A New Year, With No Mistakes in it Yet

Anne of Green Gables said “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet”. Well, I suppose L.M. Montgomery really said it…  but the point is we have entered a brand new year, with no mistakes in it yet. A new opportunity to get it right, to do life differently than I’ve done it before. I’m taking it.

I’m going to make mistakes, that’s for damn sure. But just for today, I started it off right. I met all my debaucherous goals last night and woke up feeling pretty bad in general, but not quite as bad as I thought I might. I dragged myself out of bed and got ready for the resolution run today. I met James there and while we were waiting to get started I noticed that unlike the Terry Fox run where every type of body you can think of was represented, everybody there looked like a runner. I felt super uncomfortable and out of place and almost walked the fuck out of there. I told James what I was thinking and he talked me off the ledge. While I know that I am a runner, I still don’t look like a runner and today I felt that times one hundred. No one was unwelcoming in any way at all, I just psyched myself out for some reason. Good thing my Jedi was there.

We set out for the run and while I expected a 5k it turned out to be a 7.5k loop. I ran it with James and another Firefighter Combat teammate of his that I met today. I didn’t want to have a run like yesterday’s, which totally sucked for me, so I decided to do it better. This is not always a decision I can make, but today it worked. It probably helped that I had someone I didn’t know running with me. I felt uncomfortable holding him back but figured he could leave us behind if he wanted to pick it up. I had a lot of leg pain yesterday and today James asked me how my legs were about halfway through. I was trying really hard not to think about my legs so I just said “doesn’t matter” trying to keep my brain off the subject. The boys seemed to like that one. I wasn’t even trying to be funny, but I’m glad it gave them a laugh anyway.

When we finished up my family was there waiting for me playing Eye of the Tiger from the truck speakers. They cheered me in to the finish and it was super funny and felt really really good. All in all it was an awesome way to start the year off. Of course I took no pictures with them or James and am now kicking myself for it, as usual.

I do have one picture. James took some action shots while we were running and sent me one. My whole family said it was good; I hate it. HATE it. All I can see is how far I still have to go, and my little piggy nose and my chubby face. I have full withdrawal banshee tears running down my pudgy cheeks right now looking at it. I’m glad I have it though. I’m keeping it for next year. Next year at resolution run I will put that picture beside another one from the 2017 run and feel completely different than I do right now. Instead of letting it get me down too much I will let it rage fuel me into being better. At everything. Just like Khan.

Things went slightly downhill from there for me. It was really warm for Whitehorse today, about zero degrees Celsius so it was a beautiful day for a run. Unfortunately I layered up a bit too much based on how windy and terrible it was yesterday and therefore got super sweaty. My family went out for lunch together right after the run and I didn’t bring a dry change of clothes; didn’t even occur to me that I might want one. It wasn’t super warm in the restaurant either so I was freezing and shivering and starving a little, thus ending my mistake free year on day one. Then I ate a big sandwich because I was so hungry after the run and after I wolfed that thing down the food combined with some lady pains made me have a super bad tummy that was unpleasant. Add to these two problems some nicotine withdrawal and you have a terrible Bermuda triangle of misery and discomfort. Of course this had to happen to me today just as I was spending the last couple of hours with my family before they flew away for home. Sorry if I was a little grumpy guys. I had a great run but I was really feeling pretty crap after. They are landing in Vancouver as I type this and I miss them already. It’s hard to believe the visit flew by so fast… but I know they were really here and it wasn’t a dream because there’s a puzzle that’s ¾ finished on my dining room table and a fridge full of leftovers to prove it.

After dropping Mom and Dad, Grady and Jess off at the airport I rushed home where I took a lot of medicine, crawled into bed and immediately fell asleep for an hour and a half. When I woke up I felt warm again and spent some time with Buffy before heading here for the New Years recap.

Even with the crappy parts, today was a good kickoff to the year. A good run, time with family, and who doesn’t love a nap? I was going to talk about my watch that I got for Christmas and is on it’s way to me but I think I’m out of words today. I’m having the worst cigarette craving right now. A drooling, whimpering, crying because I can’t have one craving. So I’m done for the day.

Cheers to 2016, it will be my best year ever. I will make it so.

~PP

Shit is About to Get Real

The year has grown old, and man has it done that wicked fast. Tomorrow the new year is born and you all know what that means…. Every time you write the date for the next two weeks you’ll write 2015 by accident and you’ll say “I can’t believe it’s 2016 already” thirty times.

