Tag Archives: direction

Friends in Hilly Places

I have finished my last hill workout for the week. The countdown to race day is almost all counted down!

I left the gym at a nice trotting speed, warming up as quickly as my tin- man joints would unhinge. A lot of sun, a little breeze, and the weightlessness of the first few minutes of a run is a feeling I’ll never tire of.

About a kilometer from work there is a notorious hill known to runners, cyclists, and any drivers who have attempted it in the Canadian winters or in standard cars. I headed in its direction to see if it it had lessened with environmental wear and tear, a change in gravitational pull, or even continental drift, perhaps.

Spoiler alert: it didn’t.

When I reached the base of the hill, there was a man running ahead of me and I thought to myself how tired he looked and how much he must be dreading this ascent. I was feeling (moderately) fresh as a daisy so I casually waited at the bottom until he had neared the top before I began. I didn’t want to pass him and make him feel bad, of course.

Well, guess who felt bad when he turned at the top and came back down to run more hill repeats; completely the same workout as me.

But with an Ironman t-shirt and Ironman tattoo. Not sure I placed my pity appropriately.

I ran my first uphill and as we passed each other halfway we did the customary acknowledgement of each other’s presence on Earth with a half- second of eye contact and the accompanying head nod. Quite generous for Torontonians who customarily put their weight into smashing shoulders on sidewalks, but we are runners after all.

As I cruise back down in my recovery period, I pretend to be super casual and not wheezing like a dying hyena as we pass and he knocks out another hill repeat. We upgraded to the smile and nod this round, appreciating our common “enjoyment” of running up hills. I notice that he looks much less tired up close and I doubted my own sweaty, tomato-red face was giving the same impression.

Two rounds later, I’m trying to get myself back to the top again and I hear a  “Looking strong!” and I look up to see that my running companion has now become my cheerleader. That little ego boost definitely gave me a push to the top of the hill and as we both switched directions again, I made sure to clap and cheer as much as my breathlessness would allow.

As we alternated turns running, it turned into a cheer- fest and definitely an experience in the reliable friendliness of the running community. Halfway up his last hill, my new friend stopped to let me know this was his last one and he ran off into the sunset.

Well, it was 1pm. But you get the idea.

It’s like the Universe is cheering me on, now. On to race day!

Hills! #run: The Roads, Life, Bike, Quote, Rollers Coasters, Open Roads, Crosses Country, Things, Roads Trips

 

 

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Back For More

It has been way too long since I have posted anything. Full time work, part time work, and full time school do that I guess. Sorry to admit that I would rather be known for being a hard worker than for my blogging consistency. I’m back on track now I swear.

I have another MRI on my knee tonight, however my limited (non- existent) background in medicine makes me think my knee is almost good to go. If you are going to tear a ligament, it looks like this is the one to go for. My theory is that it was on the verge of tearing since the car accident, so my body is used to functioning without much support from it. There is a knee surgeon who works out in my gym and yesterday I picked his brain a little. I asked if he would recommend operating on a torn MPFL and after seeing my leg day he thought I was crazy to consider surgery. He told me that he does full knee replacements and so would not be the surgeon for me, to which I replied that I probably should get a spot on the waiting list now. By age 26, I have worn my knees out to Bambi status, and I am banking on robotic body parts being available soon. This is not a complaint because I’d rather use my body up than be laying on my death bed commenting on my joint fluidity.

I hope the afterlife has squat racks.

On that glorious note, I took off my knee brace for Monday’s workout. It was terrifying, exciting, and significantly reduced the smell of my workout. Someone should invent braces that come with built in fans like they have for those mascot costumes. When I instructed a running group at my previous job, my “smelly knee brace” had a more wide- spread reputation than I did. I think it made people run faster so they wouldn’t get caught downwind. Whatever it takes to make them run.

When I was working out, I kept looking in the mirror trying to figure out how far I am from my body about four months ago before my kneecap dislocated and my hopes, dreams, and body weight came crashing down. I temporarily felt disheartened to realise I am in a permanent state of re-building, until I realised that everyone in the gym is there for the same reason. Sure, some of us do it with a sickness of going until we cramp up into a sweat-soaked mess but everyone has the goal of change.

