I’ve Joined a Cult and Other Shenanigans

We were in our early 20’s when one of my best friends told me she’d joined a cult. I can’t remember where we were or what we were talking about before she said it but seemingly out of nowhere she said something like “well I did it. I joined a cult.”

As she is not the cult joining type, I was confused. Then she told me that the cult in question was Weight Watchers. I also had some pounds to lose in those days and I ended up buying in to the cult too. I was dedicated and I quickly shed the weight I wanted to with the gift of being young and having a job in a barn where I was constantly physically active. When I got near (but not quite all the way to) my goal I stopped the weight watching and maintained a weight I was pretty happy with until I stopped working in the barn. Obviously it all came back after that plus some… but what I retained was forever thinking of Weight Watchers as a cult.

After months of making many fitness gains but zero weight losses I decided to re-commit to the cult. I joined two weeks ago and at my weigh in today after a looong night shift I am down 3.8lbs since joining! I have logged my points faithfully and while I haven’t been perfect and I had a bit of a rummy pirate weekend last weekend it is working! Thank fucking… cult? Weight Watchers is definitely a corporate machine that makes shit loads of money off repeat customers and desperate people, but if you follow the plan it works. So I’m officially a devout cultist. Deal with it.

I’m so happy to finally write a blog about a good couple of weeks and some real success! I really, really can’t tell you how much I appreciate the support everyone has given me in comments and messages and real hugs and love you’ve all given me as I’ve been struggling along here for the past while. I feel like the past few blogs can be summed up with “hey guys, I super suck but I’m still trying!!”. I’m glad you’ve stuck with me and I’ve had a great February so far, filled with adventures.

Last week my friend Gillian walked 100 miles from Whitehorse to Braeburn as part of the Yukon Arctic Ultra pulling a sled full of supplies and I was so honored to be a small part of her support in doing this amazing thing. She and her friend Jennifer set out on Feb 4th at 1030 and finished on Feb 6 at 0230. I got to bring them some pizza and snacks at the marathon distance at Rivendell Farms and also headed out in the middle of the night to cheer them through the finish at Braeburn. I brought Gillian a delicious brekky bowl (my choice of last meal if I ever have to choose) and a heated truck seat home to Whitehorse after her adventure. It was so cool to cheer then in to the finish and be there to see it. I won’t ever forget it. Gillian is a huge inspiration to me and as I said before, I was so happy to be able to be part of her adventure! Here they are at the marathon distance and then at the 100 mile finish line! I can say for sure this is something I will never do. First because I hate the cold, second because my worst fear is falling through ice and third because Gillian told me after she was finished to never, ever do it! Haha!

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James continues to stick with me through success and failure and we had a couple of good workouts to kick off the month. My favourite by far though was when he brought me to the fire hall to workout with the Combat team. Now when I say I worked out with the Combat team, what I really mean is they worked out, and I worked out with James, and we happened to be in the same place at the same time. Of course I can’t even come close to reaching their level of fitness right now, but it was really fun to try some of the stuff they do. First we climbed the tower about a hundred times (ten, ten times) and the view from the top is pretty great. It was a beautiful day.

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It is so much better than the black street stairs in winter. First, it’s not fucking freezing. Second, it’s not as many stairs. It feels like you’re accomplishing so much more when you reach the top more often and then get to go down. I got a couple of great videos of the guys. Here’s one of Jeremy. My regular readers may recognize Jeremy as the man of many encouragements that are not always helpful, but always well intended. I like this dude a lot. Even though his encouragement is helpful about 30% of the time, it makes me smile 100% of the time.

At the top of the tower I wanted to check out how heavy that hose hoist was. Turns out… it’s really, really fucking heavy. It would take me at least ten minutes to get that thing up if I could even do it at all, which I highly doubt. Here’s my Jedi killing it.

Yeah, I know. Awesome.

