3 weeks to crazy

september was not my month. i’m sure a few of you might  raise your hands and say ‘me too!’

yes, september can be a rough one. summer is slipping away and dusk dances across the horizon much earlier, its inevitable temperatures cool and pedi’s fade. it is back to school and work. it can be exhausting, exhilarating and invigorating–all at the same time.

not one to miss out, i embraced september with a ‘let’s kick this into high gear’ attitude. i decided to get down to brass tacks– i opted for a treatment (medication) that i had been avoiding for 4 years. on september 11 (that mighta been a tip-off)  i went for it.

it took 3 weeks to get me to crazy.  it wasn’t a slow and subtle transformation, i went from 0-100k in 3 days…sort of like a roller-coaster ride… the slow anticipation as you climb to the top and then as the nose points downwards you start to smile, then scream, and before you know it you are hanging on for dear life.

it was as if overnight i became irritable, irrational, impatient and a little bit angry all of the time. moreover, i was plagued with lower back pain, hot flashes, anxiety, heart palpitations, mild to splitting headaches and bone and muscle aches. best of all, i was getting fat! medically this might be defined as “water retention,” but when your jeans are snug and your face is puffy…there is not a medical term in the world that can right that wrong.

on october 2 i called a cease and desist. no more treatment. if that was a fix i would rather be broken.

so what did i learn in my 3 weeks to crazy?  well…

1>i can trust my body and myself.

2>i am so thankful for my support system. i didn’t want to live with me, so i thank those who did.

3>when you are diagnosed with anything you need to have your doctor on your side. my doctor is an angel, but i went through a few before i found her. we tried and failed, but she was on my side when i said no more!

4>my body beats to its own drum–yes i succumbed to some of the noted side effects (only seen in about 1-3% of all women) but i produced a few of my own–so i am pretty confident the side effects were not a self-fulfilling prophecy

5>i have the power to help and share with others some of the tips and tricks i’ve learned to be  happier and healthier

so what is it that has me a little bit broken? i like many other women have endometriosis a condition, disorder or disease depending on who is defining it.  it is one of those ‘things’ we don’t talk about it over coffee or dinner because it involves lady parts. the best way to explain it–it is like ‘weeds in the garden’–there are cells growing outside of the uterus.  let me assure you, you don’t want them there.  from insufferable infertility and crippling pain that morphine or oxycodone can’t touch, the road is a little bumpy. and although there are courses of  ‘treatment’ there is no cure.

a while ago i was trying to figure out what would light my fire? well after 3 weeks to crazy  i know that was a ride i would have skipped. after 23 years i’ve got a pretty good perspective on endo (as i call it) and i know i’ve got it within me to advocate, to educate and to share.

next steps, i am going to  share the good the bad and the ugly…not here (i’ll spare you that) but in a space and place where perhaps i can ‘tell it like it is’ and help other women find their way to better health and healing

it ain’t an easy ride (they never are) but if i can prevent one more 3 week ride to crazy i will. stay tuned.

9 lives are only for cats

puffy eyes, twinges where they shouldn’t be or a headache that swims under the surface are nuances. but  however brief they should not be brushed aside like an errant piece of lint.  these  random attacks are your body’s way of talking to you. most likely something you are doing, or more likely, not doing must change.

if your body isn’t getting what it needs it will let you know. a dull ache, a sense of heaviness, or a tightness here and there are the first whispers and wakening to something that just isn’t right. our bodies can’t be beaten down day after day and banished into a chair starved of natural light and nourishment. they are perishable and to flourish they need water, movement and love.

even those of us who know better (and we do) know sometimes need to take a moment to reconnect and remember what is good for us. ironically what is good for us, also makes us feel good. if the weight of the world needs moved off of your shoulder find a new parking lot with long term parking.  get moving, get breathing and drink some water. no one knows your body better than you… so if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

trust & respect it… and remember 9 lives are only for cats. you aren’t a cat are you?

do more of what makes you happy

Do what makes you happy

bask in the sun, run for miles, make lists, make goals, dream, read a book, have coffee with a friend…smile.

do more of what makes you happy and less of what doesn’t–ok maybe you have to cook dinners and clean the house, but figure out how you are going to make yourself happier about it.