Still being warped is frustrating because I have been struggling to increase weights and still maintain good form in my workouts. My hips are out of alignment, and my spine is curved so my back is still imbalanced. I guess I just got a little too comfortable and when I feel comfortable, I am not aligned, and every other body part dominoes along into my personal take on anatomical structure. Doing high volume and low weight workouts is working well for me though and I love the change of stimulation. I would absolutely recommend adding this phase into your workouts (depending what your goals are) because 4 sets of 30 reps isn’t easy on anyone.

If your workout isn’t mentally hard, it probably isn’t physically hard enough.

Getting motivated and back at it.

I think this is Abraham's greatest quote.

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Get Smart

The more things you read,
The more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
The more places you’ll go.
              -Dr. Seuss

My life (and therefore blog) currently seems in a constant state of loading. The knees always bent and arms back, ready to propel forward. Cue the setback and then start to reload the pattern. Well today I’m Air Jordan.

No one really appreciates deadlines. They push us towards a median and force us to choose a route. Just the way your instincts take over when you are driving and don’t know where you are going but you will always pick one direction or another. No matter which way you choose, it always is a better option than crashing into the median.

You can do anything but you can’t do everything.

I have been weighing my options and thinking about going back to school. My confidence in this decision has been as unsteady as my left knee. However, based on the theory that no one ever feels comfortable when they upset their life plans, I have decided this is my best route to pull a last minute swerve towards.

What solidifies a decision more than making it non-refundable?

My fellow squatters and trotters I am going back to school. I will still be training at the gym and hopefully adding more to my schedule without sacrificing too much. That is of course very flawed logic but I won’t really admit it until the scheduling Gods crush me.

My confidence in this decision is now really strong because I am more excited than a first grader at the thought of buying lined paper and a binder. I am completely old school and I don’t plan to change anytime soon. A good old pen and paper never just crashes and erases what you wrote, and the distraction of doodling hardly compares to the vast timewasters built into the internet. I just need my neighbour to take my picture with a big toothy smile and my thumbs wrenched into my backpack straps.

airjordan

Knowledge is a work in progress… just like my abs of steel. Because I have time to take on more…

That’s coming up next!

 

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Born to be Mild

“There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
              -Leonard Cohen

My body has days that make me feel like I was made for a desk job and upper body hobbies. Followed by many rum and cokes.

When a homeless man stops you to say “you are beautiful just the way you are”, it really implies you look terrible and nobody loves you. I had already taken out my rage on all my clients so (luckily for him) I just gimped on by. It was awkward like when you have cruise control on and you pass a car going 1km an hour faster than them and it takes an uncomfortably long eye contact to get by. Just your casual social discomfort being a happy Torontonian.

Despite my body telling me to slow down sometimes, I resist the urge to feel like I was destined for early entry into the inevitable world of grunting sounds every time you stand up. It is a slippery slope from the time you make your own involuntary sound effects.

On the plus side, I had someone tell me in the gym that I should go to a vet now because I work out like an animal. I won’t lie, that made me immediately feel better. I have no problems in the world when someone compliments my workouts. It may as well be a big high five from Arnold Schwarzenegger. I am redefining blood, sweat, and tears, baby- tear referring to my torn body parts of course and not tears in my eyes.

I have been working away on upper body now and I feel like a wannabe bodybuilder who builds their biceps, ignores their legs, and ends up with a weirdly disproportionate body. I have been struggling with my post-surgery shoulder however I’ll chalk that up to pressure changes and I absolutely won’t complain about the heat. I spent so much time preparing my clients for a beach season that I was starting to think wasn’t coming.

So what is next? … defying the mild and embracing the wild hopefully.

progress

 

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The Knee Bone’s Connected to the…?

On Friday I cried and I can’t even convince myself it was more pain than frustration. It was the type of day that made me want to stamp my feet and then curl up in the fetal position. Nothing that a rum and coke and then laying face down for hours can’t fix.

My MRI was at 1am in the morning. Luckily riding the subway in the wee hours of the morning on a weekday keeps you awake and alert. I arrived to the maze of empty halls and dragged my bum leg to the imaging department. I was really early because I was plagued with the fear of having to pay the $100 late fee. That is a lot of money that could be put towards my recovery (rum and cokes). But if my mom is reading, I meant to say, paying you back!