So after a bunch of stairs we moved on to hauling a charged hose around while James took some pro photos that he had to fight a bit to get me to let him take. After that I tried to pick up the manikin dude they call Randy – note, also the name of my boss which I find hilarious – and drag him. He was one million pounds (really like 180ish pounds) and after multiple attempts I managed to pick him up and drag him maybe ten feet resulting in many bruises to both forearms and both thighs which I am still sporting a week later. Good times. Really, I loved it. I loved this workout because it was not just running, or just stairs, or just whatever. We did a bunch of stuff, including a good fight and it was varied and intense and overall, fun! 

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The next Monday James and I hit the cross country ski trails for a run that we ended up getting in trouble for. Turns out you can’t run on the ski trails in the winter. Now we know. I was post pirate weekend and it was pretty rough for me which was my own fault. Do not drink rum like Captain Jack Sparrow the night before a run with James. I should have learned this lesson months ago. Apparently I did not. Now I have and really have.

Later that same day after weeks of effort, Alison finally got me to try cross country skiing with her. This was a minor miracle because in the past I had, lets say, a bad experience on the XC skis. Four or five years ago Cameron and I decided at the beginning of the winter that we were gonna get super into cross country skiing. He grew up doing it but I had never tried it. I grew up downhill skiing. I figured “hey, it can’t be that hard, right? I mean, it’s not like you’re flying down the hill like you are on the mountain.” Oh boy I was in for a surprise. At the time we lived on a 40 acre property and we figured we could ski around the perimeter and get a good trail going and get lots of exercise with the dogs. So, with infinite confidence we headed out to Coast Mountain Sports and bought ourselves some nice skis, boots and poles and were excited for a winter of health. Cam talked me through the basics and we headed out around our place with him setting the trail and me following.

It was terrible! The snow was at least a foot and a half deep and there was no gliding at all. It was pretty much walking with big, awkward planks on my feet that my heels didn’t stick to. I hated it. Then we hit a little hill, which looked like a huge hill to me with my plank feet. Really it was a small dip that went down and up for a total elevation change of maybe 4 meters. I was terrified. Cam glided down and up effortlessly. I took a deep breath and went for it. I glided down the hill and once I hit the bottom immediately fell over. I was a tangle of skis and poles and floundering around in the deep snow trying to get up while Cameron laughed his ass off at the top of the hill. I had to take my skis off to get up to the top and tearfully yelled at him that I was “never ever doing this fucking piece of shit sport ever again!” I kept that promise until this week.

After Alison convinced me it was great idea to try it again, Cameron dug my brand new (and yet four year old) skis and boots out of the shed and I headed to Alison’s house where she scraped the ancient wax off of them and got them ready for the temperature that day. She took me to actual ski trails (the same ones I got in trouble for running on earlier that day) with tracks and grooming and shit and gave me a proper lesson. It was night and day to my previous experience. I loved it. It made a huge difference to learn from someone that is not my husband and also to learn on proper ski trails from an experienced skier. I was pretty scared but it turned out to be awesome. I kept looking down at the tips of my skis for some reason. Alison told me at least ten times to look where I was going. I’d say “FUCK!” look back up and not three minutes later I’d look down and get hypnotized  by my ski tips until she told me again to look where I was going. There were a couple of small hills which terrified me due to my bad experience but she talked me through them and laughed at my expression while I struggled and screeched down the hills. She told me she recreated my faces and noises for Quinn later that night, which I’m sure was pretty funny. She took good care of me and I had a great time and am super excited to get out there again. It was a good cardio workout without the pounding that running does to my body and I really had fun. When we finished up I was regretting wasting the last four years not skiing actually, it was that fun.

On Tuesday Jenna came over for a run around my neighbourhood after our day shift. We ran shortly after we both ate dinner and we each regretted that. I was very glad we did the run after it was over but oh gawd it was so cold and my dinner was making itself know as was hers. I had a hot tub before I went to bed and after 30 minutes in there I was still cold when I tucked myself in.

