Reasons Why my Unicorns aren’t Farting Rainbows*

*Note: No Unicorns were harmed in the writing of this post. Their digestive tracts are just fine.*

It is apparently warming up this week.

A friend informed me this morning that it might rain. Ok, warmer weather means I might be able to get out and run, but rain? Come on now, is it too much to ask for non-freezing eyelashes AND sun? Obviously not. *grump* It has been a long, long, long cold and snowy winter for us here. If I have one more day where I am chilled to the bone on my legs and extremities by the time I get to work, but sweating inside every building I go into before I can take all the winter layers off… Well… Seriously, I don’t know what I’ll do, but it may involve foot stomping and fist-shaking.

In reality, I do not do temper tantrums very well. I’d be better served simply adhering Bitchy Resting Face™ and retreating into self-administered alone time on the bus until I feel as if I have stewed long enough over things I cannot control. *mumble* stupid Polar Vortex *mumble* living where air hurts my face *mumble* have you seen my stapler *mumble*

I had intentions of running last week and it did not happen. At all. I even put it out there to my fellow running friends, and… the Sabby Machine ran outta gas. I did not go. Why? I didn’t make it a priority. I couldn’t find the energy or time.

I didn’t want to.

I have not run in a month now. I haven’t yearned for it once, and haven’t had the energy to even contemplate it some days. It seems weird because I love it so much (and feel like I miss the idea of it, most days), but the thought of putting on all the clothes to go out the door and run makes me just sit right back down on the couch, grab my iPad, flip to a random mind-numbing, addictive game, and go “ugh”. Don’t even get me started on going to the gym to run on a treadmill… the few times I have, I have walked away and quietly cried in the shower afterwards because it felt so terrible. It hurt, it felt wrong, and it was hard as *^&% to simply just keep moving.

The one highlight of this was the running I did in January was wonderful, and the track workout I attended was really, really fun. New shoes work, it felt good to be active, and then… The bottom fell out.

I have a race in April. It is almost March and the last long run I did was 8k, which is half the distance I have to cover at the end of April. I am seriously thinking of selling my bib, or giving it to someone who wants the challenge. I will NOT be ready in time to run the whole thing. The idea of running a race, any race, is so exhausting I just don’t think about it. Or when I do, I stop because it leads to me being a Negative Nelly about myself because I am not pushing my fitness like every single other friend around me and how dare I even call myself a fit person anymore when I have gained ten pounds since Christmas and… *deep breath*

…Let’s not get into that whole “Inner Critic-Shut, Up!” business today. I feel like I have beaten that into the ground with the “Be positive! Be ready! You can DO EEEEET!” and I am tired of that, too. I have drained the bank with positive self talk, uplifting imagery, reminders of past accomplishments and all that stuff, but it does not matter when you have no motivation. No get-up-and-go. No power. Add life/family/work stress and WINTER… And that cocktail knocks you on your arse every time.

There are no words to describe how much I am looking forward to going to Britain in three weeks. They have Spring grass, even if it is temperate and rainy (and, I hope, receding floodwaters soon, dear friends)! GREEN GRASS, PEOPLE! *gasp…wheeze*

Finding the time to go has been hard too, for a multitude of reasons I won’t go into here, cuz really, we all deal with it and some of it is way personal, yo. After an “in the kitchen” chat with some girlfriends not too long ago, I detailed it all out. Cheaper than therapy, people. Find yourself a group of like-minded women (or men, y’all talk about this stuff when watching the game, right?) and throw your problem to them. They can sometimes see things you can’t. It can also be super intimidating to do, and it was scary to be in that group and having them tear my problems to pieces. I look up to these women. It was hard to let them see my failures. Some ouchy things were said (in a loving way) and it was good in the end, because I sorted out some *&^%. It was a tough evening, though. I got home and had a really big, messy, sobby sob-session. I didn’t even take off my makeup, so you can imagine what I looked like after that. *screams in terror*

The other factor that has kept me from physical activity in the past month or so is pain. Good old fashioned aching, hurting, creaking, tottery pain. I did not understand exactly why I was in pain until I saw a doctor last week.

I haven’t talked about it (especially around Husband who would just tell me I needed to get back on the exercise train. He has no motivation issues with his regime because Crossfit). I felt like maybe the pain was indeed the byproduct of not moving much (wasn’t convinced, I walk quite a bit every day to and fro work, from the bus etc). But doing a squat brings pain into my knees that lasts. Doing push ups makes my shoulders make that “poik” noise with each rep and ache for a day afterwards. Waking up and moving in the morning is a shuffle, then a slow hobble until I can actually open my eyes. If I sit for too long, I look like the Tin Man after a rainstorm when I walk. let’s not talk about Bad Bus Driver rides where I have sore arms from holding on. After my track workout, my abs were still quivering piles of ouch five days later, and I couldn’t lift my arm above my head for three on one side (aka: pulled somethin’-somethin’ in that there side muscle). My hands swell up like balloons if I do too much typing.

I know. Typing.

Don’t laugh. But y’all, it is my job. I’m a writer. Do you have any idea how much that sucks? I keep ice packs in the freezer at work to rest my hands on at regular intervals.

I have been living on Motrin and sometimes Aleve to ease the overwhelming day-after-day-after-day pain. I felt like I was falling apart, and thinking I was going to be dealing with this permanently. It was a new “normal” and it was, well… Depressing. Energy sapping. Etc. See above. Taxes and shipping are extra. Results not typical.

I saw my doctor earlier in the month, and he put me on a sleep medication that has been helping in a big way. Sleep is a wonderful thing, no? Then, last week, I saw another doctor and mentioned to her that the constant ache and pain was really wearing me down mentally and emotionally, on top of everything else. She put two and two together and went “Well, likely it is because you are depressed.”. Errr? Ok… Explain.

Apparently, with Seasonal Physical Depression (think similar to Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD), body aches and pain are magnified, and sometimes a symptom of. Clinical depression can also cause such aches and pains. It has very little to do with not moving. It has nothing to do with exercising too hard. Sometimes exercising can bring it on worse, even (think DOMS + emotional/mental struggles = feeling worse). It can also suppress your immune system. Wait… What? *atchoo*

So cue the rolling snowball. Not wanting to move because it hurts, having no energy to move, feeling worse about yourself because you aren’t moving, then dealing with the hurt when you break down and move because you browbeat yourself into it… And if the real reason (depression) is not being addressed…

Good Girl

When I was a child, I was told “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

I’ve always kept that at the back of my mind when tramplingfinding my way through social situations. I took it to mean “Don’t complain, don’t say mean things about others” etc. I also took it to mean “Keep your mouth shut and don’t participate because you are dumb, will sound stupid and people will hate you”. This attitude stems from many years of being told just that, and my own basement-level self-esteem holding me back at various points.

I truly thought I would never amount to anything like what I am now, a long time ago. I felt like I was indeed worthless, stupid, destined to a life of menial labour with no fulfillment, self-loathing abuse, and terrible life decisions. Slowly, over time, this has changed, and I am in a much better place. I have scars, and consequences of these decisions, but they are lessons and building blocks of where I am now (which is better, if you have kept up to my nattering so far).

However, I never said my Inner Critic followed the same advice. My Inner Critic, sometimes still thinks I am ridiculously fat, stupid, and worthless. She is beaten regularly to improve morale,  I assure you. Har-har-har. No, really…

Most of the time, I realize how ridiculous it is for me to believe these things about myself, and thankfully, the times when I truly do berate and whack myself about with such negative ideas has diminished in the past couple of years, significantly. Running, finally finding local female friends in the same place in life as myself, being solidly married, having the fulfillment of two tiny people who drive me nuts and elate me in a second’s time, and becoming much more accepting of my my post-babies body has helped immensely.

If my 20’s self could see my 30’s self, she would be horrified at how saggy various body parts have become, but also excited because my 30’s self is way happier in general.

But, despite all this personal growth to the positive side of the graph, I still have my moments, and I still deal with those terribly dark thoughts from time to time. **Honesty Alert** – I have been dealing with them in the past two months. Hard. I have been trying my best to not let it show, to stay upbeat, to remain sunny and positive on the outside.  No one likes a Debbie-Downer! No one wants to be around a morose person. Even my husband gets annoyed with me, tells me to “suck it up” or “snap out of it” (which really helps…).

Also? the crazy of Christmas does not help. I was very glad to see Christmas over this year. It was wonderful, I enjoyed being with my family, but when the tree left the house and the decorations were packed away, a whole weight of stress left with them. I breathed a sigh of relief when our schedule got back to normal. I have missed blogging, I had missed routine. I did not miss constant Christmas music…

But, it could also have been the allergic reaction I had to the tree left too making my entire body go “Thank the &^*% that is over!”… Jes sayin’…

When it comes to my blog and lack of blog posts, As I have mentioned before, I hate using it as a place to complain about stuff (unless with terrible jokes and in light of larger issues and fun). It all seems so trivial when I try to put it down on paper and justify why I feel so horrible about myself, or my current life. Do I have a right to be down and out? I have so much to feel blessed about. It would be rude of me to do woe and angst, when so many others have so much less than I, or are far less lucky in life than I. I should be ashamed for how I am feeling, right? No one needs to hear about my sadness, or my struggles. they all have their own &*^% to deal with. I can’t burden others. Besides, no one likes a complainer. So the blog stays quiet, like a pond in the morning sunrise *cue swelling music* and I didn’t write because I didn’t want to be negative.