i love, love, love a clean bathroom so i always head there first when cleaning… i get into a groove and the rest of the clean-up is designed to catch up with my sparkling clean and minty bathrooms.  although, i haven’t quite figured out how to love cooking i’ve decided i need a new plan. i’m going to set out a training schedule…. (stay-tuned for details). i figure if i can train to run 21km i can figure out how to make feeding my body a little easier!

so as the summer comes into a close and i savour every moment of freedom and sun i’m recognizing the summer was a time of wisdom and a bit of wonder. summer usually mellows me out, probably because i get to go outside every day and do awesome things!!! over the summer i fell of the grid, probably because i started it in the winter months.  those days where the rain is incessant and darkness comes early.  i was floundering in the evenings–tv and random internet surfing beckoned so i started to write…and then summer arrived. i had to wait for it…yes, those of you who follow me, know it took a while before arriving, but when it did  i made the most of my summer days. the computer got tucked away.

we went weekend tripping from tofino to twin lakes, paddle boarded, camped out, roasted marshmallows and had bonfires. i biked, i ran, i swam, i surfed, i trained and i lounged with friends and family, talking late into the evening with a glass (or a few) of wine. as the summer passed and my birthday came and went i realized i was enjoying the moment…really, really, really enjoying it. i’ll catch you up on some of those moments, including my fabulous 40th.

as september looms i feel the tide is shifting….i’m going to make a list of what i love about summer and figure out how to work it into the next few months.

any hints on how to hang on to the sun?

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blog block

any writer will tell you to keep pounding on the keys. keep words to paper and so on, and anyone training for  a run will tell you just put one foot in front of another…ah fortunately i’m not a writer…but apparently, i am a runner.  i’m giving myself a free pass on the gap in my posts because i’ve been closing the gap on my per/km pace.

i guess i’ve been b#sy–oops shouldn’t have said that. i find that phrase to be on the same page as i am str#ssed. i find it is a little self-fulfilling prophecy. in the scheme of things i’ve had a lot going on but when you look at the big picture it’s just been a bit of everyday life that kind of crashed into a few weeks instead of a few months.

it has just been the day-to-day stuff that didn’t spread itself out as much as i would have liked.  we got a new roof,  pot lights and skylights–all awesome but definitely messy! the deck got repainted and as it would happen my dog took a wonder onto a wet deck with oil paint….you get the picture. my son turned 4 and he had 2 parties (my fault) and i taught a crazy 1 week intensive course. but the best part of the last few weeks…..summer has finally arrived!

i’m thrilled to say i’ve felt the warmth of the summer sun permeating the soles of my feet as i stand barefoot on the road and watch the squirt gun fights get louder, bigger and wetter.  kids bedtimes are getting later and more lax and impromptu drink and dinner dates are unfolding seamlessly.

i’m just rolling into august contentedly even though…

1> i fell into a pool with my iPhone (very sad) and thus was off the grid for 3 days (weird)
2> my  birthday party is planned, for my 40th (courtesy of my husband)
3> i’m running my first half-marathon in 6 days (on my birthday)

i am celebrating my fabulousness at my 40th but i gotta tell you i really don’t believe i’m 40….as a kid that just seemed so old. as an adult–hell it’s young.

as i’ve said before the last time was 17 and crossing my fingers hoping my VW had enough gas to get me where i was heading.  well i guess it did.

wish me luck on aug 11!

waiting, the heaviest of all weights

how about that weather? it is a typical conversation starter, it’s safe and everyone has an opinion. usually after a few sentences the topic changes or peters outs…unless you live in vancouver.

if you’ve been kicking around the city the last 4 weeks and you ask someone about the weather you’ll probably get an earful. we are getting a bit passionate about the lack of summer here. although true vancouverites know the start to summer is a bit rusty, with a lot of falters by july it is usually upon us. it’s july 3rd and there isn’t a spot of sun on the horizon.

mother nature is channeling a serious case of split personality–vacillating from spring to winter, i’m not sure if summer is even on her radar. although i’ve been thinking a lot about the weather and lamenting it, i’ve realized what is really bothering me is my lack of  control.

my inability to change, influence or speed up the arrival of summer is troublesome. i want to wear shorts and sandals for more than 2 consecutive days, i want to sit outside a get uncomfortably warm. i want to go to the ice cream shop for dessert, i want to wade into the ocean for a cool down. more than anything i want to feel the heat of summer tickling the souls of my feet, as i stand barefoot on my street watching the kids play and chatting to my neighbours over a glass of wine. i want summer to hurry up and get here.

