Friday, February 28, 2014

The post about many thanks, therapy and Pandora's box

inspirational-quotes-be-strong-because-things-will-get-better.jpg (600×399)
Some words of wisdom.

  • I am speechless. I don't even know where to start except to say, thank you all for your lovely comments, emails, Facebook messages, Tweets, Instagram comments. I am truly overwhelmed by your outpouring of support. As much as I'd like to thank you each individually, I am too emotional to do that. But please know that there is nothing more helpful for me right now than to know that so many people care about me. I appreciate you all.
  • I have thought long and hard about my upcoming therapy. Although I'm not going to share anything deeply personal, I am going to be sharing my experiences in therapy with you. If it can help someone else, it's worth it. My first session is March 5th. 
  • When I was obese, I used to think that my life would be perfect if I could lose weight. How very incorrect that statement is. I will admit, my life is better. I can do lots of things I never dreamed of doing when I was overweight.  But mentally, it's not so cut and dry. I always heard about self  image issues after weight loss, I just never imagined they would be so debilitating. 
  • I had a great talk with my supervisor on Thursday morning. He was so awesome and so supportive. Not only is my depression affecting my family, but it's also affecting my clients. I know that I am not as driven at my job right now as I normally am, and that's not okay. My clients depend on me. That was another reason why I knew I had to take action and work on healing. People count on me.
  • I'm not gonna lie. I am scared. Therapy is going to open Pandora's box. There is a lot of issues from my past that I have never dealt with. I know it will be cleansing and freeing in the end, but getting to that point will be hard. 
  • I'm keeping this post short. I am emotionally drained. This week has been harrowing to say the least. But I  feel more hopeful now than I have in a long time. I've been down this road before and I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Just knowing that I have taken the first few steps on my journey to get there has already lightened the heaviness of my heart a tiny bit. That's still moving forward, right? Have a great weekend:)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The post about some very personal stuff that's hard to write about

Left: Around 300 pounds.
Right: Around 157 pounds.
And yeah, that's a sweat mark in my pit. Made me anxious to have my picture taken.

  • This is going to be a difficult post for me to write. I have been soul searching this week. Trying to figure out who I am. Where I fit in. I have finally had to admit some things to myself and my husband that I have been bottling up for months. I am depressed. Again. I was diagnosed with depression when I was in university in the mid '90's. I took anti-depressants for a couple of years and was able to eventually stop taking them. This happened following a traumatic event in  my life. I also had to attend counselling for six months. I remember taking them again for a short time around 2004 (due to my mother's death), but I haven't been on anything since. 
  • I had a panic attack during my long run on Sunday and I felt like my chest was tight and my throat was closing up. I was able to control it, but it did scare me. And although I completed the run, I felt defeated. 
  • I can't sleep at night. Although I wake up super early for long runs 3 days a week, I wake up at 5 am regardless of what day it is. That is because I am anxious. My anxiety sometimes stays with me all day long. The anxiety prevents me from eating proper meals too. Eating enough to keep fueled during my training has been a struggle. I have never had to force myself to eat in my life. And even clients have commented that I am not eating much.
  • Then there is the daily battle I have with my self image. I know that everyone around me thinks I look great. There is usually one time a day where I think I look good. But that normally goes away the minute I leave my house. All day I am consumed with the negative thoughts of what I picture myself to look like in my head. You see that photo above left? I found it yesterday while looking through some old pictures and it was hard for me to see. I don't know if you've noticed that I don't often share pictures of myself sideways. That is because I don't like the way I look from the side. In my mind I have back fat, and a protruding stomach. 
  • I know these thoughts are unfounded, but I have lived in a morbidly obese body the majority of my life. It's hard for me to forget and let go of how I looked for most of my life.  I tried to explain this to my husband today and the best I could come up with was that although I felt physically bad when I was obese, I was emotionally comfortable in that body because it was all I had ever known. My new body is very foreign to me. And I can't shake the images of my formerly obese self. I'm not used to my smaller body. And although I fit easily into size 8 clothing, I still picture myself as being obese most of the time. 
  • I realized today that I haven't been happy in a real long time. I actually can't remember the last time I was happy. I know that depression started to creep back into my life in the fall after I broke my ankle. I lost a lot of confidence as a runner. I still haven't regained the confidence I used to have. I seem to be struggling a lot with my runs lately. I have 4.5 weeks until I run the Bay and I'm already super anxious about it. 
  • I was trying to explain to my husband that it doesn't matter how much people tell me I look good, I can't accept that compliment in my head. I always thank them for their kind words, but I secretly question their sincerity. Again, very unjustified.  No rhyme or reason for me to think that everyone around me is disingenuous. 
  • So now what? I can't keep going on like this. I am at a pretty big low in my life. And I need to work on myself. Tomorrow morning I'm going to make an appointment to see my doctor to discuss medication and I am going to get myself into therapy. I haven't been in therapy for 17 years. It makes me anxious for sure. But the way I'm feeling is affecting my day to day life. It's going to start affecting my son. Maybe it already has. I know I'm not the fun mom I used to be. 
  • I am also going to take a bit of a social media break. I'm still going to write my blog three days a week and post it to my social media outlets, but I'm not going to be on Twitter very often and I may be quite absent from Instagram. I'll still try to keep some recipe and inspirational quotes going on my Facebook page, but I'm going to stay off of my personal home feed. I need to take some time to find myself and focus on my family. 
  • Thank you for all your on-going support. My blog family has always been such an amazing outlet for me and you are all so kind and generous with your compliments. Especially when I'm struggling with myself. Unless you have had body issues, it's hard to understand the thoughts I struggle with. My husband said this to me tonight: "Don't you feel amazing? This amazing thing you have done for our son and your health?" Absolutely!  But this is about my self image. How I feel inside. Emotionally. Not how I feel physically. Physically I feel great. Emotionally I feel devastated. I feel broken and damaged. I need to become the healthy, strong woman others see me as. Right now I feel like a fraud.  It's exhausting.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The post about a blurry weekend, 35K and a panic attack

