to mention running on a 14% incline is nothing to sneeze at.

On the weekend things took an interesting turn. On Halloween I was taken to the ER at Hamilton General with similar symptoms as before when I had a 90% blockage. Let me say that the ER is a very strange and unusual place on Halloween especially when there is a full moon and a time change causing the nurses to have to work 13-hour shifts amidst the craziness. On Sunday I was transferred to the cardiac ward and scheduled for an angiogram to see what was causing symptoms that the doctors believed to be unstable angina. At first I shrugged off the discomfort and figured it was from running so soon after coronary intervention.

This brings us to Monday evening post-angio. There was nothing wrong from a cardiac perspective and anxiety had also been ruled out as well. The two places where I have stents are “widely patent” which in layman’s terms means that they are clear and blood flow is really good. The one bit of scarring that has caused a blockage they can’t do anything about is “well collateralized” which means I have new arteries handling the blood flow. That’s a good thing. So what was causing this pain? It turns out, or so we suspect, that I was experiencing a well-known side-effect to a blood thinning medication called Brilinta (ticagrelor) although there was some differences of opinion between my doctors. I started on this medication three weeks prior by the same doctor who I ended up reporting because he didn’t take my heart condition seriously. This certainly didn’t help my confidence levels that the medicine was the right one for me. On Tuesday morning I discontinued the Brilinta against the wishes of the doctor on the cardiac floor at Hamilton General. Instead I took a loading dose of the blood thinner that I was on up until early October. With that, the pain has completely vanished and I feel better than I have in months.

Once again there were issues with having to be aware of my condition and voice concerns to a doctor from the cardiac ward. He was going to prescribe a medication to help with the symptoms rather than remove the medication that was triggering the issue. The thing is what he wanted me to take lowers heart rate considerably. As a runner, my resting HR already sits around 50 bpm and if it were to be lowered further that could be actually a bit dangerous. When I spoke up the doctor realized his mistake and agreed. This puts me back at the realization that so many people would have just done what the doctor said without question. Being educated about my disease and advocating for myself has proven to be such a vital thing.

I came home after that, on Tuesday, and called my cardiologist, Dr. J.’s office. His assistant spoke to him about my refusal to take the Brilinta, my return to the other blood thinner, as well as the results of my Cardiolite Exercise Test. Yesterday morning when I was having tea with a dear friend I got that call that he felt going off the Brilinta was a wise choice. She also relayed that I had done very well on the treadmill, my heart is stable and I can resume running, cycling and most things at the gym in a few weeks. The only reason I can’t return immediately is that they did the angio on Monday via my femoral artery and I need a bit of time to heal. I can also resume weight training in late November or early December.

I have a few tidbits of running news.

I’ve signed up for the 5K distance at the Mercedes 10K race in Oakville on April 24, 2016. My husband Bryan will be running the 10K and it we will so some of our weekday runs together.

The other bit of running news is wonderful and it involves another Spring race… but I can’t share the details just yet. As soon as I am able to make things public I’ll post my news. What I can say is that a tremendous and exciting opportunity to make a difference has sprung out of the heart health hurdles I’ve had to jump these past months. I’m going to take this wee bit of down time to make a realistic training plan with the mind and there may be some shoe shopping… oh and my running playlist could use an update.

It’s all part of moving forward with strength, courage, and strong spirit… i mua.

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There is a Hawaiian saying that I love… i mua (pronouced ee mooh-ah). It means to go forward with strength, courage, and strong spirit.

I wish that for all of you.

Today is about moving forward for me as well.

I finally have a plan of action from my cardiologist. Dr. J.’s patient coordinator, K., and I have worked out a plan after several calls and emails back and forth. He doesn’t want to see me before I do another Cardiolite Exercise Test which will happen two weeks from now. It means I have to get up at the crack of stupid but what runner doesn’t do that—I’ll be running and even if it is only for a test, I’ll embrace every wonderful moment!

This time around, Dr. J. doesn’t want to consult with me after and instead he’ll let K. know if I can start running and going to the gym again. She said she’ll just wait for my call after the test but to give her 24 hours—apparently I have a bit of a reputation as the exuberant runner who calls the very next morning for results. Even though we both feel that I can be back to regular activities by early November Dr. J. just wants to be thorough given my history of surprises. The treadmill test with the cardiolite scans will show what is going on under the duress of exercise. It uses something called the Bruce Protocol which increases speed and elevation in timed increments. Generally it reaches an intensity that is above my norm. Think of a really steep hill that never ends and then, as you go higher, a grizzly bear starts to chase you so you have to run all out. It’s difficult but wonderful because it means I get to run even if it is for about ten to twelve minutes. From this testing the technicians and doctor can see many aspects of my heart function before, during and after the exertion.

I already have a follow-up echocardiogram and consult booked for December because of what transpired in August and we decided that I should continue with that appointment. I’m not at all surprised that Dr. J. doesn’t need to see me before then. I suspect this is because he knows that I am a very proactive patient that will do what’s best for my health by taking the necessary steps if an issue arises.

The best part is that if everything goes well I will be back to running in the next two to three weeks!

Yes… i mua seems to be the most fitting of sayings—moving forward with grace. 

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