what do you want to be when you grow up?

is our only opportunity to be an athlete when we are young and in school/college?  or can we continue the quest of athletics as we age?   should athletes only be the best of the best or does anyone applying themselves and working at a sport get to call themselves an athlete?

I grew up loving sports…. it started in Elementary School with an excellent Intramurals program…  (this is what our school called noon hour sports… in grade 6 I got to be the captain of the Bears…  highlight of my Elementary experience… low-light was the 52 detentions I received in grade 6.. after school – did not interfere with my Intramural pursuits)

I went to a different school for Junior High and my love of basketball really took off…  this was back in the day when you could basically play every sport offered and no one was playing one sport all year round – unless you counted the pick-up basketball games we played year round… it was fun to have the season change and try out something new… and remind yourself why you loved basketball with your lack of talent in other areas… 

heading to yet another school for High School, I was still very driven with sports and basketball in particular…  it was exciting to keep this going and get to play in College…

and then I got married, started working and became an ‘adult’…  which I thought meant sports quit for me…  not for the farmer I should add… men seem to do a far better job of remaining an athlete than women do… 

having kids was really the icing on the cake – cementing my ideas that athletics for me were part of my childhood… never to be revisited again…

I remember the joy I felt when I could finally put my oldest boy in baseball, hockey, you name it…  I even cried at his first hockey practice…  this should have been a hint to me that I was missing being an athlete…

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

  • Servings: one chicken
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • one whole chicken (mine was 6 lbs)
  • trivet
  • butter, melted
  • kosher salt
  • cumin
  • lemon pepper
  • paprika
  • carrots
  • yellow onion
  • celery

Directions:

  • use a fresh or defrosted chicken – I defrost mine in the bag it is in, in cold water in the sink – this generally takes around 3-4 hours
  • pat dry with paper towel
  • place trivet in Instant Pot bowl
  • add 1 cup water
  • add chicken
  • pour butter over the chicken
  • add the carrots, onion and celery around the chicken
  • sprinkle with spices
  • place lid on and set manual high pressure for 40 minutes (basically, 6 minutes per pound)
  • allow for a natural pressure release (around 15-20 minutes) when done cooking
  • transfer the chicken to a cutting board
  • put a strainer over a bowl and pour the liquid and contents into it
  • use the liquid for recipes needing chicken stock and the meat for lunch meat!

{/recipe]

don’t get me wrong – watching my kids play sports is very fulfilling and exciting – but when I realized I was living through their experiences I knew I had to try to get back to being an athlete myself… I needed to let them have their athletic experiences for themselves and I needed to see what was out there for me…

it had been roughly 17 years since I had done anything other than ‘exercise’… there were many reasons why I let things get like this I believe…

I didn’t think I was athletic enough to warrant the amount of time and money it would take for me to be involved in my own adventures…  we were busy enough with the farmer’s hockey and then my children’s hockey and other sports…  I needed to be the one to keep everyone going…  maybe – if I was a ‘gifted’ athlete – I would have made the time…  but I was always middle of the pack and I thought middle of the pack people should just enjoy school sports and then settle into a life of cheering for those more talented… 

I was a yo-yo exerciser…  I would do some exercises for awhile and then quit…  with no accountability, competition, coaching or purpose, I found exercising very difficult to be consistent or even motivated with…

I was also worried about judgement from other people… I felt like it would be selfish and almost spoiled if I spent time working towards some sort of athletic goal in my late 30’s… I didn’t have a lot of influences in my life or examples of moms that were pursuing athletic goals…

chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 carrots, peeled (if old) and finely chopped
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (low sodium – preferably homemade)
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Directions:
– heat oil in a large pan

  • add carrots, onion and salt
  • cook on medium heat for a few minutes and add green peppers, beef and garlic
  • season with spices and turn heat off when meat is cooked
  • in your slow cooker, add the meat/veggie mixture and then add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes and beans
  • simmer on low for 6-8 hours, high for 4-6 hours
  • if you want more greens, add spinach or kale at the end

everyone has the money goal down…  we all are pursuing money… security…  but I just didn’t see women going on adventures or training for a sporting event… I saw moms dedicating their lives – nobly – to their families and it confirmed my beliefs that to be a good mom you sacrifice your life for your family…

moms are pros at scheduling… and we schedule all the kids activities and our husbands lives but forget to schedule in ourselves… or feel too guilty to do so…

and now, after two years of scheduling myself in, I can tell you I wish I had done it earlier…  I know everyone would have had a better time and I wouldn’t feel like I neglected myself for years…

in January of 2017, a friend of mine at the rink told me about a running coach she had and how much she was enjoying being coached…  it was like a lightbulb when on… I contacted this coach and started letting her train me…  it made me feel silly at first – I was too embarrassed to tell many people – but slowly I started to see the benefits in my own life… having a coach give me a ‘game plan’ for the week and then being able to schedule it in somehow gave me there permission to train and take the time for myself…

that fall, after hurting my knee, I thought I’d try some Hot Yoga/Pilates for rehab…  and I fell in love with it – even though, again, I was not very good at it…

it did feel very selfish to be spending the money and time twice a week to do this and then running four times a week…  my family has had to change they way we do things in order to accommodate for my schedule at times, which feels ridiculously self-involved

 but I started to ponder, what am I living this life for?  so I can be exhausted, depressed  and unfulfilled, complaining about how busy I am?  live comfortably, not facing my fears and anxieties?  never find out what potential my body had or where it could take me?