The three styles I fretted over all week.

  • The last five days are a blur. I barely remember what happened. I know I worked. I know I ran a lot. I know I socialized on Saturday. I know I saw my in-laws. I know I did a lot of chores. And I know I got my bangs cut. 
  • I was at an impasse last week. Didn't know if I should keep my bangs long, cut them a little, or cut them above the eyebrow. I know, real life altering stuff. So I did what any rational woman would do. I posted the question to Twitter and Instagram. The overwhelming consensus was that I cut my bangs again. Then I asked about the straight across bang or the side bang. The side bang won out, but I chose the straight across in the end. Which is fine. It will grow and then I can move to the side sweep. Thank you to my girlfriend Elin for doing the honours and doing an awesome job:)

Before, using the Flowbee (not really), and after!
Yeah, I look rough. I had a pretty shit day.
Wore my Canada hoodie in support of team Canada:)

  • Thursday morning I was supposed to run 9 hill repeats. I ended up having to skip my Thursday morning run due to time issues.  I had to be at the chiropodist for 9am. My chiropodist appointment was a bust. I went back with all my results for x-rays, ultrasound and MRI for the Morton's Neuroma, and nothing can be done beyond what has already been done because all avenues have been exhausted and I am a unique case. He did tell me to wear my useless orthotics for extra support. There's no bullets or lumps on the orthotics, they are just plain inserts with an imprint where the lump on the bottom of my foot forms during long runs.
  • The chiropodist appointment didn't mean I could skip my run altogether. I ran my hills on Friday night, and wore the orthotics. Friday is normally my rest day, but I had to follow the schedule, so Friday night I hauled my ass out to the McMaster hill and did my 9 hill repeats. I was alone except for a stray student who walked to the lower parking lot and the shuttle bus driver that passed me several times. Well them and the deer that crossed the road in front of me. Pretty animals. And after running 9 hills and almost 10.5K, I got a nice big blister on the arch of my foot from the orthotics. Awesome!
  • So Saturday morning rolls around and it is beautiful out. Sunny and -3C.  Only 13 hours passed from doing my hill repeats and I went out for another run. I know, I didn't rest up enough. But it was a great run, albeit quite slippery. Although it was slow, I didn't fall on my ass.  And my feet got soaked. I ran through a lot of half frozen puddles. 
  • Saturday afternoon I went to meet up with a group of people who follow Dr. Poon's diet. It was nice to finally meet in person some people I chat with on Facebook.  It was a good time talking about struggles, recipes and just supporting each other. Everyone is at different stages in weight-loss and everyone has useful tips and experiences to share.
  • Today was my long run day. I headed out just after 8am. Hubby was up early watching Team Canada play against Sweden for Hockey Gold. We won of course. I can barely remember my run. My legs felt like lead, and my mind was wandering. I was thinking about a million things at once and for the first time ever, I had a panic attack. Not just one but two. It was the weirdest thing. I suddenly felt like my chest was tightening and I had to stop and breathe deeply so that I could catch my breath. The second one happened shortly after the first one and I had to stop and take deep breaths again. Such a strange sensation. It  happened about 8K into my run and I was able to complete my run without any issue.  But for those few moments, I felt so bizarre and a little helpless. I'm thankful the feeling passed. 
  • I'm exhausted. I ran almost 35K this past weekend, and I need to sleep. I have to be on the road at 7am tomorrow. It's a rest day running wise, but I have a full work day, including dinner with my dad in the evening. Wishing you all a wonderful beginning to the week:)

My runs from this weekend.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The post about Transformation Tuesday, loose skin and the big thaw

I do like the way my legs look in the skinny jeans bottom
right. Those jeans are too big for me now:(