Yeah. WTF, lady? Reach out, ask for help, vent to someone. It does good, remember? Writing it down makes you happier. Talking to people makes you more grounded. Durr…

So a week or so ago I did say something to someone (or several someone’s), and almost immediately the tension lifted. I felt better, I felt understood, and I mentally shook myself like a wet sheepdog. I realized I indeed don’t need to give in to the overwhelmed, tired and down monsters. I actually ran last week. Three times! And wrote! And am writing here! I also am sleeping better! And not having anxious, heart-pounding, sweaty panic attacks anymore (at least a week has gone by where I have not had one, now…)

Jeebus… Rollercoaster ride, anyone?

The amount that simply telling someone “I’ve had a hard time lately” helped was immediately noticeable. True, the lack of light, the beastly winter weather we’ve had, huge allergic reactions to dry air and the *&%^ing Christmas tree, constant cold after cold courtesy of my youngest, and various other stressful family and life situations have been wearing me down like water on a stone. But it helped.

The Dowager is hilarious, and I love her lines. But in reality, sometimes I need to stop worrying about being the “good girl” and just get it off my chest. I need to let others help me shake it loose. ♥

 

 

 

Kabooms

So, for the past few months, I have been a tad rudderless when it came to goals. I was in maintenance mode, a little adrift. I have started a strength routine, but for the past two weeks have not really had much luck getting to the gym with flu and general December scheduling making it near impossible. September through end of December is really a crazy time of year with our house. I should know this by now.

So, yeah… Not fitnessing near as much as I “should”; let the internal browbeating begin.

But, last week, I relented and put away the stickfoam roller I had been (mentally) flogging myself with. I started saying “I’m ok with this. This is a journey, and I will not beat myself up for not going full bore.”

I have done that in the past, fretted over missed workouts, fretted over not being as balls-to-the-walls as I think I should be, having nightmares of never going to the gym again, and crying because I can’t run and am “missing out” on the opportunities and gains I could have had. I am hard on myself in that regard and have had to really try hard at letting that go a bit. I have two little kids that need their mama. I have a full-time job. I have a husband who is working INSANE hours right now and has his own fitnessing three mornings a week (Crossfit, yo!). I have a home that I need to keep decent (hahaha… well, semi-decent) because my husband can’t help out as much. The run will always be there, the gym isn’t going anywhere, and I have time. No goals, right? Just taking the lull to work on steady, smart gains with no injury. Be at peace with your effort. Own the run, right?

It is still a big ole ball of stress-o-rama, but I am coping, rationalizing, and trying my best.

On this Friday past, I spent the evening with some women I cherish. They have been supporters, ears, shoulders, and sweat-mates for a little while now. We are all working hard to keep balance, some of us with young kids, some of us with massive, amazing goals.  They all inspire me, and push me without even realizing it and I wish I could see them more often.

We were talking about our fitness and body struggles, and something stuck with me. I have not seen my scale (or jean size) move up or down more than 5 pounds since last year. Yup. I have been stagnant. Plateaued, if you will. It has been on and off frustrating, since I tend not to weigh myself that often, so when I am not near a scale I don’t think about it much. But nevertheless I would love to see a smaller me, as I have mentioned before. I focus on strong, I focus on being fit, not a size or weight, but with that, comes the desire to have less to haul around on a run, or less of a “folding accordion” in my middle when I do back squats (complete with off-key, feeble whooshing noises. Heh.).

But, one friend pointed out “You have maintained for over a year! That is a big deal!” – KABOOM moment. Yeah! I have! I have not gone back up to a size 22 and 220 pounds. I have not expanded while I was off, tending my hip and foot. I stayed status quo.

Holy &^%*balls, that was one of those things we call an epiphany, I think, right? I have maintained! That is great! Wow. I’m sure somewhere I had noticed I had not gained weight, but my brain is a sieve, and the grocery list/school paperwork/bill notices pushes that important affirmation out on a constant basis.

So that was what I was thinking about on Saturday morning at the pool, watching my kids bobbing about in the water. I was thinking I was going to be ok, and this week to go back to the gym would be really nice. That I might back off the weight and have a couple of really good mobility-inclined lift sessions to get back into positive headspace-land. I was absent-mindedly planning my schedule when I checked my email.

There was an email from InStride Events about a race. Then, my phone dinged at the same time, with a co-ordinating post from a running friend on Facebook where all the usual suspects were chiming in on how awesome [it] was going to be and that they had signed up and YAHOO!

Yup. A race. In April. 16 km was the distance all my friends were aiming for. 50% off until end of December.

*cue intake of breath, heart-speeding up, and fingers twitching*

As with most of my goal setting, the impulsivity stayed true to form, and I signed up while sitting at the bench, with my phone. The woman beside me was impressed I was signing up, so I tried to be nonchalant while inside I was FREAKING OUT. I was sitting rigid, trying not to shake.

Dramatic much? Obviously… Either that or the coffee was finally hitting my bloodstream. 8:45 lessons are early for me, on a Saturday. *eyerub*

Dear God, but I have committed to a big goal this time. I have never run 16 km before (Tough Mudder doesn’t count. That is officially classified as a 16km trudge). I don’t know if I will be able to by April. I’m worried my hip won’t handle the running. I already know I will be super slow (which is not a big deal, really) and will likely be doing intervals. Part of me has utter confidence I can do this and RAHHH! RUUUUUN!!! The other half is really worried I just bit off more than I should be chewing.

But that is the idea with goals. It has to be challenging, right? Like my Tough Mudder, like running a 10km “race” for the first time at New Years, like my Army Run 5 km waaay back when I first started this crazy journey… All of it has been a challenge.

So on April 27th, I’ll be running the Manotick Miler 10 mile distance with a bunch of friends. http://manotickmiler.com/ is the race website, and until December 31st, you can register with a 50% discount (very much worth it, IMHO). I ran the 10km distance last year and enjoyed myself, loved my finish photo, and was impressed with the setup. Well run, smaller, and really encouraging volunteers. Also, Manotick is very pretty, and there is a Gingerbread cookie store there. I know, right? Omnomnomnom…

So much for a lull in my training goals, and being able to simply focus on steady, smart gains! In January, my feet have to start hitting the pavement again. Now, to buy new shoes, a new running jacket, fight forschedule time to do long runs, and a find a sensible training plan… Anyone got any suggestions? ♥

Twelves

You know, I realized this morning I swear a lot. (Note: this post contains many <bleeps>)

In my head, out loud sometimes, and yes, occasionally, in front of the kids. I swear to alleviate pain when stepping on a random tiny toy, to relieve pressure when I can’t get my coffee mug lid off, and when I am frustrated beyond belief at my husband. I also swear when someone cuts me off in traffic, I break a nail, and I spill my coffee. If I am not careful, someone may, at some point, rename me Ian McShane.

I try not to… Honestly! But it just comes out. They say people who swear a lot are more trustworthy and dependable… If so, I am on par with Mother Theresa. The logic is sound, right?

But this morning I swore heavily. Half under my breath, since I didn’t want to be disruptive. But swear I *&^%ing did, and for good reason. I was standing in front of my locker at the gym, my hair dripping wet, my too small towel grasped in one hand around my middle, and my outstretched hands holding my %^*& jeans in the other.

Holding jeans should not elicit Potty Mouth, you say, but I beg to differ on this. Especially this morning. @#$& yes.

last night, I was exhausted, and packing for the gym the next morning. I get everything ready to go, so all I have to do is stumble to the bathroom, put on workout clothes, blindly grope to the kitchen, wolf down Breakfast #1, and grab my lunch from the fridge. From there, I can ZombieMom walk to the livingroom, put on my outdoor clothes, pick up my backpack, plug in my music, and leave. Make it easy and it will happen, right? This morning was no exception. Walking outside woke me right the *&^% up. Lord love us, but that was a brisk walk to the bus.

So back to last night, as I was blearily putting day clothes into my pack, I grabbed the first pair of jeans off the stack in my drawer. I assumed they were a pair in “rotation” (what, doesn’t everyone have a jean rotation? Only me? Oh… #organizedfreak) and threw them in. No biggie, off we go. Easy-peasy-porkie-pie. (Mmmm… Pie.)

Cue aprés workout.

I pulled the jeans out of the pack, and looked at them. Hmm… I don’t recall my currently fitting jeans having that blue a denim colour. Hmm… I don’t recall my currently fitting jeans having that long a leg. Hmm… Let’s check the label.

“Oh ^&*%ity, %^&$, @#$*!”. <– Exact words, people. What I was staring at were a pair of size 12 Old Navy jeans that are supposed to be living in my “Not yet fitting” storage pile. They somehow made it from the closet into my dresser, to the top of my jeans pile. In all my productivity this weekend, they made that journey across the floor of the bedroom, and likely, in my blind focus to cleanoutallthethings™, I just threw them in.

Aww… @#$%.

So here I am naked, showered, and contemplating the fact that I have no *^&%ing pants to wear. I looked at the sodden mess of workout clothes currently on the floor, and felt the ick of putting cold, wet, stinky capris back on. I contemplated that I would be late for work because I would have to wait until the stores in the mall opened and go buy myself a *@$#ing pair of jeans that fits. I contemplated how I can barely afford to do that right now.

I contemplated crying.

Then I contemplated trying them on. Yes, I &^%$ing did. I wiggled into my compression underwear, and stuck a leg bravely in. Then the other.  With a silent prayer to the Cellulite Gods, I pulled the &%$#ers up, did the wigglebounce that all women do as they put on jeans. Wigglebounces are mandatory when putting on freshly washed, tight jeans, I think.