I had to tell myself that I am worthy… we all are worthy… it is what God put into creation and why we are created in the first place…

I am worthy of having a running coach… worthy of taking the time for long Sat/Sun runs and practicing yoga…  worthy of trips and adventures that fill me with anxiety and leave me feeling strong…  worthy of feeding my body healthy food and getting the sleep I need to have the energy for big training days…  worthy of pursuing all these things no matter what my talent level is(that was the biggest hiccup for me)

because sports, athletics, competition and adventure is not just for the super-athletes…  it is for everyone…  I have won a race and almost lost a race – and the fact of the matter was I trained for both those races and the training had made my life full of purpose and joy…  I remember being on different teams and coaches often saying ‘it’s the journey, not the destination’… and it only really made sense to me as I got older…

strawberry-spinach wheat berry salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1 cup wheat berries, soaked overnight and rained (2 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 5 cups spinach
  • 2 cups sliced, washed strawberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts (or see recipe)

Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 heaping tbsp Dijon mustard

Hazelnuts:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 cups raw hazelnuts

Directions:

  • for the wheat berries, bring 4 cups of water to a boil
  • add the wheat berries and salt and simmer, covered, until soft – around 50 minutes
  • transfer to a large salad bowl and allow to cool
  • just before serving, add the other ingredients – you won’t use all the dressing
  • for the dressing – shake well in a jar
  • for the hazelnuts – preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment
  • melt butter in a small saucepan
  • add cinnamon, cayenne and honey
  • take off the heat and add hazelnuts and coat
  • pour onto the baking sheet and spread out
  • sprinkle with salt
  • bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes
  • cool completely and break apart into chunks

it is the journey… it is the training and the dedication – no matter your skill level – to a craft, sport or cause that matters…  keep asking yourself – ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’  never stop asking yourself this and never stop going after the next thing that it is for you…

don’t feel like any dream is too big for you… set some outrageous goals and see how many you can check off and then enjoy the process… and realize that the secret to it all is that the process is what we are all seeking…  a reason to get up in the morning and attack the day…  a reason to be happily exhausted when you go to bed, sore in the morning and nervous at a start line…

there are too many people out there battling for their lives… whether it be cancer, depression, poverty, loss, addiction…  the list is endless and you have no excuse to not live the best life that you possibly can… you are not guaranteed anything but death…  and you owe it to yourself to explore why you are here and what you are capable of… and you owe it to the people that love you

because there is nothing more inspiring that watching someone attempt scary things, work extremely hard for a goal, conquer a fear…  no one wants you to hate your life…  so you must dedicate yourself to living it in a way that gives energy and life to those around you…

it is not just for the super-athletes…  in fact, the middle-back of the pack people generally have the most fun anyways!  (but I only watch the super-athletes on YouTube… so they should keep being super!)

black bean protein brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 (19 oz) can black beans (if you have 15 oz can, just use that), strained and rinsed
  • 2 scoops (34 g scoop) of Casein protein powder (or whatever protein powder you have kicking around) 
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter

Directions:

  • combine black beans, protein powder, oats, peanut butter, coconut oil, greek yogurt, maple syrup and vanilla in a vitamix or food processor and combine until no chunks
  • in a separate mixing bowl, combine cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • add eggs
  • using a spatula, add the thick bean mixture to the cocoa powder and eggs
  • mix until combined
  • fold in chocolate chips
  • in a sprayed or greased 9×9 baking pan, pour the brownie batter
  • melt 2 tbsp of peanut butter in the microwave and pour in a few dollops on the brownie batter
  • using a knife, cut through the peanut butter dollops to make a pretty pattern
  • bake for 15-20 minutes, until the middle is slightly firm but the sides are not overdone
  • let cool and cut into 16 brownies
  • these freeze well

depressed enough to run?

have you ever been bored or lonely and thought to yourself, ‘I should have a baby’… and then you get pregnant and you are like ‘oh my word, what have I done’…

similar to getting a puppy…  you are having an ‘off’ day and decide a puppy will fix it…  then you spend most of your spring/summer taking your three dogs to the vet to get porcupine quills removed… and your morning ritual is scooping poop and watching your grass and flower beds fall into ruin…

this is how I stumbled into running

it all started with a little bout of post-pardum depression after having my second son Ethan…  which is odd, because if you know the temperaments of my two sons, you would have put your money on the first go around at motherhood to be the fall into depression, not the second…

but depression is a tricky thing…  you never know when, where or why it shows up and bam… you decide running will fix it…

and running did help with the overall chaos and tribulations of early motherhood…  just to clarify, by running I mean I would head out for perhaps a 2 mile jog and follow it up with ice cream as a reward for my efforts…

as it is with any worthwhile addiction, you begin to not be happy with 2 mile runs followed by ice cream and you start to need more…