  • Yesterday was Transformation Tuesday, like it is every Tuesday on the web. I have never partaken in this celebration before, so I thought I'd give it whirl this week. I got my collage shared on Jason 2.0's Facebook page and I got several new "likes" on my own Facebook page in the process. So, between that, encouraging some people on Dr. Poon's Facebook page and getting to see for myself how far I've come, I think it was a successful endeavour to undertake.
  • Yesterday I got a message from someone who suggested that I try to completely forget about the obese me. I know that she was just trying to be supportive and figured it would help me with my self esteem, but the truth is, I can ever forget who I was or where I started. Regardless of how I may have felt about myself then and still struggle with how I feel now, it's imperative that I remember what it was like to be morbidly obese. It's important that I remember how frustrating it was to shop for clothing, how unhealthy I felt, how slow and sluggish I was. And how much pain my body was in. It's true, I struggle with my self-esteem every single day. I always feel like I'm never good enough. I always feel like I can do better. But it's important to remember where I came from because I don't want to ever go back there. If I forget about the morbidly obese me, I may start to slip with my diet and my exercise. That can't happen because I refuse to regain any of the weight I've lost. 
  • On Monday I made some kick ass ribs in the slow cooker. I checked out Paleo rib recipes on-line and came across this one from George Bryant, The Civilized Caveman. It was not too shabby at all. Instead of the diced pineapple, I used 1/4 cup of 100% pure maple syrup. It was still good. I just threw the BBQ sauce in the crock pot with the ribs and 5 hours later, voila! The ribs were yummy and fall off the bone:) The recipe is here.
  • The three questions I get asked most are 1) how long it took me to lose the weight 2) do I have loose skin and 3) have I had surgery for the loose skin.  I have lost 153 pounds from my highest recorded weight of 310 pounds.  When I began my lifestyle change in August 2011, I weighed 297 pounds. It took me about 16.5 months to lose 132 pounds. I started Dr. Poon's diet in September 2011 at 286 pounds and lost 121 pounds in 15 months. That's a confusing bunch of numbers right? During the last year (while on maintenance), I have lost another 8 pounds bringing my current weight to 157 pounds. I am curvy and have pretty muscular legs. I'm never going to be "skinny", and I don't strive to be that way anyway. I want to be healthy.
  • I do have loose skin on my upper arms. I do not have issues with my abdominal area and I have not had surgery. Could I get a tummy tuck? Sure, it would smooth everything out and give me a perfectly flat and tight tummy. Perfection is over-rated and I can't afford that so I'm good. I'm not sure why I have been so lucky with my stomach. All I can think of is that running has contributed to this. When I first started losing weight, my abdomen was a hot mess. I never dreamed it would turn out as flat as it has. You use 4 abdominal muscles when you run. Maybe that really does have something to do with how well my stomach looks. I lost over 100 pounds 15 years ago. My stomach was not so flat then. I've had a baby since then and I'm much older (44 this year). My body is far from perfect and of course I notice all my flaws more than anyone else. I have not photographed my abdomen in a while. Since dropping 8 pounds, it has gotten a bit flabby. The skin takes some time to tighten up. I have noticed a difference in the past couple of months, and I will post new pictures after I join the gym in the spring. I'm looking forward to seeing how my body will change when I start strength training. You can see my old belly pictures here if you haven't already seen them.
  • I ran this morning and it was -3C! It felt strange to not have to wear double tights, double socks, and to only wear two layers on top. I ran 8K, and since the snow was in melt mode, there was a ton of slush to contend with. My feet were soaking wet, but I'll take it. The temps are getting warm which means spring is around the corner right? Wrong! Mild temps are only around for two more days (with a ton of rain), then we go back to the deep freeze. Everything will freeze up making running tricky once again. I'm sure we're only having a major thaw right now so that Mother Nature can dump more snow on us. I want to kick her right the crotch.
  • I sold my hubby's Around the Bay bib. Finally someone committed and gave me a down payment to hold it until I can transfer it after March 1st. I hate selling stuff on Kijiji. Just say'in...
  • On Monday I likely saw Tanya for the last time until she comes back from Stockholm this summer. My heart was heavy for sure and I feel a little empty right now. My only regular running partner is gone. Alone again naturally:(
  • I'm off to bed. I had an exhausting day and I have to run 9 hills tomorrow. I don't know what I'm gonna listen to. I finished the Wally Lamb book (and Elin, you were right, I hated the ending). So I suppose it's Classic Rock Q107! Till next time:)

My kick ass ribs:)

Monday, February 17, 2014

The post about Family Day, Wally Lamb and compression clothing

Luigi and I get ready for a run! Not really. It's too
cold for Luigi right now:(

  • I have been pretty self absorbed the past couple of weeks. With work implementing the new ThinkPads, I am on-line (actually doing work) most of every day. My eyes are going wonky. I am waaaaaaaay behind on blog reading and commenting. To all my blog friends, I apologize. I've also been a bit down in the dumps. I think it has everything to do with the weather. I am so done with winter it is not even funny. And I am a worrier. I worry a lot about stuff that likely doesn't even need to be given a second thought. But that's what I do.
  • This was a long weekend in Ontario and some other provinces. In Ontario, it's called Family Day. We didn't do a whole lot this weekend. Hubby spent a lot of time tobogganing with the boy. I had a bunch of chores to do. Laundry, meal prep, grocery shopping. Not necessarily in that order. Same old, same old. I did get to see my GF Elin twice, yay:) Missed my Saturday run with Tanya, boo:( We're going bowling this evening because that's what Julien chose to do as a family today. Afterwards, I'm going to have coffee with Tanya. This may be the last time I see her before she heads off to Stockholm. Sigh:(
  • I am so annoyed with the people who have responded to my ad on Kijiji. I've posted an ad for my husband's bib for the Around the Bay 30K. I've had tons of replies, but every time someone says they'll take it, they don't follow through with the final transaction. Meanwhile I'm telling other interested parties that it is tentatively gone. I'm done holding it for anyone. Unless they commit to meet me the same day, I'm moving on to the next person. Rant over!