Now, bear in mind, the last time I tried these on I could not get them over my MoonHips®. I could not even think about doing them up. I have been in a size 14 pant for many, many months now. I was dubious, and already thinking about where I could pull cash from, and hoping the sale at Old Navy was still on.

I looked down. They were on. Holy @*#%.

I experimentally pulled the edges of the button over towards one another. I prayed some more, and the button met the button hole with a little effort. Then, I did Zipper Yoga™ and slowly, the zipper inched its way up to the top.

Holy Petunia eating a Fudgecicle, they were done up! Size &%$#ing TWELVE. I was euphoric for a moment, realizing that I could actually get the ^%$&ing things on and done up for the first time in a long time. Breathing was difficult, I felt like a stuffed sausage, and I am sure people were staringwondering if I was going to pop, but ^$%&, they were ON!

I immediately did a few experimental squats, leg lifts and such to work the jeans in a bit (I could SQUAT in a size 12 jean! WTF?). I was going on the principle of denim sag. We all know that Old Navy jeans go on super tight, and ten minutes later, you are hauling the *%$#^ed ass up when the spandex relaxes.

So kill me, I am too cheap to buy designer jeans… *sigh* Also? Can’t afford them. Seriously.

I am stubborn, and with a mirror examination to ensure I was indeed able to walk about in them without embarrassing myself, I wore the &^%@ing things to work. I have a muffin top that I am hiding with a cardigan, they feel snug, and I may still go buy a pair at lunch because I get uncomfortable when they press on my C-Scar (anyone with a C-Scar will understand that kind of pain. Ow.). Also? I want to go try on a non-washed eleventy-billion times, not- shrunken pair of twelves for fun.

But they are on, I am at work, and that is a ^%#@ing achievement. I think that is something worth swearing about, don’t you? ♥

Morning Cold

There was no hot water in the showers at the gym this morning.

Random shrieks and unladylike words could be heard as I walked back to the change rooms, and there were hordes of women huddled in the sauna drying off, all impersonating wet, pissed off cats. I found it humorous until it was my turn to stand under the freezing, wet dribble coming from the shower head.

If I had wanted a cold shower, I would have stayed home and showered after my husband. *&^% it was cold. Not in a refreshing way at all. In a “Winter is coming” Stark family, miserable kind of way.

I did manage to bear the iciness to wash my hair and rinse off, and then I too huddled in the sauna with my fellow sufferers, making polite conversation while we all thawed our stiff, numb fingers enough to comb through our matted, frozen hair.

It was a steam sauna in there, with so many people coming in wet and shivering.

I mentioned it to the staff downstairs, and they did the eye-roll, “Yes, slave, we’ll look into it” thing. Have I mentioned that I loathe the fact that this gym chain is the ONLY ONE NEAR MY WORK that I can afford? *grump-bitch-moan* I am hoping the walk from this gym to my work, come winter, won’t suck, but I am not holding my breath. Sparks St. has a wind that whips down it that is really nasty in the winter. Imma gonna need some mukluks and a ski mask. It will be worth it for towel service, cardio machines that work, and a locker door that closes properly.

You know, luxuries like that. *snark*

Despite the apres-workout nastiness of a morning alternative to coffee, I did have a good workout. I am two cycles into my New Rules of Weightlifting (http://www.amazon.ca/The-New-Rules-Lifting-Women/dp/1583333398) stage 1 workouts. There are two workouts in stage 1 that you alternate 2 to 3 times per week, A and B. The A workout is exhausting, but doable, and the B workout is really intense. Usually, by the time I walk from the gym to my work (about 1.5k) I am ready to sit for awhile and drink my bladder-busting sized coffee (read: NOT a morning person).

How do I know this routine is kicking my *&^? By the time I am ready to walk to the bus to go home, I am hobbly and stiff. Likely from sitting at my desk for extended periods, and also because my body is still getting used to being active again, now that I am no longer injured, and it is freaking out.

Don’t even talk to me about DOMS the next day. Oh Lord, getting out of bed sucks, and sitting down or putting socks on makes me utter a sound like a 3rd grader playing a violin for the first time.

These are short, intense workouts, and even though I feel like I am doing less, I feel it more. Ow. I do add in extras at the beginning and end of the workouts, for warm up, and my physio stuff at the end. Sometimes cardio too, if I have time. It feels great to get back to it, to be honest. I would love to do three workouts a week, but getting to the gym on the weekend is difficult, and going two days in a row would kill me, I think.

Well, maybe I wouldn’t literally die, but I’d be ridiculously grumpy when moving at all would cause pain.

I am hoping to get back to Solefit in the next week or so to test out new shoes, and then, I am starting back to running (beginner 1:1’s) at lunch, on non-workout days, which will help. I am looking forward to winter running again. I loved it last year.

I have a goal of March to see how this program does for me to gain some strength, and hopefully some muscle definition, or the start of it. I would love to lose some inches and fat, but I am not going to get disappointed if it takes a long time. I am keeping my eye on the Strong prize.

Rawrr! ♥

Prone Jackknives

Today, I did prone jackknives on a stability ball and DIDN’T FALL OFF.

I managed to do two sets of 10 ( in a two round set with step ups) without coming off the damned thing onto the floor in front of the ridiculously good looking guy who was doing lat pulldowns, not far away. I even managed to do 10 reps instead of the required 8 because I forgot and did two extra reps (doh…).

I had to use a gynormous stability ball that came to my waist, because all the little ones were taken, so instead of hands on the floor, I used a window ledge. My arms wouldn’t have reached the floor properly, and I so woulda faceplanted on the rubberized matting.

Oh so attractive, and kinda ouchy, really. So I avoided that. Yeah.

I was ready to tackle them, but was nervous, since I had never even heard of a prone jackknife before two days ago when I wrote out the first stage of my new gym plan in my Moleskine. I’m game to try stuff, everyone knows that, I just didn’t want to do the gym dork thing in front of people who look like they have their &^*% together in the weight room. Self-conscious, maybe, but there it is.

This was day ONE (Uno?) of my new training plan. The hardest set? 15 pushups, followed by 15 rep seated rows, x 2 (I did standing rows with barbell since the cable machines were all taken). Sweaty, drippy mess at the end, and every pushup sucked (read the word sucked, channeling Cookie Monster, like this: “suuuuu-uuuuuucked”).

So, for those curious cats out there, here is a prone jackknife. (Note: I do not look near this co-ordinated or effortless. grunts and wobbles are a required part of the rep, in my case. Heh.)

So, if you were walking on Spark’s St around 7:15 am and saw a crazy girl propped on the window ledge rolling a bouncy ball the same size as herself back and forth with her legs, that was me. My abs are now jello. Brushing my hair in the change room made my belly do a Father Christmas dance and I swore my arms were going to fall off at the shoulder.

But… At least I did no faceplants, falls, or otherwise damaging things to my person today, and I was awake in time to get to the bus leisurely (dressed like a hobo with extra layers and a massive backpack to lug all my gym *&^%) and calmly.

Progress? Good Lord… I think so.

Dammit…

I think the universe it trying to kill me. Or maybe just maim me. I should have stayed in bed.

This morning, while hefting to the bus at 5:56 AM, I stepped on the curb at the crosswalk to get to my bus stop, and my foot landed on one of a row of rocks someone had helpfully placed along the edge. Which I could not see in the pitch dark because my neighbourhood seems to think streetlights aren’t important.

Karma, why you gotta hate? I am a nice girl, I pay my taxes, I hold the door for people… Seriously.

Upon contact with one of the nefarious rocks, I took two crazy steps out, lost my balance, and fell smack dab in the middle of the intersection. As I was falling, “This is gonna hurt” flashed through my brain pan, and then the side of my head and jaw hit the pavement, along with my right arm and left knee.

I splatted out, dudes, in pure Bambi fashion. My lunch bag spilled everywhere, and I squished my banana. I lost my yogurt spoon somewhere in the dark. Since my bus was due any moment, I did a quick physical check of all hurty areas, gasped a few times, let a few tears out, and then scrambled to continue up to the bus stop.

The gentleman (may I use the term with sarcasm?) sitting at the stop saw the whole thing. He never even got up, or asked if I was ok as I limped up to the bench and sat down to make a more thorough check of my various whacked body parts. However, he did stare at me the whole time, like a stunned owl.

Thankfully, his bus came just before mine, and he left. Nice.

Oh, and for the record, no blood! Go me! I had no worries of vampires coming out of the gloom and attacking me because I suddenly smelled delicious. (This is both good and bad, I suppose *lesigh*)

Once downtown in the still pitch black, I got off a stop too early because a woman was spraying herself with perfume from the seat behind me. Spraying perfume! ON A BUS! What the *^&% are you thinking, lady? Half the bus emptied, people coughing and wiping their eyes. Several people informed the driver as we were all evacuating.

I swear, sometimes people can be such douche-canoes.

When I finally got to the gym, I was limping, ragey, and slightly worried I had sprained or broken my pinkie finger (it is not, thank God, I can move it just fine now, even though it is a bit sore). The thought of picking up a dumbbell was immediately dissuaded when I tried to put on my gloves. OW, %*^&ity, OW!

So I did some of my physio floor exercises and then a ten minute walk/jog on a treadmill (with a TV on it! OMG this gym is a palace compared to my normal location) to flush out my already aching legs.