10 years later I find myself just completing my second half marathon, then a full marathon and less than a month away from a 50 km trail race…

right smack dab in the middle of harvest…

the fun part I’ve found about races, is signing up for them…  I love plugging them into my calendar and feeling like I have something important going on in my life…

the terrible thing about races is running them… this I found out during the 3 hours,48 minutes and 18 seconds it took me to complete my first marathon in Edmonton yesterday…

my son Ethan – the one that sent me into depression and thus running – thought that I should take his Go-Pro and document my adventures during the race… seeings how this is my third race ever, I didn’t think I was qualified to be videoing myself…

instead I’ll try to give a quick recap on my experience with running my first marathon…

  1. having 10 weeks of training (after running the half/marathon) and only 300 miles under my belt, I felt I should dive into a marathon as part of my training schedule – so I signed up on Monday to run the race on Sunday and booked my flight to my brother’s house
  2. I arrived in Edmonton and blessed my sister-in-law by breaking up her Saturday night plans and allowing her the pleasure of coming and grabbing me at the airport instead
  3. no time for chit-chat, I took over my 16 year old nephew’s bedroom, demanding fresh linens and a fan, and headed off to sleep at 9:30 pm
  4. I awoke, confused at 2:45 am, then again at 3:50, followed by 4:20 and then finally at 5:15 at which time I made sure my brother was up to make me coffee (it was his last day to sleep in before work started up again for him on Monday… but I could sense he was more excited about my race than sleep)
  5. I told my brother how important it was for runners to have a bowel movement before running a marathon…  he was thrilled to know this information…
  6. at 6:15 am we got in his car and drove to downtown Edmonton and the race began
  7. following the race, I only had time for a quick shower before my brother had to rush me back to the airport and tell me it was great that I came to town for a visit… I told him – you are welcome – and we parted ways the way we always do… without hugging… 
  8. I really never asked them if they wanted to do anything else on their weekend… I was too busy preparing for the race, racing and recovering from it… which makes you wonder if runners are narcissists as well as depressed

  1. Start of Race – the announcer had everyone who was running their first marathon  hold up their hand…  I did along with a few others and then I proceeded to tell a few runners around me that if they wanted to stick close to me I could pace them…  I feel like their laughter was more nervous and polite than sincere…
  2. Mile 6 – I felt wonderful for these first miles…  like my feet were barely touching the ground and the early morning light was so lovely…  I had settled into a comfortable 8:00/mile pace and was grouped behind two Oriental couples and another older couple (not sure what race… I was pretending they were German)… I thought it was wise to surround myself with older people who perhaps knew what they were doing due to the fact that if they didn’t, they might die out there…
  3. Mile 13.1 – we had looped back and were running past where the race had began…  at this point I was holding an 8:20/mile pace and was thinking to myself… ‘wouldn’t mind ending the race right now… half marathons seem like the smarter way to go’
  4. Mile 18 – my hips had started to go…  my pace had slowed to 8:44/mile and I was starting to look around at other runners to see if they looked like they were in as much pain as I was… I was only walking at the water stations (mostly because I can’t drink and run at the same time) but every time I stopped to drink it was a mental game to get my legs running again… also, I had never run longer than 18 miles in my training so I was fearful what my legs/body were going to do after this mark
  5. Mile 22 – the craziest thing had happened…  my pace had slowed again to 9:08/mile but I had felt for the first time in the latter part of the race what some might call a ‘runner’s high’…  (which, to my understanding, means you are in so much pain your mind separates from your body and you feel like you are in a state of bliss… while you permanently damage your knees and hips) I believe part of this ‘high’ was due to the playlist the farmer had made for me…  it was a streak of 6 songs that were excellent to run to…  I was all smiles to the crowds on the side, encouraging other runners, even a few high fives were thrown around…
  6. Mile 24 – the good music had ended and my hips, knees and feet hurt so much I actually contemplated either walking the rest of the way or quitting… the smiles and high fives were a distant memory and looks of pain and contempt had replaced them…  all I could think at this point was ‘marathons are a test of who can endure the most pain’… every step took all of my mental power to get my legs to do it…  I was looking down and willing myself to keep moving forwards through the pain…  I looked up to see a guy dressed as a TeleTubby with a sign that read ‘3 km to go’ and I almost cried…
  7. Mile 26.2 – when I saw the finish line, it was like someone had picked me up and was carrying me to it…  the crowd was cheering and probably thinking how awful it looks to run a marathon…  all I could think was if I get there, I can stop running

 

a few things I learnt from running my first marathon:

watching countless YouTube videos on running ultra’s and marathon’s does not translate into running them well…

I think you get better the older you get and the more you do – I could not believe the amount of older people rocking the marathon…

you should not wear your trail running shoes to run 26.2 miles on pavement

if you are used to running on gravel and dirt roads, the pavement is going to hurt your body in ways you never dreamt it could…

don’t be offended if your brother and his family bring you an extra change of clothes because they were truly worried you would soil yourself while running and they were not about to let you get in their vehicle with poopy shorts on…

you will claim after finishing that you will never do that again in your life…  but similarly to babies and puppies, you will find yourself a few weeks later on the internet, looking up races and thinking it’s a great idea to get another race booked on your calendar…