My runs from this weekend.

  • This weekend was a pretty good one running wise. I did 6K in the sun on Saturday, and 12K in the snow and cold on Sunday. It was a scale back week so my long run was only 12K. Fine by me. My legs were feeling the hills from Friday. Didn't mind the shorter run at all. And it was slippery because there was a dusting of snow which made it a slow run. 
  • I'm listening to We Are Water by Wally Lamb while I run. I liked the book at the beginning and was looking forward to running to listen to it. About 3/4 of the way in I started to get annoyed with the story line. I love Wally Lamb. I have never disliked a book he has written. I'm beginning to dislike this one. It has become predictable and I am annoyed by that because his books are never predictable. Although I liked the character building at the beginning and I was expecting something brilliant, I am underwhelmed by the way the book has turned out. That is very hard for me to say. Sorry Wally:(
  • I finally got my nails done on Saturday. I hadn't had them done in a month. My nail technician guy is very talented at what he does. He's also a man of few words. He rarely ever converses with me and on Saturday he looks me right in the eye and says, "So did you get any last night"? He was referring to Valentine's Day. WTF? I had to laugh because he totally caught me off guard. 

Left: March 2012 and 230 pounds.
Right: February 15, 2013 and 157 pounds.

  • It's no secret that I have body image issues. So I decided to compare myself from when I first started running (almost 2 years ago) to now. I didn't think I looked like my photo on the right. That's not how I envision myself. And I have to admit that I look better than how I see myself. I will say this, I wish I could wear compression clothing all the time. It just smooths everything out.  Something blatantly obvious in both the picture above (right side) and the top picture with Luigi? I have no boobs! Zero! Am I disappointed by this? Nope. Makes it much better for running:)
  • I made a kick ass home made rib sauce. It's Paleo. I'm eating the ribs later. I'll see what the final product tastes like. If it's as good as I think, I'll share the recipe. And for the commenter who asked a few blogs back, here is the recipe for the Paleo banana bread.
  • I'm off to play UNO with the hubby and boy now. Family day festivities call. I hope you're having an awesome morning, afternoon, evening or night where ever in the world you happen to be:)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The post about 8 hills, loss of appetite and letting go of negativity

Completed 8 hill repeats this morning. Really wasn't feeling it and ALMOST
talked myself out of doing them all together. Almost...

  • Wednesday and Thursday seem like a blur to me. I can barely remember what I did those days except work.  I ran Wednesday morning and it was freaking cold at 5:15 am. I checked the temperature when I went to bed and it said the windchill was supposed to be -18C. That was BS. With the windchill it was more like -25C. Sweat froze to my cheeks and my eyelashes froze together.  And I lost the feeling in my fingers temporarily. You would have thought I'd have run faster considering the temperature, but it wasn't my best pace. Only 6:51/K. I only started to warm up at 5K, and that's when the run was done.
  • I was supposed to do 8 hill repeats on Thursday morning. Then by the time I made it out my door and I started to do calculations in my head regarding time, I knew I couldn't complete the run without being late for my first appointment. So I headed back home, hopped in the shower and did some on-line work. I was scheduled to have lunch out with a client, so I figured I'd get home at a decent time and run my hills in the evening like I did last Thursday. I show up at my client's place to pick him up for lunch, but he says he'd rather stay in. So we worked on some budgeting stuff and I didn't get lunch. I saw another client right after my first appointment, and he didn't want to eat either. So I head home and by the time I walk through my door, it's 4pm...and I still haven't eaten lunch! I couldn't run hills on an empty (or full) stomach. And by this time, I just wasn't feeling the hills because I was cranky and (finally) hungry. All I ate was a couple of hard boiled eggs and an apple in the morning. So the plan changed again to run hills this morning at 7am.
  • I woke this morning just before 5am. Hung around the house for a couple of hours before heading out the door to the Mac hill around 7am. I dressed in my gear around 6am and kept going back and forth in my head about whether or not I was actually going to run the hills today. I started to make new plans about running them on Saturday, doing a 6K on Sunday, and my long run on Monday. But then after resting on Tuesday, I'd have to run 5 days in a row. This is a scale back week so my long run on Sunday is only 12K. Next week I have 9 hills to run and an 18K long run. Not a smart plan. And knowing me, I'd probably injure myself! So I made myself get into my car, drove to the Running Room, did my 2K warm up and ran 8 hills. I was there just after 7am, so it wasn't busy. It only started to get busy just before 8am in anticipation of the first classes. I waited till daylight so there were no ornery possums to deal with. I felt sluggish. All I ate was a banana and drank coffee before my run. When I got home I had three hard boiled eggs and more coffee.  I have not been eating enough lately.
  • So here's a problem I have never had in my life before. I have zero appetite. I have to force myself to eat everyday just to fuel up. I have had high anxiety lately. There's just a lot of different stuff going on with work...and in my head (a bit more about that later). Anxiety leads to loss of appetite, I'm assuming.  Regardless of why I have no appetite, not eating has never been an issue for me (surprise, surprise). I always run on an empty stomach. That is called a fasting workout and your body uses any fat stores for energy during your run. But, you must eat right afterwards to rebuild muscle.  I skipped eating a couple mornings after running because I forgot to. I wasn't hungry, and I just forgot. I need to be more on top of my eating. I'm starting to get into higher mileage and I can't be skipping meals. I haven't weighed myself in a real long time. I'm not too keen to step on the scale right now because I know I've lost weight and I don't really care to see that number because I'm not trying to get smaller...just firmer.  So now I am trying to be more conscious and diligent about eating three meals and two snacks a day.
  • Just like I struggle with thoughts of binging everyday (except not for the past couple of weeks), I also struggle with my self esteem everyday. It can be exhausting. I never feel like I'm good enough. I constantly compare myself to other women. Just today I saw a co-worker in the washroom and noticed how nicely shaped her legs were in skinny jeans. I looked at us side by side in the mirror and could only see my tree stump legs. Yeah I've been told they're muscular, but when I compared our legs, I wanted her legs. My legs looked huge! I have so many thoughts of negativity in my head. And although I can feel good about myself when I leave the house in the morning, something usually happens in the day to trigger self doubt and I'm back to feeling crappy about myself. I still envision myself as the woman on the left in the picture below. A comparison shot helps me see how far I have come in the last 29 months. I have worked hard to get to where I am today, and I work even harder to maintain my results. I need to stop with all the negativity and give myself a break. I will always find flaws with myself. That's not necessarily a bad thing because it keeps me motivated to keep working at getting better. But I need to learn to love myself as I am now. Even if I stay exactly as I am right at this moment and my "flaws" never go away, I am awesome. I have done a wonderful thing for my son and my health. And for that I should be proud.