i feel like a kid waiting desperately for: christmas morning, to be bigger, to stay up later, for a birthday, or for friends to come over.

in the world where everything is known in an instant (thank you Google), so little of what occupies the day to day of truly requires waiting…but for those of you who are waiting for something, little or big….you know…it isn’t easy.

although it’s tension on hold, and the wait feels like the weight of the world, no matter how desperate my wishes or wants, i can’t conjure up summer. so  i must dig deep and uncover some fortitude, perseverance and patience.

what are you waiting for?

a body in motion

legs pumping, lungs burning, and a lot of heavy breathing pushes me up the hill. i’m not alone out here, i’m tailing my girlfriend who’s is training for a 122km ride…oh yeah, with 1700 metres of elevation, thus the hill.  as we climb and climb, and the sweat starts to trickle down my back, a few thoughts are flitting around.

1> why am i riding with a woman clearly in training….ok….that flitted in and out pretty quickly and kinda made me smile

2> does this hill ever get easier…will i ever really ride it without breaking a sweat…probably not

3> this is amazing….and that is the thought that i hung on to for the rest of the ride

what amazes me is the sheer power of our body. it can do brilliant things. we bend, scrape, push and pull it, and sometimes even warp and break it…but it is resilient, and time and time again bounces back.

my feet and legs are strong, they have carried me up and over mountain tops and down the other side. whether traversing trails in italy, trekking along the west coast, or portaging a canoe through the serenity of bowron lakes, i can count on them to take me where i want to go. sometimes it is a simple as putting one foot in front of the other.

holding my breath and diving down below the waters surface, has given me a chance to brush my fingertips over the oceans floor. kicking my feet and pushing water has allowed me to float and flounder like a fish. and even the steady beat of the ocean drum picking me up and dumping me off my board (over and over)  filling my mouth and stinging my eyes with the saltiest of waters has made me smile, laugh and hiccup at the same time.

pedalling through the mud and muck, and over the rocks and mini rivers has unveiled a forest so magical and magnificent it has silenced and humbled the chattiest of chatters. those trails hold the secrets, the dreams, plans, confessions and everyday stories and fables of those who traverse them. there is a reverence here, where the forest and the trees nourish us. they fill us with fresh air and a calm, that if bottled, could save the world.

today we climbed. then we hit the yellow brick road of riding–10k of paved and carless road through a towering forest.  whether in and out once, or lapping it, the scenery is decidedly delicious. at the end of our ride, after all of the effort, while our sweat cooled and we sipped our water i was struck once again by the power of motion.

our bodies are machines, as powerful and as herculean as those mighty steam engines, and more finely tuned, agile and able than any shiny automobile. no matter how we chose to propel ourselves forward, even if it is just putting one foot in front of the other and moving, it is ingenious.

suffused in this revelation, there are a few golden rules that go along with keeping a body in motion.

1> have fun…do more of what makes you happy!!
2> go as far as you can
3> treat you body right
4> your body can do anything
5> keep breathing

get moving!

ps.  always say ‘yes’ to that invitation from friend to get out there, you won’t regret it. thanks for the ride e!

fall on your knees

it is not metaphorical, poetic or contemplative, in this case, this i where i met dirt. amidst the earth, rain and trees for miles, i fell hard on my knees. it happened in an instant. i’m not sure how it all went wrong, but i have a few reminders.

mentally i was congratulating myself, feeling strong and thinking about the next few kilometres. my feet were taking me home. suddenly i felt the heaviness of my body on my hands and i could sense and smell the cold, wet and rocky earth.  parts of my body stopped hard, while others propelled  forward. the knock on my knees and the sting of skin shocked me.  i realized more than felt, i was on the ground.

i pulled my body into me and put my head between my legs. every ounce of my being was focused on not fainting as i have a bit of a problem in that department. my hands burned but i clenched them to my sides not daring to look.  if i saw blood, surely i would pass out.  i did not want to wake to the skid of a mountain bike bumping over my body.

after a few seconds or perhaps moments i pulled my stunned, shocked and shamed body to stand. tentatively i stepped forward hands fisted and put one foot in front of the other. thankfully my body still worked…as did my phone. 10 minutes later i was picked up and homeward bound. my husband said little, he made sure i was ok and then assessed my hands and knees and sent me off to shower and change. a short while later i was resting on the couch…medicated, elevated, iced and bandaged–this all felt vaguely familiar to me.

rewind 1 week- sunday, june 10. at 9:15am i got the call to pick-up my husband and his broken bike. yes, it was the same side of the mountain i had just fallen on–different trail!  20 minutes post pick-up we were in emergency and he was on a straight board with a serious neck-brace. 4 hours later he was released–back not broken–vertebrae ok–but most likely sporting a couple of cracked ribs (thank you inconclusive x-ray).