After blissfully enjoying my half hour laying completely still listening to loud banging and rattling I went to change out of my size extra large robe. I started talking to a man who would have been a little older than my dad. His wife has dementia and was there getting an MRI on her brain.

I wish it was easier to keep things in perspective without having to see someone else in a bad situation.

So after a few hours of sleep I headed to work and rolled in nice and late after the subway broke down and who knew that another hundred people would need a cab at 8:30am on a weekday.

Once my break rolled around I decided to do an upper body workout. I warmed up, got ready to go and headed off to find a bench. I went to sit down and heard a loud pop as I felt a snap in my knee. Awesome. 12 hours after my MRI. So close.

flamingoknee

My weekend was extremely sloth like and I ventured out once for a few groceries. Seeing the doctor tomorrow and hoping for a miraculous sleep induced recovery!

Tomorrow also starts a week of upper body workouts! Let’s get half jacked!!!

kneebone

 

 

 

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Run To Bust

I feel like I am getting close to race day… Not because I feel ready but because my body is worn out. The race is 14 days away and it feels like a 10 foot tall hurdle screaming towards me.

For a blog with the theme of overcoming obstacles, I sure have a lot of material to write on.

Last Friday my knee buckled during my workout and after standing for at least 12 hours a day this week, it is pushing back. I haven’t run in 8 days, I haven’t done any lower body exercises in 8 days, and at this rate I picture myself ending up jacked up top and soft on the bottom. Like actually with a straight horizontal line where the muscle just stops.

On top of that, my mood has been getting exponentially aggressive as I watch the race date approach while I am at standstill.

This world has a consistency that really never fails. This was my last heavy leg day before I planned to transition out of going crazy in the gym. My last set of my last exercise was when everything came crashing down. Literally. I was on the leg press finishing with one leg at a time and my left knee just passed on its turn. This makes me feel like every other time I said I worked out to failure was a cop out.

I did have another trainer tell me I worked as hard as someone who was going to the Olympics. Minus the injury, that felt good.

New strategy: run on pace for my goal time and risk death by bruised body and bruised pride? Now I just need to find a doctor who will encourage me to keep running… Not happy. Doctor’s report to follow.

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The Way We Were

Time has really flown by and I have missed many posts that I wanted to write. For some reason the less interesting obligations always outweigh the fun commitments.

A few weeks ago, K left for a new job and a much better career opportunity. So of course we happily told him that he was making a great decision (which he was), but when we saw him holding the contents of his locker in a garbage bag we realised this was not in our best interest.

K and I met working at the gym and he has been a great friend since then; we won Supperworks together, we got jacked together (in a relative and debatable way), and he taught me that I know very little of self control. His meals alone require some Googling, a calculator, and a third party approval. The day he casually asked me to get him some salsa was nerve wracking.

We definitely miss his positive energy, his constant curiosity, and his enthusiasm during our team workouts. Shockingly, this gym has very few trainers and members who want to work out until they lay in a pile of heaving sweat on the floor.

Since our gym was bought out, it seems like each day chips away a little more resemblance from the way things were. Unfortunately, my brain still holds on to that old comfort as if it will reappear when things settle. I guess I have only been endorsing change when it is self motivated, and that is hardly change at all.

Over the past few weeks (and months, and years) I have learned that the best way to deal with change is to throw yourself into it. Pretend you don’t want to just dig your heels in and rant about the good old days. Being unhappy wastes too much energy, and you need that energy for your workouts.

I can’t put into words how strongly I believe that things happen for a reason. I have been so determined to stay set in my ways that it scares me to think how crazy I’ll be when I’m elderly. I’ll be wearing a spandex onesie around the gym yelling about the “kids these days” who don’t know anything about exercise. Then I’ll be like my client who absent mindedly hangs her purse and sweater on the closest piece of equipment whether it is in use or not.

Any form of resistance seems to negatively impact all aspects of life since that energy can’t be contained and focused on just one specific pinpoint. And if you’re wasting all that energy then you will never know how much weight you can actually lift!!!

It seems clear that you can’t go anywhere in life if you won’t move your feet. The difficulty that we underestimate lies in deciding to pick up your foot.