 

burritos to the field

May is a big month…

aside from the small thing called ‘seeding’ going on, there is spring hockey and baseball to get the kids to…  there is a yard to take care of and a garden to plant…  my birthday and Mother’s Day all in the same busy month for the poor farmer to deal with… (and let me tell you I don’t let him cut any corners… this year I got a card and an InstaPot out of him)

also, for the second year I am running a half-marathon at the end of May…

in February when a friend suggested I talk to her running coach I was still not sure if I was even going to ever run another half-marathon again…

the only thing that got me through the last one was a saying I repeated over and over again as I was running… ‘go as fast as you can because you will never do this again’… 

but alas, here I am on Mother’s Day running 10 miles on my treadmill… (it was raining outside and ironically I watched the movie ‘Mother’s Day’ on Netflix)

the difference this year is that these selfies I take get sent to my running coach, Irene…  not the farmer (who am I kidding… I send them to both… and occasionally some friends to brighten their day)

I anxiously await every Sunday for Irene to email me my workout schedule…  I liken it to when I was younger waiting for the Sears Wish Book to show up in the mail…

she sends me three running plans and two workout plans…

what she gets in return is daily updates on how my training is going, along with the selfies and some occasional pictures of the road and my dogs…

we maybe didn’t set the ground rules firmly right off the get go as to how much of my personal life she wants to know about…

I tend to error on the side of ‘every last detail’

a good amount of my training this year has been on my trusty old treadmill… which my dad bought for me when I got married…  so 18 years ago…

I assumed it was a hint that he had noticed I gained 20 lbs at college and perhaps needed a new hobby other than eating…

at first I thought I could never run for that long on a treadmill… and then I discovered the wonderful world of Netflix

you barely know you are working out when you have Grace and Frankie on… or House of Cards or the Crown… most recently I really started to get into documentaries… specifically food documentaries…

the issue I was having was when I would passionately tell the farmer about the latest cause I was concerned about, I realized that I do not retain very much from these sweaty viewings and that they all seem to get jumbled in my head and leave me with a overwhelming sense of the world is awful and we as humans are morons...

the farmer advised me to go back to my ‘lighter’ shows and maybe limit the ‘world is ending documentaries’ to one a week…

this wild rice salad I thought was delicious but was worried might look a little too healthy for the farmers so I threw some homemade croutons on top…  well, my 13 year old son did… that is him packing up the salads… I was probably busy watching Netflix…

wild rice salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 6 radishes, diced
  • 3 cups loosely packed, finely chopped kale (without the stems)
  • 4 carrots, grated
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas (or edamame)
  • ground black pepper

Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

  • bring 4 cups salted water to boil
  • add rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes
  • allow the rice to cool
  • add remaining ingredients and dressing
  • for the dressing – in a small mason jar shake the ingredients for the dressing until well combined
  • let the salad marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes prior to serving

next on the cooking list for the day was burritos…  I had the brilliant idea to use butternut squash instead of meat… you can feel free to omit that step!

upon some reflection while eating the burrito I decided next time to cut the butternut squash a bit smaller… then you don’t get a big chunk of squash as you bite your burrito…

burritos are possibly one of my favourite food items…  you get your bean/squash mixture well simmered, your coconut lime rice (best rice recipe ever) and assembly line ready and away you go!

after years of making chicken wraps in the booth at the rink I have toyed with different ways to wrap a burrito… this is currently my go to…

tin foil halfway up and plastic wrap doing the rest of the work…

butternut squash burritos

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cups peeled, chopped butternut squash
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp Bragg’s
  • 1 cup beer
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 10 large flour tortillas
  • options: coconut lime rice, salsa, lettuce, avocado, cilantro

Directions:

  • in a skillet, cook onion in oil
  • add butternut squash, jalapeño, chili powder and smoked paprika
  • stir around for about a minute
  • add Bragg’s and beer and sprinkle in the garlic
  • cover and reduce heat
  • cook for around 20 minutes
  • fold in the beans, lime juice and syrup
  • simmer until liquid is absorbed and remove from the heat
  • assemble the burritos with the ingredients you prefer

coconut lime rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 cups brown rice (or rice of your choice)
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp lime juice

Directions:

  • heat oil
  • add rice and saute for around 2 minutes
  • add the lime zest and stir
  • add garlic, broth and salt
  • bring to a simmer, then reduce heat, cover and softly simmer for around 35 minutes
  • when rice is tender, remove from heat and fold in lime juice

last but not least the dessert…  this one is easy easy… and packed with things that can make me run faster!!!

springform pans are ingenious … and this cake really will only take you a few minutes to throw together…

I like to sample the first slice for quality control reasons…

almond flour cake

Ingredients:

  • unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 5 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup raw sliced almonds

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • grease 9” springform pan with butter
  • in a mixing bowl, mix eggs, maple syrup, oil, almond extract, lemon zest and salt
  • add the almond flour and stir
  • pour the batter into the springform pan
  • sprinkle the almond slices over it
  • bake for 40-45 minutes
  • cool the cake on a wire rack
  • cut into 12 pieces