The comparison photo I posted on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Insecurity is a bitch!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The post about running through another snow storm, a good run and a Paleo baking fail

Top left: My snowstorm running photo
Top right: Tanya and I after (what is likely) our 2nd last run together (for a while)
Bottom left: My haul from Tanya! Thanks GF:) Hubby will eat the Clif Bars,
I'll use the Clif Shots during long runs!
Bottom right: This morning's run. FINALLY a decent pace!

  • I have been MIA for a few days. Four to be exact. I have no excuse. Just wasn't feeling much like blogging. Nothing, and I mean nothing exciting happened over the weekend. It was a tad depressing actually. I'll get to that in a bit. I have a whole week of running to talk about first.
  • Last Wednesday I worked from home. We had a pretty substantial storm hit Southern Ontario, and it's a good thing I didn't attempt to go anywhere. All my agency's cars were grounded. Even though we got about a foot of snow, and the bulk of the storm happened in the morning, I had to keep up my hardcore label and head out for a run. I ran 6K through the storm at a pretty slow pace. I had to lift my legs extra high to get through the drifts. It was by far my hardest and most epic run to date. Although I ran a distance I can usually run with ease, the 6K felt like 20 by the time I was done. My body was SORE! I am a glutton for punishment. The very next evening I went to the Mac hill and did 7 hill repeats. My rest day on Friday was much deserved.
  • On Saturday I met Tanya at the Running Room and we headed out (in some pretty cold temps -20C) for what will likely be our second last run together for a while. It is bitter sweet, because although I'm going to miss her terribly, I'm very excited that she is entering a new and exciting chapter in her life. Just in case you're new here, Tanya is my most regular running companion and has been for almost 2 years. We socialize more frequently than we run and she has become an awesome friend and confident. She and her family are moving to Sweden because of her husband's job. She will be back for a month this summer and I plan to head to Stockholm in the fall to run the DN. Stockholm Halvmarathon with her. That is my silver lining. I'm not gonna lie though. My heart is heavy and I'm going to miss her:(
  • I had a tough day on Sunday. I ran a 16K long run and barely remember it. It was like I was in a daze the whole time. I was feeling out of sorts all day. I was really feeling the losses in my life. Tanya's going away party likely had something to do with it. But I was also missing my mother, Finn and others in my life that I hold in my heart. I just wanted to lie in bed all day, but I couldn't. I had a ton of laundry to do, dinner to make, a party to attend and grocery shopping. My saving grace was that I was somewhat busy and by Monday my mood had improved.
  • Now that we have these new laptops for work, I have a mobile office. Unless I have team meeting, supervision with my boss, or a client is meeting me at the office, I have no reason to go in. I worked yesterday and today from home. And by "from home" I mean Starbucks and Second Cup. It works out better for me because I'm much more focused when I'm in public working. If I'm in the office, I get too distracted by co-workers and my day is incredibly non-productive. 
  • Because I was working from home, I got to run after six am this morning. By the time I completed my run, it was actually day light. Spring is on the way:) And I finally had a good run. My pace has been complete shit over the past few weeks. Mainly due to the elements. Snow and ice being the main culprits. But today, I ran a 6:28/K pace. That is my normal pace, and I don't feel like I've run that pace in ages. Definitely a boost to my runner's confidence.
  • Tonight I attempted to make Paleo Pumpkin Loaf. I am on snack for team meeting tomorrow morning. I followed the directions EXACTLY, but it turned out super crumby. Epic fail:( My boss and I are just going to have to forgo the baked good component of snack again. It's okay. I did get some other Paleo acceptable stuff (ie: apples, nuts, carrot boring), but everyone else gets my regular home made banana bread which kicks ass!
  • I'm having a bit of a mid-life crisis. I'm contemplating cutting my hair. I'm not sure why. I just started using this Pantene split end repair on it and my hair is the smoothest and softest it's been all winter. I do this though. I'll think I need a change, want to cut my hair, then regret it soon afterwards. What I should do instead, is get my tattoo fixed like I talked about a year ago. It was supposed to be done when I reached goal. That happened a while ago, and it looks no different. Partly due to money, and partly due to me being chicken shit. I may just get my butterfly freshened up, and get a new tattoo on my foot that signifies my running. Or I'll just cut my hair completely off. Decisions, decisions!