Not how it should look

now, don’t we sound like a couple of clumsies?  maybe, but instead i am going to chalk it up to getting outside and moving. i remember when we were kids, we wore our band aids like badges. they told a story, and reminded us of the fun we had. now as adults i have a few white lines(some call them scars) but i think of them as stories, they are reminders of moments where i did something brave, heroic or maybe just a little silly.   as kids we played with abandon, we ran, jumped, swung from ropes, balanced and bailed.  scrapes and scuffs were part of the territory. i still get the scrapes but not as many badges. this weekend my son made sure i was covered, he got me a band-aid from his special supply. and you know what, it worked it felt a better.

Ouch

so despite us being older in age, sometimes, just sometimes “we are always the same age inside” (Gertrude Stein).  we may not be aging gracefully, we may be fighting it one topple at a time but i don’t think i’d have it any other way. i don’t have it all figured out, i have much to learn but i think Newton was onto something with his laws of motion.

a body in motion tends to stay in motion……and a body at rests tends to stay at rest.

i’m all for motion…how about you?

run baby run

i’ve committed myself to a half-marathon. i’ve never pressed myself beyond a 10k because that has always been my natural limit. i’ve watched and cheered my sister as she slayed the 1/2–injured and all in under 2 hours. i’ve held signs and applauded my girlfriend as she conquered the full but the sidelines have always been my home.

my runs are in the forest and up mountains, slow and steady with limited mileage, but i’ve decided to tackle a bit of distance. this will be a challenge, i will need to train and put the hours in. besides finishing it, i would like to pick up my pace, so i am not out there forever!

i’ve looked at some tested, tried and true ways to get those legs moving faster. i am sure those methods can’t be wrong,  but yesterday, i found a surefire way to make me run faster. it is both humbling and inspiring.

i took my almost 3-year-old (almost 4) out for a bike/run. he rode his big bike and i ran with him–let me assure you, this was not a jog. i was running the fastest pace i have ever run. i managed to clock 4 k (with a few mini-rests as we slowed for cars and crossings) but overall i ran faster than ever!!

it’s a win win situation…he bikes, laughs and giggles as he kicks my a$$. i’m pretty sure i’ve paid big bucks for this at the gym. for free he gets some fresh air and i think i’ve  found the best training partner ever…

need to whip yourself into shape? go find a 3 year old to chase!

Toughest Trainer Ever

may i have a word mr. weatherman?

June 6. westcoast weather. thurs  rain. fri rain. sat “isolated showers”.sunday rain.

i think the isolated showers was someones brilliant way of saying – of throwing us a carrot…i mean really….let’s face it the rain is coming.

it’s Vancouver, it rains here…a lot. i’ve grown up here so it’s no surprise.

my toes are painted emerald green and even they whimpered ever so slightly as they were shrouded in socks shoved into my Hunters. they have every right to be confused…it is not just my feet, my closet is feeling a little schizophrenic as well. aren’t we days away from summer, yet we are barely seeing the blush of sun.

last weekend the day couldn’t decided whether to shine or drizzle…i like many others went from tank top to hoodie all day long. sunglasses on…umbrella up. the bright point in everyone’s day—the rainbows.

there’s nothing like the weather to remind you–expect the unexpected. that is the beauty of living here, lately we don’t really know what to expect. i want to see the sun but i am pretty sure she is taking the day off today.

i’m not getting to stuck on my wants, i’ve gotta make the most of what has been dished out. i’m sticking my feet back in my wellies and heading out with my dog to jump in puddles. xox

UPDATE: so we went outside and played…i’m telling you, i think even Jasper is done with this weather!