 

“To complain is always non-acceptance of what is… Leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.” -Eckhart Tolle

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You’re Always a Day Away

“I’ll start tomorrow, I’ll start tomorrow”; the mantra of the unmotivated, the lazy, and the people who “can’t make time”.

And I will start tomorrow.

My plan was to go out last night, come home early, and start a final month of clean eating, specific training, and sleeping enough (which is elusive on a daily basis). It was all laid out until I revealed to my friend that it was my last night drinking for the next month and I was the target of her mission to party hard. We met somewhere in the middle and shared a little wine, however it left me today saying, “I’ll start tomorrow”.

Today (on second thought) I decided that my priority was relaxation and did I ever conquer that. Except for the fact that I was watching March Madness and got three more of my picks wrong. Besides that, I did rest not stress and I think this is an even better way to start my last month of training. Let me just be clear that the last time I took nearly an entire day off was… almost 4 months ago. It was Christmas holidays and  a week of parties with my family is hardly actual rest.

After spending most of my day horizontal I am even more excited to run hard and lift heavy tomorrow. So maybe there can sometimes be some validity to waiting until tomorrow.

Mondays were made for fresh starts!

tomorrow2

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We Eat What We Kill

I had some great advice given to me last week. If you’re trying to find out just what you want out of life, write it out. This may seem silly or ineffective, but I feel like there is a discrepancy between my motivation and my output so I decided to give it a try. It has been a long time since I made a word map (elementary school style) and I had a lot of work that I needed to justify putting off. Done.

I felt like I was in a writing sort of mood. I’m not sure how to describe that feeling, but it felt productive. As productive as I could be from a seated position; it had been a long day. With some blank paper and a pen I prepared to brainstorm. Thoughts and ideas came much easier than I expected, as if my brain had always known what it wanted to say but wasn’t given a pen to write with. I eventually started grouping ideas into categories like health, career, and relationships. My page filled up quickly, sometimes with the same thing written multiple times (staying healthy) or just random words like “design”. There were actually so many solo words that I don’t remember writing that I might have blacked out a few times.

Altogether I made a big list of what I want out of life… it is a lot. I plan to keep digging deeper, too. Everything seems less terrifying when it is written down, though. It is almost like I have removed the ominous darkness from the future and replaced it with black and white. Despite only having a paper full of point form notes more than I did the day before, I do feel like I have more direction. There is something to be said for putting ideas in writing.

The hardest part of reaching a goal is setting a goal. There is a great saying that if your goal doesn’t scare you then it isn’t big enough. Think about it: if you were given a step by step plan to achieve success you would probably follow it, right? So why don’t you write your own plan?… Probably because it is hard.

For the majority of us, we need to work hard to find work. And to keep that work. So we should be channeling that effort to work towards something that is at the end of our ultimate “To Do List”. So what is your ultimate endpoint?

Life lesson from my dad #464: We eat what we kill.

todolist

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Whack A Mole

Oh hey there. Things have gotten crazy on my end so thanks for sticking with me. This has been a time of re-evaluation and analyzing for me. I have had to temporarily refocus myself which meant about a week without exercise but thankfully I have some big goals on the horizon to scare me back to work.

I blogged a few months ago about choosing a direction for ourselves and the importance of making a conscious decision where to place each step. Right now, I feel like one foot is mid- step and I am standing on a single foot sized island. There are many islands around me, and there are boats that can carry me. Most importantly, I can swim. I just don’t know where my compass is pointing me.

We all feel defeated at some point, but with time and effort, we all make a comeback in some form or permutation. If we were never knocked down then how could we know how to stand? If we never felt defeat then how could we appreciate success? If we never left our island, how could we learn to swim? How can we discount negative experiences so quickly and neglect to see that we have gained experience after all? These self taught lessons always teach us best, like the first day of school in big colorful block letters.

There is a saying that things always work out in the end, and if things haven’t worked out yet, it isn’t the end. Eventually the feeling of being the rodent in “Whack A Mole” ends in an unpredictable dimming of lights and sounds, and your head pops up somewhere bright and new. No one really knows when the whacking stops or where the mole ends… but we all agree that those are both inevitable.

Last week I hit some obstacles that I couldn’t see until they blinded me. Even a little stumble is movement and it will only add to my momentum whichever direction I propel myself. Here is to the comeback.

Sounds like this girl needs to go for a trot.

images

 

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