I’ll try anything once (maybe)

if you are in a pinch, McDonalds fries and  Junior Chicken burger can be your pre-run ‘carb’ meal…

this might gross out some of you ‘pure, clean’ eaters out there but my stomach is used to this and accepted it just fine…

the farmer, our daughter and myself arrived in Saskatoon Saturday evening before the big marathon event …  our boys both had hockey and baseball in Regina and we left them with other families and came to Saskatoon and checked into a hotel…

strangest feeling getting ready for something for me, not one of my kids…  I’m sure I was far more nervous than they have ever been for anything but it was great to put myself in their shoes a little bit and understand what it’s like for everyone to be getting up to attend something you are doing…

the Warriors game was on and as I water logged myself (again, I’m not a nutritionist so I really have no idea how to prepare properly for a run), I watch Klay Thompson have his best playoff game ever…  hitting 11 three’s and helping Curry beat OKC… he happens to be my favourite player and seeing his determination was truly inspiring as I went to sleep…

I had no idea what to expect at the start line Sunday morning…  the only other run I’ve participated in was the Bridge City Boogie 7 years ago, at which I ran a 10 km…  and my memory was not good enough to remember what it was like…

the farmer and Sienna hung out with me for a bit and then they left and I was standing alone…  not sure if I was where I was supposed to be…  worried I was too close to the starting line and faster runners were probably annoyed that I was in their way…

I got my Nike app all set to start so I knew how to keep track of my pace… and thought I’d get my music going after the race started…

and the run began…  I thought I was going to throw up…  we all began running and I noticed two older ladies that were obviously  seasoned runners and decided I’d try to follow them and keep their pace as they look like they know what they’re doing…

running on pavement was a new thing for me as well…  and I felt like a kid that had bought new ‘fast’ shoes and I felt like I was flying…

one thing I was not expecting was as we ran through neighbourhoods, families had come out on to their lawns with their coffee, dogs, kids and lawn chairs…  it was like we were a parade… and they were cheering us on…

which I could hear clearly because I hadn’t started my music and was too afraid to stop running to get it going…  I was too afraid the entire run to stop and never started my music … so the few hours it took to make that playlist was well worth it…

and there were stations that had free gatorade (well, obviously free… people weren’t stopping and pulling out their wallets to pay) and energy packs filled with some sort of gross pudding thing…  I couldn’t do those things but definitely took the gatorade…

when I told the boys you got that stuff for free it almost made them want to run someday just to get the free stuff!

I’ve never attempted to run while drinking gatorade out of a cup… and this showed… I tried to pretend like I was wanting to douse myself with gatorade to cool down…

speaking of cooling down, I had layered up a hoodie type thing because out in the country I generally need it with the wind whipping through…  but at about mile 3 I was starting to overheat… I thought about taking it off and just tossing it… but then remembered I had pinned my ‘bib’ with the timer chip thing onto it and would need to keep it with me…  so I took it off and wrapped it around my waist…  all while running…  very awkwardly… and then thought it probably looked like a had a cape on…

watching other people run keeps your mind occupied, especially when it is the first time you have ever seen anything like this, and when my headphones told me another mile had passed it surprised me because I was so lost in people watching… I noticed some of the good runners had an odd way about their running… it was like they were barely moving their arms and it was more of a shuffle…  conserving energy perhaps?  I actually tried to copy the one lady in front of me for awhile…

I thought this older gentleman was saying good job to me at one point and I told him ‘you too’… turns out he was just signalling that he was moving over to his right and was not congratulating me at all…

but the energy you feel with that many people running was overwhelming to me…  many times I teared up, just thinking about everyone out there, how much training had gone into this day, how everyone here is dedicated to living a healthy life and everyone cheering us on are part of a joyful community of people who want to see the best for others…  truly inspiring…

towards the end of the run, I had a man behind me that was not loving the experience quite as much as some of us…  he kept letting out these loud groans like he was in the most pain he had ever been in…  I actually looked back at him once and was hoping I had sent him a look like – quit with the groaning – but he was mid groan and had his eyes closed…  it motivated me to run faster to get away from him…

I had a man in kilt pass by me…  lots of things went through my mind as this happened…

as we ran up the last hill and were getting close to the finish line, I was wondering when I’d see the farmer and Sienna…

and there they were… with their signs and smiles… and so many emotions flooded up in me…  wishing my boys could have been there too…  I stopped to give her a hug and him a kiss and have never felt it more clearly that he is my best friend and I was so happy he could be there to see me finish something I didn’t know was possible…

my in-laws were there as well and I realized how important it is to show up and cheer people on…  how every time a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend has shown up to cheer on my children how great it must make them feel… that someone cares about what they are doing…

going through life with people in your corner is wonderful…

personal best is pretty easy to achieve when it is the first time you have attempted something…  I ended up running it in 1 hour and 52 minutes… my goal was 2 hours… so that’s why my smile looks like it’s cracking my face…

some stats… because I love stats…  and might want to look back at this blog post someday and I know I’ll love the stats…

Marathon

119 men, 59 women

(only 6 women in my age category… maybe this is a hint that you should not run marathon’s????)