Ok, so my whole body was aching at this point. I was hating every stinkin’ moment being in the gym so early. My jaw was sore. I was hungry. I needed caffeine. The fact that there was three flights of stairs to get back to the change rooms was making me want to punch things. I was feeling bloated and fat with all the tiny Lululemon’ed bodies prancing around.

Above all else? I was mad that I squished my banana.

It is supposed to get easier, right? I know I’m not a morning person bit ^*%&, cut me some slack, world. Let’s hope today gets better, alright?

*#@%.

Scheduling Motivation

I escaped to the gym yesterday. For two hours!

I know! Cray-zee.

I even got to lift a bit, sandwiched between a bunch of walking walls who never put their massive dumbbells and curl bars away. I sent looks to each and every dude that I hope ESP’ed “Hey you, over there! Use your beefy, swole muscles for something other than decoration and Put. Your. Equipment. Away.” *flail*

Today, my quads are thanking me in that strange way where they hurt to move. You’re welcome, weakling muscle group-of-mine. *slap* Ow.

I haven’t been able to go for awhile, the crazy of work and home life angered the Schedule Gods and WHEEE I blinked and two weeks went by with me eating at my desk, rushing to and fro work and other such fun (like pedestrians who run into traffic, doctors appointments, and Mount Laundry). I still managed to walk a lot, and I do my stationary stretches for my hip. This helps. I feel less sloth-like, if not working out, at least I am not sedentary.

Last week, I was feeling frustrated about not getting to the gym. I was feeling restless, wanting to start my new lifting routine. I am feeling put out because our cash flow is not letting me get into a running store to grab the shoes I need to try out at Solefit. I want to get running again, %&^$! My favorite time of year to run is coming up. I miss my main source of exercise endorphins.

I want to get sweaty, red-faced and heaving again, &^$#! The first run back for me will be quite an emotional thing, perchance. Anyone want to run with me and pat my shoulder while I messy-cry? *crickets*… Yeah, I wouldn’t want to either.

When talking to my husband about the lack of direction in my fitness, and feeling a little frustrated about a practical solution to schedule it in so I don’t impact my family, he got all righteous with me and said “Well, change it!” or “Just go!”  or “Only you can change that” (various conversations over time, you see) and I want to smack him with something heavy. Thank you, Mr. Obvious. Ever so helpful with the encouragement, suggestions, and empathy, there . {insert sarcasm face}

AUGH! Men… *flail* Despite his *I&%^ delivery method, he is trying to tell me that he thinks I can figure it out. Thank you, Dear. Come closer, I want to try the balance out on the new frypan.

So, that said, I am left with this dilemma. Lunch is not working out so well, the demands of work and getting *&^% done means walking to the gym, and getting back in reasonable time is impossible. After work is not so good, because I need to be home for my family. Weekends are a rare thing where I can zot off for an hour or two. It can happen, just not often enough for it to be routine.

So that leaves… Mornings.

Early mornings, on the days my husband is not already gone for his own time. Yeah… Mornings. *thud*

Those who know me, know that dragging my ^&% out of bed a moment before I have to is an effort akin to taking elephants over the mountains. I am not a morning person. At all. For me to exercise without first having caffeine is a scary thing. For me to be alert and aware of my surroundings, I need at least a half an hour to stupidly wander my house, walking into things and saying “whut?” a lot while pushing frizzy bedhead out of my eyes.

It is not pretty. I am amazed my husband married me, after experiencing me in the morning.

So this week, I’m going to cause people to start looking out for flying pigs, or the four horsemen of the Apocalypse to ride by on the Express bus. I am going to be out, waiting for a bus at 6 Am on Tuesday. This will get me downtown in time to go to the gym and be able to take my time with my routines, not have to rushrushrush and feel stressed. I am leaving the herding of small humans out the door to my husband. Muhahahaha *cough*.

I’m going to hit up a location that was recently renovated, since the location closest to my work is a freakin’ hole. Seriously, they may have newer weight equipment, but when none of the showers work properly (or hooks and shelves to put your shower *&^% on), the treadmills are ALWAYS out of order, there is NEVER a squat rack available, and finding a locker is needle-in-haystack frustrating…

I am willing to walk further to get nicer facilities. Or… At least hot water from a shower head that doesn’t spit in all directions.

If it works, we’ll repeat on Thursday. So I’m warning you, on Tuesday, cover your heads, because…

Stubborn

So I am two weeks into my physiotherapy for my hip. It is starting to feel better. Less pinchy pain, less night time aches, no more cane or limp.

This is a good thing. This is a great thing! I am way less grumpy. I think. Maybe. After coffee for sure, at least.

But… I still have a ways to go, and perhaps even longer, once more diagnostics are done (I sound like a car in the shop… haha). I have to schedule x-rays for my hip and my right foot, and I am not starting strength physio exercises yet, as the hip is still sore after simple stretches.

Awesome. I feel as weak as a kitten, and slowly going twitchy from the lack of sweat-induced endorphins. Thank God for Full Moon yoga on Wednesday night. I needed that, even if I had to modify a lot of the poses. Girlfriend time is a necessary activity, and I got to catch up with two great friends this week, one at yoga, and another in the yoga section of a Chapter’s. I feel more balanced emotionally than I have felt for a long time.

I need to remember to do this more often. Both the yoga and the coffee/shopping/friend time.

I have several girlfriends I have not seen in awhile and I want to get together with them soon. I am thinking, once September back to school craziness settles, I am going to send out a gathering call. (You know who you are, ladies, let’s organize something! Ideas, times, dates are all welcome. *whispers* Le Nordik?)

Wednesday’s doctor’s appointment (before the late-night Om) was a good and bad news kind of thing. My doctor was in agreement about the bursitis (but not the fat shaming either, both my physiotherapist and my doctor think he is a total $^%hat, which was nice to hear, since I, of course, had to regale them with the tale) and upon thorough examination of my foot, thinks I have Metatarsalgia, (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/metatarsalgia/DS00496) and a stress fracture along the inside of the foot, hence the searing pain, stiffness, and leg pain I had two weeks ago. Given the sensitivity I had as he poked and prodded, he thinks it is quite severe fracture, and likely I have been trodding on it for some time. He also indicated that I have a crazy high pain tolerance, since most folks with a stress fracture over a longer period of time would be on crutches by now.

Not me, apparently, I keep running on mine, and walking 3k a day to and fro work. Crazy chit. Looney tune. Stubborn &^$.

Thinking back, I rolled that foot on a pine cone at Tough Mudder way back in May. Since Tough Mudder, I have had on/off foot and leg pain, thinking it a mild strain and resting it appropriately (ice, rest, worry and then denial). A week before my leg pain got really bad, I rolled the same foot funny on a run downtown. After a longer day walking, it does get quite sore, so…

Duh-oh. Sabby can’t ignore it anymore.

Thankfully, the solution for metatarsalgia is proper foot support, and rest. So I have a lovely prescription for gait analysis and orthotics. Once I am cleared for light duty running, I am getting that done. Rather be able to stride fluidily when the expert-dude watches me run and then asks me how I ever made it as far as I did without killing myself. Heh. The bright hope, in that analysis, is that if I do need full blown expensive orthotics, it is benefit covered, AND I would likely be able to move into a neutral runner, which will satisfy my shallow desire for a bright, screamy, flashy shoe. Oh yes… I am aware how ridiculous that sounds. Hah.

So, with all this, the stretches I faithfully do every day, and the upcoming plan for strengthening, I am taking stock of my progress.

I am desperately trying not to get too frustrated that I can’t run, can’t weight train, and most definitely cannot do bootcamps, kettlebells (so much for finishing the awesome class I was taking, through the city), or other such fun cardio/strength workouts. A great friend is teaching a boot camp class in September close to my home, and I started to cry when I found out about it. Every fibre of my being wanted to sign up and go have fun, but it starts in September, and there is no way I will be ready for that level of intensity by then. Maybe October. I am hoping she has success with her first month of classes and we have a nice October and she offers it again.

But I need to heal, and I am getting there. Stubborn as I am, I am really taking the “heal” part to heart, and trying my best to do the right thing. Not easy.

Hip-Checked

no_grumpy_cat_wallpaper-medium-290x200Reality has hit with a thud. But it was a soft landing, and I am already getting back up. Slowly… But I am. I even have a cane!

Last week I was grumpy, so I stayed away from my blog. I did not want to fill my little tiny corner of the Interwebs with my grumpiness.  We have Grumpy Cat for that (look at that adorableness!)

Also? I didn’t know what to write. I was down in the dumps and pity-partying.

I finally gave in to the pain and hobbled to the Emergency room last week to have someone look at my right leg and foot. I was beginning to worry it was a blood clot or something more sinister than a pulled muscle/tendon. The pain was getting worse, and travelling up my leg. Not a good sign, people.

The doctor looked me over, said it was indeed likely a muscle pull, that I needed a few days of complete rest, physiotherapy, and perhaps not run for a few weeks. OK. *cue sadface*. But, I had, in my hot little hand, a prescription for physio, so I could claim  the visit fees. Yes!

The leg, after a weekend of some activity and some rest is much better, the toes still sore, but manageable. So last night, at my physio intake assessment, we decided to focus on my hip for now, and look at gait and locomotion later on. My goal, as we decided, was to identify why the hip has gotten this way, and how we can best work towards prevention in the future as I get back to doing what I really want to do, which is run, do obstacle races, weight train, and kick some serious butt being active.