it’s old school – scrapes and all

the smell of summer before the sun comes up makes me nostalgic. i love the subtle smell that greets me as i slide open the patio door. the sun is still sleepy but the promise of summer makes my toes tingle.  there are hundreds of memories that tumble free as i inhale that sweet cool air…

mostly i remember carefree days where kids tumbles from house to house unencumbered….no mothers trailing them. i remember jumping on my bike and cruising up and down the streets for hours…we moved in a pack, bikes abandoned at the tops of driveways as we made our way through the neighbourhood from house to house. there were no requisite snack times or water bottles strapped to our bikes and sunscreen was ‘saved’ for days at the beach. we flew down streets, wind whipping our hair (helmets hadn’t arrived) legs pumping, lungs full of air as we yelled out to each other plans for the next stop.

i yearn for those moments for my son and his friends, and fear they may not be able to find the freedom in the childhood of today.  good mamma’s make sure their kids are prepped (boy scouts ain’t got nothing on some of the moms i know) first aid kits, sunscreen, snacks, water, sun hats, change of clothes …you name it they’ve got it. i’m not quite there, i am somewhere in the half-light…i’ve got some band aids and polysporin and usually some water…but sometimes we run out.

last evening we slid into my childhood for a few hours. my son ran into his good friend at the schoolyard where they were surreptitiously both on bikes. my little guy was trying out his ‘big bike’ (pedal bike) that actually is quite big….and he was determined to ride it on his own…despite him just mastering the small pedal bike last week.  i had the smaller bike in the car and asked if he wanted to switch it up. i got a pretty emphatic “NO.” so i let him have at it, and saluted his determination and stubbornness (kinda got it from me…well the stubbornness). so there is my son whipping after his buddy, dropping of curbs and making his way down steeper hills than i would have liked. i smiled, it was the way of kids

First Pedal Bike – 3 rides to master

Big Bike – working on it

after watching him (sort of hawk-like) i just chilled and let him be. i saw them out of the corner of my eye making their way around the schoolyard/park and heard them yelling at each other . they were figuring out where to go next.  a little piece of my heart fell into place, and i felt they were free–moms and rules were forgotten.

i laughed and turned to my buddies mom and talked to her about ‘pulling’ my son out of the his ‘bike lessons.’ a few months back my husband and i had enrolled him in a bike lesson so he would master the pedal bike–mainly because he wanted to ride with his older friends. note–“pedal bike”–cause he has already mastered the run bike (actually two of them-we had to upgrade). kamikaze doesn’t even cover it. we  kind of hemmed and hawed because we thought he would already be riding by the time the lessons arrived–but they fill up fast…and there you have it. lessons fill up fast. but really, when did bike riding become a “lesson?”  well,  i think right about the time kids were no longer able to run and roam free in their neighbourhood, and parents were struggling to find that time to teach their kids to bike–why not consider lessons? i’m not knocking lessons or the reasons parents put their kids their, as a parent i know we are all just doing our best, but last night i had a moment. i remember rolling with the training wheels and the big orange flag…and having fun. one look at the boys, and you could feel the sparkle in their eyes… these kids were having fun and were free.  i liked it, a lot.

Old school training wheels

and then i heard it, the unmistakable wail of my child–and as he cried out for me, i thought, as different as things are today, they are still  much the same.  as i ran up to him and untangled him from the bike–a move every mom has done at least once in her life,  i scooped him up and hugged him tight. i checked his face, no blood…i relaxed..i was pretty sure the knee and elbows would be scraped (yes, no pads) but that is the price of learning to ride. after a minute or so, i checked him out and sure enough the tell tale scrape, gravelled and grey with the promise of blood was stamped across his knee. this would have been an unprepared moment of mine, so i used the tried and true technique to clean him up.  saliva and my whole hand across the knee for 30 seconds while we talked about falling down and getting up again.  a couple of minutes later, he high-fived me and was back on his bike– a little bit bloody but full of an energy and confidence that kids keep bottled inside for moments like these. i think we are skipping those lessons–we are going to go old school.

as the sun dipped we headed into his buddies house for some food–we had passed real dinner time and the kids were waning. later that night as i tucked him into bed and he drifted off to sleep i too drifted. i remember the falls, scrapes and scratches that really are the badges of my childhood–although most have faded i have a few good reminders that line my skin. those white lines that ‘mar’ me are reminders to:

Learn to bike badge!!

always pick yourself up when you fall
with a little practice you can get where you want to go
friends are awesome
wind in your hair is the ultimate sense of freedom
getting dirty is part of the fun
scrapes heal, and you learn to something from each one

ok summer (and life) we’re ready…