It also means resolutions. I’ve been struggling with this. I hate resolutions. This is because I never keep them. Never ever. So what’s the point? I was complaining about this to Mister James the other day and he pointed out to me that I resolved to get fit a few months ago and I’m currently keeping that resolution so it’s not critical that I get my New Years on. My whole life is different this year though, so maybe it’s time to make a real resolution. I still don’t like the “resolution” word though; too easy to break and I have too much history of doing just that. I’m going to call them commitments. That’s a scarier word and I try my best not to break those. My record is not perfect but it’s a lot better than my 0% on resolutions. I’ve dedicated a lot of think time to this over that last week and I’ve got three that I’m going to commit to. They’re not fitness goals but I think they’ll be good for me in other ways. My ninja training is far from complete but I don’t need resolutions to keep that up.

Three commitments to myself this year:

  1. Enroll in some kind of health and fitness or nutrition course online and get started.
  2. Take an online blogging course once per quarter this year.
  3. Track everything that goes in my mouth without fail until I lose 20 more pounds and am on track nutritionally.

I’ve never much cared how much traffic the blog gets. I mean, don’t get me wrong… when I get a lot of views that’s really cool, but it’s not my main goal for this blog. I would like to make the blog more awesome though and I’m sure some blog writing courses will be beneficial. It just so happens that WordPress (my blog platform) has free online blogging courses and I’ve already signed up for two starting in February. Get ready for increased awesomeness!

This week I have had a couple of good workouts. James and I had a great fight earlier in the week. I actually kicked him in the elbow once by accident. I was talking when I threw the kick so he didn’t see it coming. He told me that was because I bite my lip every single time I kick and since I was talking when I kicked I didn’t do it. I didn’t believe him at first. Then I kicked again and realized that he was one hundred percent correct. I automatically bit my lip before I kicked. Then I did it again. And the rest of the fight I tried not to bite my lip every time I kicked. He was right, as usual; I am ridiculous. We finished off the fight with some torture planks and all the squats in the world. My legs are hella sore.

Yesterday I took my mom, my brother and his Jess to the infamous Black Street Stairs. James met us there and we all trekked to the top together. The family walked around the airport fence for a while at the top of the stairs while James and I walked up and down the stairs. It was cool to have my family see the site of my repeated torture and now when I whinge about the stairs they have an idea of what I’m going through.

  
Me, Jess, Grady and Mom

2015 Progress

I had a painful run today, and I didn’t make it as far as I was supposed to. We had planned on 8k and I made it 5k. I didn’t even make it 5k without walks though, there were multiple walks. It made me feel pretty crap to be honest not to be able to do what I’ve done before. But a look back has helped me realize that one crap run does not erase what I’ve accomplished this year. Also I did all the squats in the world two days ago and drank like a monster last night… the drinking part is not normally an acceptable excuse but I’m giving myself a holiday grace period; this ends tomorrow.

Here are a few examples of my progress from my fitbit. Start with my first fitbit run on the top left and work your way to the bottom right. The change in my heart rate and pace are pretty awesome, especially considering I’ve only lost 12 frustrating pounds.

  
Looking at that makes me feel better about today.

  
 The top left photo above was taken on July 31, 2015 the day before this craziness started (Dad is in the background). The rest are in progress photos from the last four months.

Tonight my family is going for a fancy dinner and I’m going to have something delicious and terrible for me. Then we will watch the Whitehorse fireworks at the sensible time of 8pm and after head home where I plan to dive into the rum bottle and smoke my face off until 11:59:59pm. I’m pretty sure this paragraph just gave James a small heart attack… it’s ok buddy, breathe through it; everything is going to be ok.

Tomorrow shit gets real. Really real. It’s not that I haven’t worked hard the last five months, I’ve worked very hard. Tomorrow, though, the real commitment begins. Nutrition will be bang on, rum is out and the nicotine withdrawal rage banshee rides at dawn. I’m meeting James at 11:30 for a resolution run with many other people in Whitehorse. Yes, I’m going to run with other people. That’s real shit for me. James has promised to stay with me no matter how much I suck (my words, not his) and kick the running year off together. That’s pretty damn cool and I’m looking forward to it believe it or not. My family will be at the finish line and I can’t imagine a better way to kick off my best year ever then to be running with James with my family cheering me on.