Some things became apparently clear as he made me do a bunch of fun exercises akin to getting stopped by the RIDE program on a Saturday night (Not that I have ever done that, I’ve seen it plenty).

  1. I have very weak quads. When I had to use them to press back on the therapist’s hold on my leg, I collapsed like a jumble of carrots.
  2. MY hamstrings are compensating for my weak quads, and could hold up a Mack truck, if asked.
  3. My calf muscles are very tight, and the left one is bigger than the right. Why? See #4.
  4. My left leg is shorter than my right (no surprise there). Not by much, but enough that a) I over-pronate more on that side which b) makes my hip, IT Band, and calf work harder, which c) causes #alltheproblems.
  5. My right toe pain is likely because they take more impact than my left toes, due to the leg length issue + compensation for the issues on my left side.
  6. I have a click in my left hip when I raise the leg up to 90 degrees and bring it back down that the therapist did not like.

it-band-and-trochanteric-bursa2So the diagnosis of bursitis is correct (the previous doctor’s fat shaming wasn’t). Basically, the IT Band gets hella tight, it rubs on the bursae sac that cushions it from the Trocanter, and voila, irritation. With the irritation comes gait compensation, which leads to the muscle imbalance. Erg. The diagram on the left kinda explains it better. The red thing is the IT Band (as labelled), the yellow thing is the bursae.

From what I can gather, this is not an uncommon problem for runners. I can kick myself a little for ignoring the soreness, which caused further damage.  I can also kick myself for not focusing more on my quads. However, not all of it is my fault, since some of it comes from my body and how it is made.

The therapist was surprised my knees weren’t sore because of my tight IT Bands. He was also really surprised I was not in a lot of pain, given the mobility differences left to right, and what stretches caused my hip to hurt. He said I should have been in agony when he bent my leg back. I wasn’t. it was uncomfortable, but not screamy-type pain.

This indicated I have gotten used to it, and that my pain threshold is high. Goody?

So the plan is this:

  • Two visits a week to yon physiotherapist for a month or so to get working on the various stiff, sore and needy spots on my body.
  • RMT twice a month
  • Orthotic assessment once the hip is working better (i.e. I can move freely)
  • MRI done to rule out any other issues in the hip
  • Return to strength exercises once the irritation is gone, focusing on rebuilding some of the imbalances
  • Return to running once my hip is pain free, and my right leg is completely healed, starting with low, slow mileage, no speed work for some time, no hills for some time.
  • Ongoing physio for the imbalances until the therapist deems me “solved”

I’m happy to be starting a more regimented plan to get better. I am tired of being in pain. As usual, I had no idea how much pain I was in until I stopped running and really listened to my body, instead of pushing through. I’ll admit, I was doing the “what if” thing, worried I would have to stop running, worried I was going to have to drastically alter my fitness goals. Worried I was going to have to simply deal with pain for the rest of my life.

Numpty. I will get better and I will get back out there. Just might take awhile.

Squeezing Lemons

Today has me thinking about sizes. Specifically, for work out clothes.

Being a larger gal, I sometimes have trouble finding a size that fits me properly when I am buying running specific gear. Work out tops never fit the way they are supposed to, rolling up, fitting loose on the bust and tight at the belly. Pants are either too long in the leg when they fit the waist, assuming I am a 6′ giant if I have a waist that big, or so tight at the waist I’d have to wear spanx underneath them to get them to fit (which I have done… Don’t judge, people, I looked fierce and no one was the wiser). I have worn XXXL running pants, when my normal jean size at Old Navy is a 12 to 14. I kid you not. I cut the tag off, because they fit awesome and I liked them. Stupid numbers mean nothing, right?

It is frustrating though…. In my darker moments, I rant and rail at sports clothing companies who defer “plus” size to the back of the store, ignore it completely, or assume that plus size is something I would consider skinny. I get pissed off when I want to buy a brand I really like, but can’t because they don’t have my “size”. I mean come on! Fat girls run! Fat girls do yoga! Fat girls spin and weight train! AUGH! *flail*

It can really, really suck any positive self-esteem right out of you when you are shopping for cute work out clothes (or clothes in general, really) and none are to be had within your reach. Plus sized exercise clothing stores are out there, and more and more are coming on board, like Old Navy, Gap, H & M, Sportive Plus, http://www.junonia.com/&#8230; There are tons out there, Google is your friend. This is a good thing.

But are any as lucrative and sought after as popular brands that “everyone” wears? Are they as stylish and trendy as that popular brand? Hmmm…

The catalyst for this train of thought today is because I read an article about Lululemon coming under fire for “fat shaming”. http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2013/08/lululemon-under-fire-for-fat-shaming-marketing.html is the article. So I thought I would put down my own thoughts about this controversy, be they good or bad. I am aware some of what I think might seem disrespectful or slightly bitchy, or defending Lululemon without regard to how they make larger women feel… But remember, I am there with you. I jiggle my size 14 arse into that store and come away empty handed too. I love their styling, I love the colours, and sometimes wish I too could fit into those tiny stretchy shorts I see on every single other woman when I go to yoga.

For the record, I do not fit into Lululemon yoga pants. Their tops, their bras… but not the damned pants. It has caused me woe in the past, I won’t lie, and I have made mental fists at the Lululemon brand and said “You suck, make plus size!”. I don’t anymore though.

Continue reading

Downtown is my Playground

I’ve been sitting on a post detailing downtown workouts for quite some time now, and frankly, forgot about it until my workout yesterday. I have this treasure trove of drafted posts that I really need to mine more often. Would you like to hear what I really think of Fifty Shades of Grey?

Didn’t think so. That’s why that particular post has hit the dusty “drafts” bin. Erk.

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Stairs in Major’s Hill Park

Anywho… I did not want to go for a “run” yesterday. I was dreading the aches and pains, I was eyeing the angry black-blue stormclouds, and I was definitely not feeling energetic enough to lace up and go 5k along the river. I was also not keen to run along at a slow enough pace that everyone also running would pass me. Yes, shallow, but there it is.

I wanted to feel powerful and athletic, and knew that with my headspace at that particular moment, I would not. I would feel slow and fat.

Stawp. I know. I’m working on it.

I posted on my weight loss support group that I didn’t want to go, and someone tell me to go *grumble arggg*. More to put it out there that I needed to, so I would, more than needing the responses of “GO!”. Accountability, thou art a beast.

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Zig Zag Path behind the National Art Gallery

I went. (FYI, thank you, ladies.)

I rarely give myself music to listen to anymore, keeping the earbuds out, or listening to an audiobook if it is a longer run. I want to learn to run without it (can’t do Spartans and Tough Mudders with music, y’all), and really, I need the silence sometimes, to zone out and quiet my &^%*ing brain. Today, I plugged into some music. I needed the boost, and chose a Slacker channel with ultra-trendy pop that normally makes me want to bash things, listening to lyrics of teh stoopid. (my apologies to anyone who enjoys top 40 pop. There are some songs I do like, don’t get me wrong, but man…)

As I got going, I started to feel less draggus-buttis, so I decided to go as fast as I could for as long as I could then walk or jog to recover (sprint, medium pace, walk, repeat), then go to Major’s Hill Park and do some stretching for my poor hip, keep it easy, make sure I was taking care of myself. I like hanging out in the park stretching too, and it was a beautiful day to do it. Under my favorite shade tree, people playing, the wind coaxing stories out of the branches above me… Perfect. (edit: My very favorite shade tree was toppled in yesterday’s storm. I stood in the park today, efforting not to cry. I was NOT the only one in this state either.)

Something happened as I ran North on Sussex, though. I started feeling playful. Maybe it was the music that I was listening to… I have no idea where it came from. So when I got to the Saudi Embassy, I veered and ran down the grass terraces beside it to the pathway below, leaping over the wooden dividers as I strode down, repressing the urge to go “RAHHH!” as I bounded. I crossed under the bridge, and then ran along (up and down? it is a hilly bit of road.) Lady Grey drive, finally veering back to Sussex up a bicycle path ramp. I practiced my trail clinic “spin” steps to get up that hill and I was pleased to reach the top NOT stumbling and swearing.

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Stone Benches in Major’s Hill Park
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Alcove between the national Art Gallery and the Canadian Mint. The lightposts are perfect to “weave” through.

Aside: I tell you, learning how to run up hills at that trail running clinic was a friggin’ epiphany. Until I am much, much fitter, this technique is making hills a butt-tonne less intimidating! I may take forever to get up them, but I get up them without killing myself, my quads, or my self-respect! Win!

I was starting to get winded, and my right toes were aching. I was running faster than I normally do, and it was hard work on the pavement. I slowed down and turned through the alleyway between the Gallery and the Mint, and I weaved through the light poles, making my way towards Nepean Point. At the back of the Gallery is a zig-zag peagravel pathway that climbs up the hill towards a strange, crooked needle statue. I ran that too, “spinning”. The gravel was hard to run in, so it was kind of a necessity. *crunch-crunch-crunch-crunch*

Once I descended past the “Giant Iceberg”, I crossed to Major’s Hill Park and sprinted up the hill by the washrooms to the main open area. I stopped my Garmin and Runkeeper, barely able to catch my breath. I had gone less than 2k. For a moment I felt ridiculous for only going that far and feeling so wretched. My God, my cardio has gone to &*%$.