Sergii Vashurin 2 hours 31 minutes (Male 25-29)

Erin Gardiner  3 hours 4 minutes (Female 25-29)

Half Marathon

333 men, 472 women

Ruslan Kramariuk  1 hour 12 minutes (Male 25-29)

Nicole Bletsky  1 hour 33 minutes (Female 40-44)

10 km

278 men, 612 women

Ibrahim Mohammed  34 minutes (Male 20-24)

Jennifer Souter   37 minutes (Female 30-34)

5 km

156 men, 239 women

Iian McCormick  17 minutes (Male 30-34)

Jodi Souter   18 minutes (Female 25-29)

best thing is there was an ice cream truck that we bought some Maple Walnut ice cream from and it was the best tasting ice cream I have ever had…

the main thing I have learned over the last few months of running, is that when you push yourself past your comfort zone, you find that the things you were doing before are not that hard…

I can enjoy a 5 or 6 mile run now, but only because I have ran 12 or 13 miles…  and this applies to life in the fact that you truly can only enjoy success if you know what is is like to fail…  you can only appreciate a deep love in your marriage if you have made it through the valleys…  I can only feel like having children was a choice because other women have chosen to not have children…  you take your health for granted unless it has been taken away from you at some point…

so running the longer distances has taught me that the farther you push yourself, the more life opens up to you…  push yourself beyond what you know and see what is out there…

still don’t think I could ever do a marathon though…  that boggles my mind…

run Catherine run 

 

“It is not the critic that counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

this ‘The Man in the Arena’ quote from a speech Theodore Roosevelt gave has been quoted and used by many a motivational speaker…  and I have heard it and totally applied it to teaching lessons with the boys about winning/losing and with the pursuits that the farmer has gone after – work or sports related – and found these words very valuable for them…

as a mom, quite often our lives become basically a maid/cheerleader role…  dedicating our existences to feeding, watering, driving and supporting the children and husband in our lives…

and then it dawned on me…  I bet they are capable of supporting me in something… they might even get a kick out of it…

and a friend of mine that was running with me during a hockey practice in February told me that she knew I was able to run a half-marathon…  I told her she shouldn’t drink before she runs… it affects her judgement and most likely is really dehydrating…  she slapped me and told me she’ll drink and run if she wants to drink and run…  I thought, I should take her advice and start training for a half-marathon… (thank you Bobbi Sitter… I believe I remembered that evening accurately?)

beginning Feb 15 I started my training…  since then, I have ran 67 times…  278.8 miles (448 km)… basically could have ran to Calgary, but it would have taken 67 separate runs so that seems slightly impractical…

my favourite running trail is right beside my house…  it is a trail that I have met a moose on…  so there is an element of surprise and excitement added…

I would say 72% of my runs have involved my dogs… Ryder is a 10 year old golden lab (which I believe is ‘dead’ in human years) and Lacy is a 23 month Great Pyrenees/Bernese Mountain Dog cross … when they’re not running with me they like to hunt muskrats, defend the house from coyotes and porcupines, and pay visits to the vet to get quills taken out of them…

Ryder has loved running with me her whole life, but now is on two medications for her arthritis so she has to be a ‘smart’ runner…  I tell her how many miles, whether it is hill training or not… and she paces herself accordingly…  the hill training she sits at the mid-point of the hill and does not move…

Lacy on the other hand runs up and down the hill with me…  9 times and still doesn’t clue in what is going on…

when you truly do not believe you will be able to do something, largely due to the fact that you are not fantastic at it, it is shocking when you complete it…

some other runners I have talked to say words like ‘runners high’ or ‘feel alive’ or ‘I never feel like walking’…  and I thought to be a runner you maybe need to feel this way…

turns out you don’t…

I have never been a natural athlete…  no one will argue this… but what I have is a lot of determination…  and this suits itself to running I have found…

I start every single run feeling like death for the first mile…

then I spent the remainder of the miles trying to ignore whatever body part starts to hurt or the urge to go to the bathroom…

music is what gets me through… I have listened to many different albums throughout the 278 miles and love having the time to listen to entire albums…

I saved Red Hot Chili Peppers Greatest Hits for the final training run today…

I promised Ryder we’d do a little celebration selfie photo shoot to commemorate this special moment for us… if I know one thing about dogs it is that they love a good selfie photo shoot…

you can sense our excitement

I always think as I take a selfie how much pleasure the farmer will get when he receives it..  it is basically for him…  you’re welcome honey…

and then I thought I’d take a selfie with the landscape in the background… because I truly love running in the wide open of Saskatchewan prairies…

and my last shot captured me breaking down…  cuz it happened…

I’ve never ran a half-marathon before… which means I’ve never trained for one before…  and there were sooooooo many moments I truly wanted to quit…  everything in me wanted to quit…

so for some reason, today on our trail with my girls, it might be a more emotional and memorable experience than a run with strangers…

not that this was the last run I’ll ever do, but it is the last on my training schedule and that means I finished something I wasn’t sure I could…

the only thing missing was my oldest son, who did the odd run with me, when I needed it the most, and pushed me and encouraged me and knew what I was going through…

so, 100 days ago, I started running… just like Forrest Gump… and now here I am… terrified for Sunday and also excited to get it over with…

I need Vaseline

 ‘success is never so interesting as struggle’ – Willa Cather

Boston Marathon today… tiny bit discouraging realizing that the men’s winner ran a full marathon in the time I’m hoping to run a half…

but watching and reading some of the stories going on surrounding the marathon inspired me as I headed out for my long run today…