Top left: I am awesome:)
Bottom left: Not usually into long beards, but love that guy and his tats.
He looks bad ass which is always a turn on;)
Right: To cut the hair or not to cut the hair. It definitely needs a trim, but I'm
talking about cutting it off completely!

Friday, February 7, 2014

No Grains, No Gains - A day in the life

A group of Primal/Paleo/Grain Free women who blog about their experiences/life/benefits without grains. A great way for others (who may be wanting to lose weight, reverse an acute/chronic health trend, and/or transition from commercial weight loss programs) to read about real life women who are living the life and succeeding.

This month's blog topic is A day in the life. Gwen, Jeanette, Lynda, Karen and I are each going to describe a typical day for each of us. I look forward to reading the other posts, because even though we all follow similar lifestyles, there are a lot of differences that set us apart from one another. Here is a day in the life of military time:)

05:00 - This is normally the time I wake up every morning. Even on the weekend. I have conditioned myself to wake early because I have to run before leaving for work three days a week. My body doesn't discriminate on the days I don't have to wake up at 5 am. I can't complain. I hate discrimination of any kind.
05:30 - After making coffee, downing a cup and changing into my gear, I head out to run anywhere between 6 and 8 kilometers. This has been a brutal winter to run. Extreme cold temperatures and lots of snow can make for uncomfortable running conditions. Mother Nature has been particularly prickly this year. And there is nothing worse than having to leave your warm bed to run when it's -25C (-13F) and dark. But I have a "no excuses" rule for running. Unless a cold is in my chest, the weather is beyond extreme (ie: ice storm, -30C), I run. I dropped 1 run in December due to an ice storm and 2 runs in January due to super extreme cold temperatures. I ran through a hacking cough I had all winter because although I was snotty, it never went into my chest.  And just for the record. I run an average of 40K per week, and do not need grains to fuel my runs. I have been a grain free clean eater since I started running in March 2012.
06:30 - By this time, I'm back from my run, stretched, and sitting in front of the computer drinking more coffee to warm me up.  I usually spend about 1/2 an hour reading blogs, or answering tweets and eating breakfast.

My typical breakfast after a morning run. Hard boiled eggs,
sweet potato and fruit. Sometimes I eat this in the car.

07:00 - I make my son's school lunch, sign all his school work and agenda and load up his backpack. Then I head to the shower. During the next hour, I dress for work, my son and husband get up and I get to (sometimes) say good morning before heading out for my work day.
08:00 - My work day officially begins. I am a Youth Support Worker and I work in the non-profit sector. I commute 1.5 hours (in traffic, one way) to Toronto (or the GTA) depending on where my clients are situated. My first appointment is usually for 10 am. This morning I had to pick up a client in East York and get them to a wisdom tooth extraction in Yorkville. This took up all of my morning and into the afternoon. I didn't get to stop for lunch until 3pm, and it was a Subway salad. Definitely not my first choice of a place to eat, but I was about ready to stop somewhere and buy nuts to eat in the car. That is against the rules (see side note below).  I normally eat out with clients about 4 times per week. I still follow Paleo when I eat out. It's client choice, so no matter where we go, I stick to chicken and vegetables. Even if it's not on the menu, I ask for an accommodation. I have yet to be turned down. That way there is no stress in me having to find something appropriate.  I already know what I'm going to eat. During my work day I have two, sometimes three client visits. It's a lot of driving because they can live anywhere around the greater Toronto area. I drink lots and lots of water throughout the day. This means I have to make a lot of rest stops. Just in case you're wondering, Esso has the nicest restrooms.

Side note - When I was morbidly obese, I did an obscene amount of eating in my car. It was easiest because it was secret and I went through the drive thru and would order an entire meal. This was usually late afternoon after I had already eaten lunch, but a few hours before I would be heading home to eat dinner. I'd always "supersize" my meal.  Because of this behaviour, one of my food rules is that other than breakfast (which is something I prepare at home) on the go due to time restriction, I am not allowed to eat in my car. If I feel the need to stop for a snack, I need to go to a sit down establishment (ie: Starbucks), and get a drink and a single serving size snack of some kind (almonds or a banana) and eat it there. I do get an afternoon snack (or bring one with me) every afternoon.

Top left: Waiting in the swanky oral surgeon's office
Bottom left: My late lunch with double the meat and hot sauce.
Right: Taking selfies in the washroom @ the oral surgeon b/c I was real bored
and someone told me I had "mad muscular" legs today.