But I recalled the hills, the gravel, and the jumping and such and didn’t feel so bad. I decided to continue around the park for a bit, doing a loop slowly to really feel my footstrike and form, then jumping up and down stairs, stone benches, and hills. I trotted back over to the Gallery when I got bored of that, and decided to end on 10 “sets” of stairs at the amphitheatre, my favorite place to stair climb since it is shaded and steep. Up, down. Up, down. I was waiting for security to come over and banish me (the security at the NAG are not very much fun, I can attest to this) but they never did. A few families negotiating the stairs looked at me funny, and an old man sat on a bench in the alcove watching me open-mouthed. When I passed him afterwards, he muttered something about “dangerous to be runnin like that” and I suppressed a giggle. Hey, it wasn’t long ago that women were told their uterus would fall out if they ran, and it was dangerous for women to do any sport at all!

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National Art Gallery Amphitheatre stairs

Truth!

I did a few of these workouts last summer, and loved them every time. Usually spontaneous, I travel from spot to spot, looking at what is available and simply “playing”. Running obstacle races this Spring reminded me that I need to do more of this kind of thing, not just steady state running, or intervals. I need to jump around, get used to stopping and starting. Taking the trail running clinic really opened my eyes, and now I work on the muscles that let me react to changing terrain, going uphill and downhill with corners, all that crazy stuff.

Where better to do all that than here? The workout was 45 minutes total. I was drenched. I was exhausted. I had, in less than 5k, likely burned more calories than running the loop run. I felt better about myself too.

Clearly I need to do this more often. ♥

Armouring

I think I may be on the injured list, or about to be.

I was doing fire hydrants at Yoga on the Hill, grimacing in pain as my left hip protested the stretch. You aren’t supposed to grimace during yoga, right? Pigeon hurt like a %^&#er, and any opening of the hip was met with trepidation. I was limping by the time I got back to work.

I realized, right then, that I need to see someone about this damned joint. Rest, stretching, some physio exercises, anti-inflammatories… They aren’t workin’. Subsequently, my right foot and shin are getting stingy sore again. Walking on my right toes hurts, and this morning I could barely flex my ankle down, the strong, tight, stingy feeling travelling up from under my second toe, into my knee on the inside of my shin. Walking to work sucked this morning, yo. Also? I have one ear that is blocked, I can’t hear out of it, my left shoulder hurts, and my right thumb is aching from trying to open my coffee mug this morning to clean it.

Aw, %*&#, man… Gimme a break, yeah?

I did some reading (last night) on foot pain, Diabetes, and joint imbalances. I know there may be a correlation, but I have chalked them up to my training, not my disease. My sugars are mostly under control, right? So it can’t be the disease…

I found this link, which I have verified elsewhere, but is the best explanation. https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/vod/vodsum0403.htm. So, I took my blood sugar. I had an ok dinner, followed by a tbsp of peanut butter with chocolate chips rolled across it only an hour before I tested. I figured that might put me a bit high, but not unusually so. Maybe a 10…

17.5. Wow.

So I took it again this morning before eating anything.

10.4. Eep. This is NOT normal for me, folks. Not at all.

I think it may be time to check my levels more frequently again. Last week I felt like crushed dung (maybe I should have been checking then? I am being lax in my self-care), and this week I have been a bit draggy, but more back to normal. Could my disease be rearing its head again? I have to admit, I am a bit scared if this foot pain is associated with the disease. My sugars have been fine when I do check them, but is it enough? Am I still getting worse? Should I have stayed on the Metformin, even though I hated it and it made me feel like a friggin’ yo-yo with hormonal issues, lurched my stomach around, and made other digestive processes really, really unpleasant?

*cue what if’s and nervous speculation on my inadequacies*

And of course, my doctor is on vacation until next month. Great.

On a positive note, I have managed to be active every day this week so far. My kettlebell class felt a bit easier this week, I did not feel like a beaten horse the next day. I think scaling down to the 8kg weight was a smart move until I am more acclimatized to the level of the workouts, and I am ok with that. I can move up when I am ready, no one is forcing me to fling hero weights around! The workouts are hard enough, let me tell you. I am a dripping, soggy, nasty, pukey mess at the end, and there is no endorphin high from it. I am exhausted.

I like the class, and am enjoying it, but if is what my husband feels like after Crossfit, I want no part of that world. Yuck. I can push myself in other ways without the torn skin on my palms, chalk rash (I am slightly allergic to chalk), or DOMS from the underworld.

Our instructor keeps threatening burpees, and I am still trying to figure out a way to politely decline doing them. My hip would likely crack open and I would collapse, one-legged and comatose. Burpees hurt right now.

So today I am going to try a run, tape up my toes and go. Light, taking my time, and if it hurts, I am going to stop. I’m also going to start carrying my test kit around again. *sigh* Time to put my armour back on. If the Diabetes Beast is back, and I have various aches and pains because of it, and I need to get this *^%& figured out.

Frozen Peas

I woke up this morning very, very groggy. I lay in bed, my daughter’s foot draped across my chest, her sleeping squirms rootling through the covers she had pushed off of me in the night, and I blinked. Her other foot was on my forehead. Just as I lifted my head away, she shoved with both feet, launched herself under her father’s pillow, then woke up saying “Mommy! Wake up! Breffest!”. How she can go from hard sleep to up and cheerful makes me wonder if she really is indeed my child.

I was up way too late last night. She slid off the bed, and I lay there a moment more, groaning about the injustices in this world that have me in a house full of morning people.

I went to Full Moon Yoga at Mooney’s Bay, here in Ottawa, last night. It started at 10, ended at 11, and I got home at midnight. I tip-toed into the dark house, re-locked the door, and as quietly as possible, slipped into bed (once I had checked Facebook, email, and updated my statuses, of course). I was pleasantly tired, despite the coffee I had consumed around 9.

It was worth it, being out that late, dragging myself a bit this morning. Time with friends, time focusing on me, and getting in a great stretch. Yesssss. Awesome.

I remember lieing in the grass, on my yoga mat**, listening to the slightly ruffling noise of the tiki torches, the occasional cough, and the silence. I stared up at the trees, feeling grounded, filled, blessed and happy. Various body parts ached, especially my left hip, which seemed to think that being lifted and stretched was cue for “hurt like a *%^&er”. Advil is my friend.

Husband and I looked pretty hilarious this morning. His Spartan Beast DOMS has set in, and I am limping just a little bit from yesterday’s efforts of a 5k walk/run and then yoga. We were pacing around the car to get in, him limping, me limping, both of us grimacing and grunting as we got in. Hah. How can you tell you have a family where mom and dad are active? Day after long run day means peas for dinner, because they were dethawed on various body parts over the course of the day LOL.

But… I am glad to be back to it, even if my right foot, left hip, and brain aren’t (this morning). Tonight? Kettlebells in the rain? Hopefully not. Rain, stay away.

Oh, and husband, can you pick up some frozen peas on your way home? We may need ’em tonight.

**I am never, ever buying another yoga mat other than a Lululemon one. Yes, they are worth the price, I kid you not. Finally got to use it outside for actual yoga last night and the difference between that mat and my cheap, Wally World pink thing is… Well, it is amazing. Simply amazing.

Breaks

Last week, I took a break. Literally. At one point yes, I was hiding under the covers, colouring (I have an app for that…) I did not run, or work out, or anything after Tuesday night.

I was horribly sick on Tuesday night too, after a really tough, hot kettlebell class (they are held outside) that had me seeing spots and sitting for some exercises near the end of the class. Thank God for the electrolytes I had packed and drained on the way home. I think it kept me from real damage, and I did not dehydrate, thankfully.

Heat exhaustion ain’t fun folks. This summer weather we’ve had is nutty. So much rain, goes from cold to hot in a blink… Go home Mother Nature, you’re drunk.

From Wednesday to Friday, I… I was not in a good place, and I hid. So I didn’t write much after Monday’s post. I didn’t want to be negative on my blog, and do the “Woe and Despair” dance that was coursing through my brain, and the effort to research my next bucket list post, or think about anything, was too much. Friday morning, I felt clear-headed again, and said, as I got up “I am through it” and started my day. I have no idea if I was sick, fending off some strange hormone low, or simply burnt out and needing some introvert time. I just felt unbelievably foggy, down, negative, achy, and sleepy.

But I am back now. With some thinking done too. Scary, I know… I do believe sometimes we need to step away from our day to day and take stock of our direction. I got to do that this past week.

On Sunday I realized I had not been running at all, and was palpably missing it. I am also missing simply moving, getting some strength workouts in. I have fallen off the wagon a little bit with regards to my fitness. I can feel it. Pushups are harder again. My stamina at fast cardio is not where it used to be. Don’t even talk to me about burpees *hiss*.

Not having a regular run club right now, not being in a sticky gym, not having the time or energy to just go… It can suck. Sunday I wanted to but was solo parenting while my husband finished off his Trifecta at the Spartan Beast. He’s done now, and really happy with his efforts. I think it also gave him guy time, which is always good. it makes him less cranky.

Now if I can just get him to get onto that “Honey Do” list… Heh…

This week, I hope to get back on the horse, figuratively. I have two and a bit months before my next obstacle race. I am missing every day sweating on purpose (not just standing around, like the weather the past two weeks has provided). So keep me accountable, folks! I want to try and at least do something every day this week. Today is a lunch workout of some sort, and full moon yoga tonight at 10. Tomorrow is kettlebells again, and hopefully it is not as hot. then I have Wednesday yoga at lunch, and runs to fit in on Thursday and Friday, then a long run at some point on the weekend, however, on Sunday, husband has a competition in the morning, so likely I cannot do a long run with friends… again. *grump*

Yes folks… It has happened. He is doing his first Crossfit “comp”. (Crossfit, yo).