Brandon had gone for a run with me yesterday and it was so beautiful and I felt fantastic so I had high expectations for today’s long run…

my one dog and I set out…  temperature was just about 20 degrees and there was hardly a breath of wind… beautiful…

about mile 4 I notice some ‘chaffing’ going on in the armpit region…  now, new to running, I did not anticipate this… a seasoned runner might have a tube of vaseline or something in their little fanny/water pack…  I just had the rape whistle the farmer had got me in case a moose attacks me…  that did not help the chaffing at all…

at mile 5, half-way point, when I turned to come back home, I noticed my dog Lacy was in trouble…  she is the type of dog that jumps for joy at the sight of snow and you have to lock her in the garage during a blizzard or she’d just lay out in it… this distance running in mid-day heat was not agreeing with her…

it also occurred to me that if a ‘runner’ needed to use the bathroom, there were no options… no Starbucks you could just pop in to…  this was one of my worst fears with running… next to the moose trampling me while I blow my whistle…

it also brought up some questions in my mind as to what the farmers themselves do when nature calls and they are in nature…

there had only been two vehicles go past me during the first 5 miles of my run… my father-in-law pulling an auger and one of our hired men following him…

so the thought does cross your mind that perhaps you would have some privacy in the ditch…  if it came to that…

but with my luck that is when rush hour would hit the gravel road I was on…

I quickly placed voicemail call and a text to the farmer…  just to give him a heads up on some of the events that were going on…  in case he wished to intervene and come to my rescue…

(the previous day I had this girl following me on the Gator… would have been far handier) 

  

the text read as such…

‘come get Lacy… bring water and vaseline… I might be in trouble’

he replied…

‘now?  what’s going on?’

apparently he had to rush home to get the vaseline as it is not an item he has in the console of his truck…  which is probably a good thing…

he showed up when I only had 2 miles of the run left to do…

now, I have never quit a run before… no matter the conditions, everything in me telling me to quit… I have always reached the distance that my training schedule calendar has told me I need to get to…

this was a first… and of all days to quit on a run…  Boston Marathon day…

lessons learned…  carry more than a whistle in my fanny pack/hydration belt… maybe even get rid of the whistle…

and leave the giant hair ball of a dog home on hot days…

the farmer has told me that he is proud of me for running… yet sometimes I do wonder… what with the lack of energy I have and the only weight loss I have seen so far is what I did have for a bosom has disappeared… and then there are the texts to come rescue me while he is attempting to get everything ready for seeding… there is a certain odour I have… even after a shower… it’s like I never stop sweating during the shower and just keep on stinking even afterwards…  I have blisters and callouses all over my feet and I feel like I am 80 years old every morning when I wake up…

made me think, I wonder if Lemi Berhanu Hayle ever had days like I did today…  probably, probably… but look at him now… he just won a marathon…

 

have a day

 marathon training is no joke…  not that I’ve heard many people try to joke about it… but if they did try, I’d stop them in their tracks and tell them it is no joking matter…

I was on death’s doorstep sick a few weeks ago and then went to Mexico with the farmer, which I did attempt to run there but it was mainly really sweaty power walking…

so this week I’m still training but ‘hurting’ I’d say… my legs are like ‘what??’ …  they don’t get the sudden need to run forever…

so the other day I woke up, all mentally prepared to do my 8.5 mile run that was on my calendar…  running in the middle of now-where in Saskatchewan has its benefits and its downfalls…

this particular morning the wind was whipping through – just whip, no nae nae – and it was cold and cloudy and snow in the forecast…

I had my sometimes running partner, my oldest son, go out onto the road where you can feel the wind and tell me if I should run outside or do a terribly long 8.5 miles on the treadmill…

he came back in and told me ‘absolutely don’t run outside… I barely can get to the bus’…

now, my entire life, if someone has told me not to do something, everything in me wants to do it to just see why they didn’t want me to attempt it…  I decided I’d do two 4 mile laps… and then a bit more… that way if I needed to quit the outside running and hit the treadmill I could…

I put my older dog in the garage, bribing her with chicken bones, which I know some pampered dogs can’t handle eating but my farm dogs have no problem with… (again, don’t tell me my dogs can’t eat chicken bones)… and told my younger dog, Lacy, to get her game face on…  and off we went…

the wind was a funny thing…  running east, north and west was awful…  only direction that was ok was south…  I even yelled at the wind…  I said ‘are you kidding me… stop it’…  it seemed indifferent to my yelling…

there were 4 distinct times I felt like quitting… even had a tiny little cry the one time…

I picture some people running and they look all cute and athletic… I knew I was purple faced, snot on my gloves, tears in my eyes and luckily the wind was whisking away the odour pouring off of me…

I discovered that my music becomes a bit of a ‘white noise’ that helps me not to realize how heavy I am breathing… after a few miles my thoughts take over and I solve a lot of the world’s problems and my own problems…

only to not be able to recall most of my light bulb moments when I get home due to exhaustion…

not a single vehicle went by me…  I saw a fox, some antelope, lots of geese and swans… but not a human being… I was out there for almost an hour and a half and nothing…

when my headphones finally told me I could quit…  I collapsed down and hugged my dog… she was just as relieved as me… she told me that…

we had a makeout session…  I’m not sure if that motivates her to run again with me or if it is a deterrent…  jury is still out on that…  but I needed the love…

this all happened before 9:30 am and I felt like my family’s hero and a champion… I stretched, showered, iced and made the farmer a really yummy kale and egg lunch…

this is when the exhaustion caught up with me and when he came home for lunch and pointed out a book keeping error that I needed to correct, the water-works began…

it was like someone had died… that is how hard I cried… it felt like I couldn’t stop it and it was like every last bit of energy was coming out in tears…

he thanked me for lunch and tried to quietly slip outside and back to work…

I spent the afternoon correcting the book keeping error and then thought it was a good idea to call SaskTel, our cell provider, with a complaint I had with their rural high speed internet…  (high speed is a bit of an exaggeration)…