Wednesday I was lucky enough to have a workout in the middle of my day shift. James came by for a fight and some planks that my core is still feeling a little today, many days later. I do not take for granted that fact that I can occasionally get a workout in on the clock… it’s a pretty amazing perk to what is already the best job ever.

Thursday James and I hit the Millenium trail on a sunny 2 degree day and I had the best run I’ve had in weeks. While it wasn’t a PR it still felt great to get around the 5k without walking and we had a good chat and told some funny stories which made running kinda hard at times while laughing and I felt really good to be out in the sun. I was struggling in km 3 pre funny stories and asked him why the fuck anyone runs. I told him it was a stupid thing to do… he agreed that it was pretty stupid but reminded me that I run to stop running, and when I stopped running I remembered why it’s so great. Stopping running is the best. I needed to remember that.

On Friday, disaster! The following is embarrassing… but it’s the truth and it’s also funny, thus I will share it with you. I was between night shifts and I slept until the early afternoon. When I woke up I headed to the hot tub, as usual. All was normal until I got inside after my soak and proceeded to take my bathing suit off. What is a normal everyday occurrence turned into disaster when I bent over quickly to take my bottoms off. I was bent almost 90° and my lower back seized so hard I could. not. move. It was so painful and I was stuck, bent over, in pain, in my bathroom, with no clothes on. It was so bad I actually considered calling an Ambulance to help me for at least four minutes. This may not mean much to my non-emergency services readers. However to my fellow medics and other first responder friends you’ll understand how bad it was. I work in a small service and therefore I know everyone that works for EMS in Whitehorse pretty well. I could only think of about two people that I would be ok with finding me stuck and naked in my bathroom and both of them are on my crew so I knew they were not working at the time. So I ruled out calling for help pretty damn quick. Eventually I straightened up and made it to my bed where I managed to lay down and whimper. Unfortunately I had a workout with James at the fire hall (my new favourite, as you know) scheduled in the next hour and I texted him that I messed up my back…. he didn’t text back. FUCK! I assumed he was busy at work (he was as I found out later) and I refused to just not show up, so I took a bunch of ibuprofen, told myself I was fine and headed out. I was not fine. We walked the stairs maybe four or five times and I was done. I was so angry that I hurt myself TAKING OFF MY FUCKING BATHING SUIT! I literally do that every day. James said to tell people that we were running through the woods and fighting at the same time and we were attacked by wolves and I punched one in the face and got injured fighting them off. I liked that much better. A running wolf fight injury is much more majestic than a stripping injury. Wolf fight it is.

Skiing with Alison this week made me miss snowboarding. I haven’t ridden in years. My excuse before this year has been my severe out-of-shape-ness. My excuse this year has been my no-snow-pants-that-fit-ness. So this week, before the back pain disaster, I took my board in for a wax and sharpen and went and bought some end of season sale Walmart snow pants that fit. I was planning on going to the hill this weekend with Cam but the wolf fight injury has got in the way. I’m still kinda hoping that enough muscle relaxants may let me go ride tomorrow, we’ll see.

All in all, February has been great so far. Once my back is a-ok I’ll be right back at it. Hopefully that is ASAP. The week of Feb 22 James has a big running week planned for us and I plan to rock that shit. I’m at just under a year until the big Princess Half Marathon goal…

My friend Gord put up a photo on Facebook of us riding at Grouse Mountain seven damn years ago this week. It made me nostalgic and happy and sad and missing him and those good times in Paramedic Academy and on ski patrol. I was a lot more fit in those days. Actually that’s not 100% true. I was smaller for sure, but maybe not more fit. Even though I have a long way to go still (a very long way), it’s possible I’m more “fit” now, at least cardiovascularly, than I was then. I doubt I could have run 8k, or 10k without stopping even though I weighed less… and I guess that’s something to be proud of.

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So cheers to warmer weather, and sun, and skiing, and riding and a good rest of February!

Here’s one of Cameron and me at Mt. Sima in 2009ish.Those damn nice pants don’t fit me anymore… but they will…. soooon. Mwa ha ha!

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~P²

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