You know what is going to happen next… I should really prepare for the “Honey, there is this competition in {insert city}…” and I will have to pull out the “I told you so!”.

Elbows In

Last night was a blast. An absolute and utter success. Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!

I have to tell you about it, because even though my glutes and knees are a wee bit screamy this morning, I am tired as heck, and quite possibly slap happy from teh tired… I am very excited about what I was able to achieve last night, and where I want to go with it. It was also awesome to share it with my friend, who looked very capable and with it.

I am so happy she suggested it, and we were able to arrange to get there.

I was able to run through some craggy, rocky paths, up a steep rock, down a steep rock, and up and down some mountain goat hills that before last night, I would have walked and picked my way through daintily. I kept up to the group well ( I am sure the instructor was not going very fast to keep the group together) and sometimes I found myself needing to slow down. Even though I was soaked in sweat (and maybe peed a little bit going back down the trail at the end, it was steep and rocky and I was running at a speed I thought was fast and it was a tiny, tiny bit unnerving… But just a little, honest!) with shaky legs, and breathing like a 60 year old smoker, I felt like I fit in. I did, however, feel much more colourful than anyone else there in my neon shirt and rainbow skirt, with my Rainbow Dash socks. *shrug* I was comfy, that was what mattered.

We started out doing some drills in the Camp Fortune parking lot. I can describe them to you in great detail, but if you are interested in trail running best-practices, my advice is to go to one of these clinics and try them out. Practicing with the careful progression of our instructor, Lise, was great to put the reason behind the ridiculousness we must have portrayed as mountain bikers rode past us. To understand the why as well as the proper form for them made all the difference. Really, Lise has this calm, confident poise to her expertise, but is down to earth and full of humour about her passion, both which naturally flowed from her example and explanation.

The drills were like high knees, butt-kickers, side steps, and some lifting steps that helped to engage the hips and gain awareness of foot placement. The idea of all of the high-stepping drills is to help you lift your feet up, (Hot lava! Don’t leave your feet on the ground for long!) engage your core, and ready yourself to run on trails with roots and rocks. No tripping, aye? Sit back and use your centre of gravity to balance on turns and hills. Use your arms to help push you up, and keep your elbows in to prevent side to side torsion on your midsection, which wastes energy and causes you to lose balance.

Guess what I do… Yup. My elbows stuck out like coat hangers. This is something I have always fought with both running, riding horses, and simply standing. I try, I really do, but they just want to float out! Something to work on this summer. If I do bring them in, my shoulders go to my ears. If I run naturally, my elbows go almost 90 degrees out from my body.*sigh*

We hit the mountain bike trails on the hill, and did some running, remembering to step lightly, lift our feet. We were taught how to “spin” up a steep incline (take small, quick steps to economize and get up a difficult climbing effort) and how to power up too. How to run downhill with cadence, brake, change direction, and pick a line. We also got the chance to practice this, a lot. It was so much fun, I felt like I was flying coming down the trail, navigating the rocks and turns. I sounded heavy on my feet still, but of course, practice with the drills and principles will help with that.

I felt really in the moment and focused as we moved to different terrain questions, and Lise patiently explained the aspects of running through them. It was scary the first time I would attempt it, silently praying not to pratfall, or otherwise embarrass myself, but I never did. The incredible rush I got as I RAN up and down the trail portions we practiced on was empowering, I won’t lie. Most trail runners might reply to my enthusiasm with “ok, yeah… whatev’s”, but for me, it was a huge moment, and a big deal. Couldn’t wipe the smile from my face.

I CAN run on trails and be quick. I CAN navigate this stuff as a runner with some extra weight on her body. I CAN run up these hills, even if I am gasping at the top. The new techniques made it so much easier, and I felt, for the first time, capable. HYOOOGE confidence boost, right there. On those trails, I did not feel pokey or slow. I felt…

Calm. Normal. In control. Isn’t that weird? Catapulting down a hill, over rocks that want to make you tumble, and I felt in control. I also felt like I was able to clear my mind, focus on my footsteps and breathing. It was relaxing!

We moved over to a trail suggested by one of the other students, and we zig-zagged into the cool forest to try our hand (feet?) at drops, rock-strewn paths, branches, and a steep-sloped rock face. I ran up that *%^&ing rock face! UP! Then down. DOWN! It was hard not to want to shout “whee!” and raise my arms up as I came over drops or around bends. When we did our run back down to the parking lot from the top of the zig-zag trail portion we were working on, I was tired. I was ready to stop, drenched in sweat. I had worked very hard during our hour and a half of play and learn. I was dripping off my nose and down my back, my hat was soaked. My handana was a sopping, drippy mess. I had sweat in unmentionable places. Mosquitoes were walking through the DEET to bite me everywhere.

But… As we ran, and navigated all of the trail portions we had practiced, I felt such an endorphin rush, that the tiredness faded. I may have sounded like a threadbare bagpipe about to burst, but I felt incredible. I may have looked about as wilted as a week-old cut rose, but I was energized. “I did that!” I said in my head as we walked back towards the cars. “I did that, and I loved that!”

And now, I want to do it again. Tuesday evenings are the shorter (free!) meet and runs organized by the group that puts on the clinics (http://www.naturalfitnesslab.com/) and I have my kettlebell class on those nights, but maybe once September hits, I will have to go to a few. And between now and then, I want to find a babysitter, so I can drag my husband to Gatineau Park.

I have some trails to run… With my elbows in.

 

 

Hitting the Trail

Tonight, I am going to a women’s beginner trail running clinic at Camp Fortune, put on by Natural Fitness Lab (http://www.xczone.com/labrunclinics.htm). If you want to go, it starts at around 6:15 pm, is limited to 20 women, and is $20 online, or $40 at the trailhead.

Because we have such a great network of trails, parks and the like here in Ottawa, there is a strong trail running community (as well as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing). They have run evenings, just like Running Room does, and announce the location of them on social media a few days before hand (usually located on a Gatineau Park trail). I have been too intimidated to go to one of these runs, fearing my red-faced 12-minute mile pace (on the road, slower on trails of course) would be left behind by the first half kilometre as the more seasoned runners bounce away, leaving someone to stay, wait, and be annoyed at my huffing, puffing finish in the parking lot long after everyone else has left for the night.

I had this same worry going to a Running Room Wednesday night or Sunday morning run too, just for the record. I know I am slower than a lot of “average” runners. My long, slow pace is between 7 and 8 minutes a km, which for a lot of folks, is very, very pokey. Going with my friends to a couple of Sunday morning runs in Westboro, though, made me feel better about “belonging” and keeping up, since you run back to the store, and there is always somebody still there stretching, and you get smiles and such no matter when you get back.

I’ve also made strides in acceptance of my pace this year. Slow is ok. Even if I am slow, I am still doing it. I will get faster eventually… Yup.

Despite my confidence strides this year, I am nervous to go tonight, since I’m meeting a new group of runners, some of whom may likely be muscled paragons of trail running endurance, standing proudly at the foot of a black diamond slope before bounding up in their zero-drop trail shoes, as if channelling the white-tailed deer watching from the sidebush. Scouring videos of the trail running group, and reading about their training and exploits, it made me quail a bit inside. These people are seriously fit. Most of them in pictures do not appear to have any body fat, and look like runners that model for the magazines.

Eep.

Silly, I know, and likely unfounded. But, I am trying to be as honest with myself as possible. If I am nervous, I examine why, so I know how to best cope or solve in the situation. I think it comes down to me not wanting to look ridiculous (solved, I have rainbow socks to wear with my rainbow run skirt and neon shirt), and out of shape. Put a more serious way, I want to participate, but hope it is not going to defeat me when the pace is too fast, the level of exertion above what I am currently capable of.

Oh anxiety… Thou art a vile and bilious &*#$@.

Thank GOD I won’t be doing it alone, and am going with a good friend. She’s got trail running experience, and she’s better at hills than me. We’re going to this together for support, and because we both prefer trail running to pounding pavement on a daily basis. Honest… I love my run routes at lunch around downtown, they make me happy to run in the history and people… but I adore the trails near my house, or running where the trees are on either side of me, the ground not man-made… And there are some hills to heft up.

Yes, heft. I’m not in shape enough to bound yet. Soon, but not yet.

I want to do more trail running, and take on new challenges with my running. This is important to me. I think trail running is the best way I can boost my obstacle racing endurance, and mentally (emotionally) I need to get away from the concrete a bit more. I am missing the country, the forest, and the quiet it brings to my mind. Perhaps after this clinic, I can meet some other beginners like me, and we can group together to be the caboose for one of the free trail runs this group puts on, time and family permitting, of course.

If nothing else, tonight will be a fun evening with a friend, and a good workout, I am sure.

Finally, some trail-running inspired laughter for your Monday. Remember me posting this?

Well, he did another one, this time extolling the virtues of cross-country trail running to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse. Heh… He reminds me of Hammy from Over the Hedge. Heeh…

Ragna-what?

My entire right leg is complaining this morning. From the top of my foot, all the way up my shin, into my knee. Ow, %$&^. I just have to get through my 5k this coming Monday, and then I can regroup.

Must. Make. It.