17:00 - This is normally the time I head home from the Toronto area back to Hamilton. Once a week, I get home early, and once a week I work late. I'm lucky to have a job that is not a traditional 9-5. I make my own schedule so I can flex my time if I need to.
18:30 - This is the time that I step back through my front door. Dinner is ready. Either my husband has made something, or I prepared something for the crock pot the night before and all he had to do was turn it on. I also make big meals over the weekend so that we have leftovers during the week. So dinner could be that as well. Whatever it is, we stick to Paleo during the week. On weekends, I follow more of the 85/15 rule. That's 85% Paleo, 15% other. Weekends are for wine, and (maybe) some cheese! I also eat natural peanut butter before my long run on Sunday. Peanut butter is not Paleo because peanuts are a legume.
19:00 - Dinner has usually been eaten, and I'm wearing my jammies. I play with Julien for a bit, do some work on line, watch a show with Julien. This lasts for a couple of hours until it is Julien's bedtime. At 9 pm, we go read books. Julien has to read every night for school, then I read him a story or two.
22:00 - If it is a blogging night, this is when the magic happens. If it's not, I may prepare dinner for the next day, read some blogs, or just go to bed and read some literature. And I'm being truthful right now. I'm off the dirty books for a bit and have been for about a month. Don't fret none Heather, I'll be back at it soon enough and share my reading list:)
23:30- This is the time I try to get to bed by. A half hour earlier if I can. Five am comes quickly and no matter what time I go to bed at, I still wake at the same time. Once I fall asleep, I'm asleep until about 4:50 am. That's the time I normally start to stir and wake. Crazy you say? Maybe. I feel great, albeit a touch tired (sometimes). I really should try to get to bed by 22:30 at the latest. That would give me a solid 6.5 hours of sleep at night and maybe I wouldn't have such big bags under my eyes. Or there needs to be 2 more hours in the the day so I can sleep longer. Since that's not going to happen, I'll work on more sleep.

Top left: A typical dinner, always protein heavy.
Top right: On my way home.
Bottom left: Fun with Julien.
Bottom right: Evening snack is either nuts or fruit.

So there you have it! A typical, boring day in my life. The weekends are not much different. I don't have to commute, but I still work...for my family. Grocery shopping, laundry, meal prep, mothering, long run, not a lot of rest. Typical of a lot of families. I get asked all the time how I stay motivated to eat and run the way I do. I have been eating clean for 2.5 years and I've been running for almost 2 years now. It's become routine.  It is my "normal" and I can't imagine living any other way.  Three years ago and the 140 pound heavier me never would have dreamed that I would say that one day:)

Now take a moment and check out a day in the life of my partners in crime. I promise they won't disappoint. They are each fascinating in the their own way. At least I think so:)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The post about my Native ancestry, a support group and another snow storm

My biological grandmother and aunt c. 1932.

  • Last week I was contacted by a woman named Anne who was researching her family tree (she was adopted too).  In the process of trying to find information about her father, she came across a lot of information about my birth mother and her family. She is connected to my family, but her and I are not actually related. She found me through my blog and sent me links to some really interesting historical information about my birth family. My grandmother in particular.  It was fascinating reading through the text of an interview my grandmother gave to a historian about "Reservation life and life while trapping in the bush". I also learned that my grandmother was Algonquin Indian from Quebec. Since she married an Ojibway, she considered herself Ojibway. So I am part Algonquin and part Ojibway. Love to learn where I came from. It will be especially important when Julien starts asking questions about his heritage.
  • Although Julien only met my birth mother once (and I'm so happy I made that decision and she got to see him before she passed away), he doesn't understand who she is to me. He doesn't have much of a memory of meeting her, but she did bring him gifts and he still has them.  When someone asks where he got them from, he says from her.  I'm waiting until he's a bit older to explain the circumstances behind my birth and adoption. My birth mother shared a bunch of pictures of herself and her family that I had scanned and put on disk. That will definitely help me tell my story, and now I have more historical information to share as well. It's so important to know where you came from. I'm very grateful to Anne for sharing this information with me.
  • The last two days have been busy. I had two solid work days. Having my ThinkPad has definitely made working on the road much easier. I'm always connected to the office which didn't sound appealing at first, but I have to admit, I find my work days much more productive. And I got free Starbucks coffee on Monday. Some suit paid for my coffee even though I initially declined his offer to pay. Hey, I'm not going to say to no to free coffee so I let him pay after he insisted. Does that make me a coffee whore I wonder? He thought I might sit at his table as he motioned to the seat across from where he was, but I thanked him, gave him a shy smile and got a small table of my own to work at. I was there to work, not socialize!
  • Monday night I went to a Dr. Poon support meeting in Scarborough. I didn't get home till 11:30 pm! I sat and chatted with a great group of women until 10:30.  We normally meet once per month and I find that I am enjoying their company more and more. We are different ages, different backgrounds, at different stages in life, but are connected through Dr. Poon. And it's amazing how people who start out as total strangers can become so caring and concerned about one another. I'm looking forward to spending more time with these ladies (and Verne) in the future:)
  • Yesterday I woke up early to run. Monday was my rest day, but Tuesday was a 7K steady run on the schedule. My mileage is building. Next month, I'll likely run 200K. That's a lot for me. I ran 200K in the month of August while I was training for the Road2Hope, right before I broke my ankle. Womp, womp, womp:( Hubby has been struggling with getting back onto the running schedule since his concussion.  We have had to discuss the likelihood of him being ready to run the Around the Bay at the end of March and it looks like he's gonna have to sit this one out. He can't catch up without doing serious damage to himself, so I'm going to try and sell his bib. This shouldn't be too difficult. The race is sold out.  On line transfers begin March 1st.
  • When my mileage goes up, so does my appetite. I have been very hungry over the past week or so. I feel like I'm constantly eating. Eating and drinking water. I have been chugging bottles of water like a champ and eating like every meal is gonna be my last one for days. I haven't weighed myself for about a month I think. I don't really care what the scale says right now. I know that I am the same size. My size 6 jeans still fit me the same and one thing I have learned about myself over the past year while on maintenance is that I have become so in tune with my body that I know right away when something is off. I have been blessed because running and eating clean has enabled me to not have to worry about my weight. I have never had this freedom before. I have always had to worry about portion size and calorie intake. These are things I don't even think twice about now. The last time I tracked my calorie intake out of curiosity, it was around 2700 (that day). I know that I go over that some days, but its the quality of my calories, not the quantity that matter. 
  • It's snowing pretty steadily in Hamilton right now. The snow's supposed to last all morning and into the afternoon. I'm working from home today. I'm running 6K steady at some point this morning. Likely after I get Julien off to school. The blowing and drifting snow should make for a challenging run, challenging but real pretty too. Those are the best ones!