I began speaking with the first Sasktel employee and realized this was not going anywhere and asked to talk to his supervisor…  I got a lady on the phone after being on hold for awhile and my emotions were still pretty raw…

she basically told me my high speed internet was like another cell phone, with a limit of data I could use… blah, blah, blah…

I told her that Sasktel needed to up their game in rural areas and that I wouldn’t use so much internet if it didn’t take me the better part of a day to download a movie!

then it got sad… because the tears were right behind my eyeballs and I was fighting them and the lady at the same time…

some people say nothing they do in their life is a mistake…  that all your experiences lead you to where you need to be… I don’t agree…  I have many, many moments I wish I could go back and have a do-over…  this is one of those moments…

I said ‘so you think I’m a bad mom because I let me daughter watch old Full House episodes after school on Netflix… is that it???’…

‘my kids are very active, they aren’t fat tubs of lard sitting around watching YouTube all day’  (although lately they kinda are)

‘I have friends that don’t even have TV and just use their internet…  you are telling me I use more internet than them?’

‘how much money do you earn, Shirley?  enough to pay this bill that I am every month for crappy internet?  well, I’m not rich enough for this’

and then the tears won the battle and I had to excuse myself from the conversation… she said something  like ‘I’m really sorry you’re having such a bad day’ and at that point I couldn’t even form a sentence and gurgling some response like ‘thank you’ and had to hang up…

to make matters worse, the weather was getting better and it was turning into a beautiful day and here I chose to run at the absolute worst part of the day…  I’m not trusting the farmer’s sense of forecasting ever again…

the kids got off the bus and came in and I told them straight up ‘I’ve cried twice today for no reason so you all need to avoid me most likely’

my middle son told me ‘mom, whenever I’m having a bad day, I just think of my teacher…   she’s had a really hard life and a friend of hers just died this weekend… I’m sure your life is better than hers’

this made me laugh… and cry…  happy cry… but the kids all went far away from me just in case it wasn’t a happy cry…

that night, as I was heading off to sleep, the farmer said to me ‘this marathon training is really something eh?  you think it’s a good thing?’

 

for some people it is I’m sure… for some…

morning meatballs 

when someone says to you ‘I just can’t find the time for that’ … what is your reaction?

recently… due to a pretty intense winter depression fuelled by being ‘holed up’ in a rink booth and wishing to get outside more… I made the impulsive decision to register in a half-marathon for the end of May and start training…

the training involves smaller runs throughout the week and then one long run on Sunday (which is Monday for me)

the fun part of training is getting my workouts all written down on the calendar, eating meatballs for breakfast and buying a new running outfit and shoes…

the not so fun part is running… and running… and running…

I feel I need to mention that I have attempted to train for a half-marathon before… I got half way through day one of training and quit…  so don’t hold your breath…

when you tell people that you are attempting to run a marathon, there is always going to be that one individual in the group who says…

“I would never have the time to do that”

I’ve started working on my replies… because this is not the first time in my life that comments like that have been directed my way and I’m positive it won’t be the last…

so I respond with “I actually have a lot of time on my hands”… or “you make time for what you love… am I right?” …  or “I neglect a lot of other things in my life” … or “did you know I am a stay-at-home farmer’s wife?”

when you tell someone how busy you are and how you don’t have time for things… what do you think you are really saying?

are you giving yourself a little compliment that you are better because you are busier than the person who takes a yoga class?

when you say you don’t have time to read or watch tv because your evenings are so busy are you telling the person who does those things that they should up their ‘busy game’ and stop being so lazy?

do you think that by-standers who now suddenly realize how busy you are and how valuable your time is are going to ease your burden and assist you in your daily struggles?

when you see some people coming… you almost want to get the jump on the conversation and ask them “busy week?”… just to get the ball rolling in the direction they are going to steer the conversation anyways…


the craziest thing is some people who are very, very busy never talk about it… it’s like they are too busy to even say it… yet oddly enough, everyone knows how busy they are, even without them saying it…

the weird thing about it is that I am insanely competitive…  but not in this area…  you win… go ahead and win… be busier than me…

do more… be more… work more…  go right ahead…

just one request… stop talking about it…

if you want to be the busiest… then be the busiest…  just don’t keep having to tell everyone how  swamped you are…

you’ve already won…

now just enjoy your victory quietly please…

or perhaps – and this thought just occurred to me – you are really just looking for a hug…

in which case you are looking in all the wrong places…  keep moving along… quietly…

turkey apple morning meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg Lilydale Extra Lean ground turkey
  • 2 apples, grated
  • 1/2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (or you can use pistachios)
  • 3/4 cup Craisins

Directions:

  • mix ingredients together
  • with a medium ice cream scoop, scoop out meatballs onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  • bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked with no pink in them
  • serve with bbq sauce or ketchup if desired