Part of me wonders, when I am grimacing and favouring my various aches, if I could ever run longer than 10k, given how my knees and hips are reacting to this level of activity. I feel creaky, and the backbends at yesterday’s yoga on the hill really hurt my hips. Hurt in a bad way, not in a “oh, let’s strrrrretch” kind of way. My knees have been sore, reminiscent of how they used to feel after long days in the saddle. Last night, to sleep, I took two Tylenol, two Advil and applied Tiger Balm to the lower half of my body. My husband would not come near me.

I smelled delightful (not).

Despite the pain, and cringing at the prospect of another race, I keep looking at all these amazing races I want to put on my bucket list. (I must be nuts). They are all half marathons, or relays, obstacle races… That kind of thing. I know, I know… There is that pressure to run further again. I have time, I get that. By this time next year, who knows where I will be at!

But I like dreaming and thinking of crazy challenges and fun destination runs. Call me crazy, but the idea of running (doesn’t matter the length) on every continent sounds like a neat lifetime goal, don’t you think? Or how about an ambitious goal of running a race in every province and territory in Canada? I have Ontario licked, and Quebec. Already have a head start! Heh…

Must start a Pinterest Running Bucket List, and get it off my iPad and onto a forum I can share with y’all.Also? My OCD organization would be satisfied. Right… Hey Husband, what do you think of a trip to Nunavut to run in a race with me? *evil grin*

One of the races I have enthusiastically put to the top of my bucket list is RAGNAR. I would lovelovelove someday to participate in this. Hopefully with friends, wearing crazy costumes, and celebrating together when we cross the finish line.

“Ragna-What?” I hear you saying. Well, go here: http://www.ragnarrelay.com/ragnar and check it out. I’ve seen lots of relay-type races, but this one, well… it looks like the Holy Grail. There is the original road relay RAGNARs, and there is a trail variant. They are US-based, all over the place, and in gorgeous vistas that give you an unforgettable route.

Basically, the deal is this: You get two vans, and find 12 people to form a team (snappy, fun name required). You have 200 miles to cover, running relay-style in roughly 24 hours (yes, you run continuously, overnight!). Each person does a “leg” depending on their level, as long as the 11 minutes per mile average pace is kept (so some runners may run farther than others in their leg, you can map it out beforehand). Costumes are encouraged, van decorations are , I think, almost a requirement. RAINBOWS! UNICORNS! FART JOKES!

*ahem*…

The very first Canadian RAGNAR was this year, from Cobourg to Niagara Falls (311k, if you are wondering). http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/ontario – Wow. Can you imagine running through Toronto along the water, at night? Or running along Lake Ontario through wine country? Here is a brief race report: http://runningmagazine.ca/sections/news/inaugural-canadian-ragnar-relay-attracts-120-teams/.

and here is a great video from RAGNAR HQ: http://youtu.be/5ITE87parWI (for some reason, embedding is not working on my blog, so click the linky-doo)

I am so game to try this. Maybe not next year, since it would have to be planned, saved for, and organized. It takes a lot of dedication, and physical/financial/emotional commitment of 11 other people besides me. Huge undertaking. But, I think, it would be worth it. It would be an incredible experience.

Any takers?

Almost There

Every part of me is sore. Not even kidding. My toenails are a tad sore from all the downhill work, my hair hurts from the tight ponytail I had it in.

I wish Body Glide came in an SPF format (does it?). Where I “glided” on the weekend is burnt, because I am a dork and applied it after the sunscreen we luckily found in the back of the car.

I am coming off the weekend ready for a break. Yes, my Spartan recap is coming, I promise! It might be split into two posts, not sure. Let me preface it by saying I absolutely loved it. It was challenging, fun, achievable, and empowering. I’ll fill ya in more, later.

Because of the damn-and-whoa DOMS coursing through my muscles and joints, I am taking a week off completely, this week (save walking to and fro the bus). The past two nights I have tossed and turned in bed, my hip bleating painfully, my IT Bands and knees thumping, and various other muscles tweaking in sympathy.

Ow, ^*&%.

I am almost through the challenge I have set for myself. One more race, a 5k on Canada Day, and I can do a reboot to my training, start fresh and rebuild. The thing is, I was looking online last night for an obstacle race in July or August I could do. (No Husband, I am not signing up for something without talking to you first) I was looking at some races that I wished were coming to my part of Canada like Peeplechase (https://peeplechase.com/) or Warrior Dash (http://www.warriordash.com/index.php). There is a Warrior Dash in July up north of Toronto, but my husband’s Beast is that weekend, I think… Doh…

I have also volunteered with the Mudd, Sweat & Tears folks to promote the Ottawa races as part of their Mudd Mob. http://www.muddsweatandtears.com/ is the website, go check it out. Yup, another proudly Canadian operated obstacle/mud race, and I am signed up for the Sept. 28th Urban race here in Ottawa (come do it with me!). So, look for me to mention this one a few times, plus their 5 and 10k OCR on Labour Day weekend, up at Wilderness Tours Resort (I would do this one, but we reserve Labour Day weekend for family activities like camping or beach playing, no exceptions). You may also see me pasting posters up here or there, to spread the word and make the Ottawa races a success! They do have a Crossfit affiliate program for discounts on race fees, fun WOD’s, etc (Crossfit, yo!) so if anyone with eyes on this is part of a box and wants more info, send me a message and I can forward the deal-io to you.

*sheepish mumble* I think I might be hooked.

Next up is my husband’s Spartan Trifecta (Did I mention that I signed him up for all three races as an Anniversary present? Yeah, I’m sweet like that…). He has leg 1 done – the Sprint. Now the Super at the end of this month, and the Beast in July. He did not have as good a race on Saturday as he would have liked, and I think he is a tad worried. He shouldn’t be, he will do fine. I think he was just tired.

Is it bad that I want to sign up for the Super too? I won’t, my body needs some rest, I have to figure out some nagging injuries and an imbalance in my leg muscles (I have an inch difference in the circumference of my calf muscles! O_o). I have to reset, take it easy, and work my way back up to some intensity by September to rock the MST Urban race, and perhaps try another 10k road race to PR.I also need to figure out my food again, because the past month I have been an out-of-control roller coaster of eating. Must get that back under control or my Diabetes Beast will have a field day with me and I will have to go back on the dreaded Metformin.

I have pushed myself in the last month more than I have in a long time. Yet I feel like I haven’t, which sounds weird but it isn’t (waffle much?). I haven’t been weightlifting at all, I have curbed my running during the week to once a week and short… But, I have completed three obstacle course races and a 10k race. In just over a month. Holy Moley… Did I really do that?

So yeah… Pushing it a little, and now almost done. No wonder my runs feel slow and ploddy, and my body weight exercises tough to complete. I think my body is saying “Dude, we need a vacation.” Like to Le Nordik, or perhaps to an RMT for a complete workover…

OI… Almost there. ❤

No Luck

I don’t like wishing people “Good Luck!” for their races.

It feels wrong to me, so I stopped awhile ago. I don’t admonish anyone else for the sentiment, when uttered or written, th0ugh. I liken it to the appreciation someone has for being wished a “Merry Christmas”by someone who didn’t know they were Jewish. It is the sentiment that counts, right?

I know. I am mean, heartless witch. Such a nice way to offer support to friends and say “GOGOGO!”, and I am all “PFFFHT, no way, Sparky, you get nuthin'”.

Not exactly, and here is my explanation. I hope it makes sense.

I have been thinking about encouragement, and how I can best be that positive voice while staying true to myself and my beliefs, instead of an autobot cheerleader I feel I sometimes slip into. I want to be able to support my friends in an awesome way, just for them, each of them. Targeted and meaningful. I have a lot of friends that run now. Each of them have a special place as a positive influence in my life, each in a different way. So I want to acknowledge that.

Right… You can all call me nutty now… Writing this out makes it seem wayyyyy weirder than it sounds in my head. So… bear with me. Seriously… Why did I start writing this post again? Oh right, because I want to share my strange and sometimes off-beat thoughts with y’all…

*ahem*… Where was I…

Wishing someone luck on a race, for me, feels like I am telling them that I hope a random, chance influence has a positive outcome during their hard-fought effort. OK, so maybe that is an overthink, but I base it on my own experience and efforts. See, when I hop into that corral, or toe the start line, the journey to get there is incredible. I worked hard, I planned. When I participate, finishing is a foregone conclusion. I will succeed. The achievement is getting to the race. The race is the celebration.

Luck has nothing to do with it.

All that time spent sweating and pushing myself has lead to this point, so I don’t need luck. I own it already. Yeah, *&%^ can go wrong, and it can suck *%$ when you can’t complete the challenge you trained for. But all that training and working and thinking was not for naught. Pick up, dust off, do better, right? (Sometimes I have a hard time with this one, and not beating myself up, but it is getting easier… I learned a lot at Tough Mudder. I am trying to enforce this more positive attitude on my efforts at subsequent challenges.)

I assume this way of thinking for my friends too. I want to tell them I believe they own it too. That this race, what they are about to embark on, is the culmination of one heck of an achievement of miles logged, weights lifted, etc.

So instead of a “Good luck!”, I say “Have a great race!” or I focus my best wishes on an aspect of the challenge I know that friend is trying to meet. For example, if someone is trying to stay calm in the corral, I will say “Sending calming and happy thoughts for your race!” or if someone is trying to PR, I will say “Hoping your legs are super fast today!” or “You got this! RAHHH!” (or something to that effect, I may or may not do a little happydance if in person…).

It feels more personal for me to say that. it feels like I am providing my best support possible. Perhaps it is selfish, or silly, or I am a whackadoodle…

But it is me. And I hope it helps.