Top left: Perhaps it's time to get the bangs trimmed now?
Top right: -14C run yesterday. A bit of frozen sweat.
Bottom: My last fortune from the Mandarin. Best fortune yet!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The post about the LSD that almost wasn't and a very busy weekend

My 6K from yesterday.

  • I'm beat, so you get more pictures than words today. That's a good thing!
  • Did you all have a super relaxing weekend? Yeah, me neither. I had no plans for the weekend, but it turned into a busy one. Sunday being the busiest. When you're a runner, and you're training, long runs can take up a good chunk of your day. My Sunday mornings into the early afternoon are pretty much a write-off until after I run the 30K Around the Bay at the end of March.
  • I had the best run I've had in weeks yesterday. It was mild out and even though it was a touch slick due to a light dusting of snow, it was the most comfortable run I've run in what seems like forever. I had an okay pace, I sweated my ass off and it was a pretty run because it snowed the entire time.

A funny, a cutie, and me playing with my work's ThinkPad.

  • It just started snowing when I was running yesterday morning, but the snow lasted all day long. And it was super mild. So unless everyone in the city of Hamilton shovelled and salted their walkways before days end, everything froze overnight and turned to ice.
  • This morning's run was my longest post broken ankle run to date (16K). I get anxious before every long run now, because it's a guessing game as to when my toes will cramp. I figured they'd cramp around 10K (like they have been doing of late) and that the last 6K of my run would be done in significant pain. Now I don't know why, but my toes just started to go numb as I finished my run and was approaching my house. No cramping, no pain. When I first started out, my hubby told me I'd be back very quickly because the side walks and roads were like a sheet of ice. I slid down the side walk of our street, and knew that if the main street was like this, I was going to have to head back home. It was extremely slippery. But I made it to the busy street, got on the road and ran. I definitely hit some very slippery spots and had to stop to walk a few times, but I completed my 16K run at a 7:45/K pace. I was actually happy with that. Considering the conditions and the fact that my feet were soaking wet the entire time, and I was soaking wet from passing cars, I was actually impressed with myself. 
  • I need to smarten up and get my Activfuel. This is a sports nutrition sportive and enables me to run long distance on an empty stomach. I just need to add a couple scoops to water and drink it. It gives me enough energy to get through a long run.  All I had before my run today was coffee, and I ate some energy gummies about 10K into my run. But when I stopped to walk over ice, I got dizzy and lost my balance. I didn't fall, but I felt light headed and I'm sure it's because I hadn't eaten or fuelled up before my run.  I know better than this. I'm going to purchase it this week. I get it at Goodness Me. And it's freaking expensive ($50), but lasts a couple of months.

Top left: My running stats.
Bottom left: Cirque Du Soleil is in town.
Right: What I ran on for 16K

  • By the time I got back from my long run, ate, got showered and dressed, it was already after 1pm. I had to prepare a HUGE pork roast for the slow cooker, go to the laundromat, make the rest of dinner, go grocery shopping and now I'm blogging. In between I had to do some banking and pay a bunch of bills. Incidentally, I just got paid on Friday, and I have no money left. How does that happen?
  • As I'm typing this, my eyes keep closing, so I'm packing it in. I leave you with pictures of what I ate this weekend. I promise that my next post will be more fun and informative. Okay, I'm talking the piss. I'm not promising anything. It could be as dull and mundane as this one. Yet you keep coming back to read. Thank you for that!

Top left: Chicken breast with diced tomatoes and rapini.
Bottom left: Pork roast, sautéed cabbage, roasted butter nut squash.
Right: Yesterday's lunch. Tuna, avocado, tomato and a cup of turkey soup.