I’ve had such a great holiday with my family and I’m sad that it’s ending, but I’m also looking forward to the New Year. It’s going to be an epic one for me. I’m going to melt the weight away and reach my running goals. There’s just under 14 months left until the Disney Princess Half Marathon and I’m going to kill that run. I know I will, because I have the support I need to see me through. I know I’ve said it many times already but I am so thankful for the support of my friends and family. I could not and would not be doing this without you.

Here’s a photo my mom took of me earlier this week writing the blog. Apparently I’m very serious at times when I’m thinking about what I’m writing.

  

Happy New Year and I’ll be back tomorrow with a New Years Resolution Run update. Thanks for sticking with me this year… I love you all.

~PP

P.S. This little beauty arrives for me in early January… More on this tomorrow!

  

Kicking Ass and Christmas Cheer

It’s cold and beautiful in Whitehorse at –35C and my family is celebrating Christmas by cooking delicious food and boiling water and throwing it in the air outside. Check this shit out. Also notice the sweet Star Wars snowflakes that I made and that Cameron poured the boiling water on his feet a little bit.

  My parents came up from BC to celebrate the holidays together. We haven’t all been together for Christmas for at least seven or eight years and it’s lovely. My parents are here now and my brother and his Jess arrive in two days for New Years shenanigans.

I haven’t taken any training time off for Christmas. James said our schedule this week looked like this: Monday, we train. Tuesday, we train. Wednesday, we train. Thursday is Christmas Eve so you know what that means… we train. Today I get a rest day but tomorrow, I train!

This week we have been running as usual, but after that we have been fighting to the death! Well… not to the death, just to the pain. Well not so much to the pain either, but definitely to the short of breath. Perhaps a little back story is needed here. Last spring Alison and I took kickboxing for a few weeks and we loved it. Hitting and kicking stuff is very therapeutic. I also do a combat type workout at home which I’ve talked about before but then it’s just the air that’s being punched and kicked and it doesn’t fight back. So James and I were talking about new things we could do and I told him I want to hit stuff. He was into it and so I went and bought some very tough looking MMA gloves (they’re not tough, they’re pink) and some Muay Thai pads and James now lets me hit him after we run. It is SO fun. It’s my favorite workout ever. The first day we did it I must have had a massive grin on my face the whole time because my cheeks hurt a bit after. You know it’s a fun workout when your face cheeks hurt. Pain in your other cheeks does not necessarily indicate the same thing.

  
While I haven’t taken a training break I have definitely been having a foody, boozy, good old holiday time. It’s my last hurrah because come January “shit gets real”. Smoking is out, drinking it out, eating anything delicious is out. Running is in, fighting is in, constant soreness is in. I’m going to do this thing. I’m on the wagon, I might been leaning off a little right now for the holiday but I think in January I will be tied to it until it reaches my goal.

I haven’t been doing much else exciting lately. I’ve been on a 90’s TV show Netflix binge for a bit. Right now I have to nerd admit that I’m really into Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is partly nostalgic because I loved that show in high school and partly research in case I find out James really is a vampire. Do you ever see this and feel like Netflix is judging you?

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YES, I am! Fuck you Netflix. I do other shit too, you don’t know me.


 Last week on the winter solstice I started an entry that I didn’t finish. It went a little bit (or exactly) like this:

Winter Solstice

Sunrise today was at 10:09AM and sunset at 3:48PM. It was a beautiful day and I even had to wear sunglasses for about 10 minutes around noon. It was a happy day because I’m officially on vacation! I’m not going anywhere, but I have two glorious weeks off and my family is coming for Christmas!

We’ve had amazing northern lights this week. I was standing outside last night while I was working night shift and they were mind bottling (see previous blog entries for the definition of mind bottling). Pink and red and purple and green; some of the best northern lights I’ve ever seen. Here’s a great shot from Jonathan Tucker Photography that I saw on instagram.

I haven’t been idle for the last two weeks. I’ve still been running and P90Xing and such, but it’s Christmas and I’ve also been boozing and eating. When I admitted to James that I was a little, let’s say unfocused, he asked me if I fell off the wagon or jumped off. I told him I dove off into a bucket of rum. You pretty much can’t decorate the house for Christmas without rum and eggnog right? James assured me that you can, and that the decorations turn out more straight when you do. Perhaps I’ll test that theory next year. He often tells me that our journey is a marathon and not a sprint and even though I sometimes totally suck, he sticks by me and keeps helping me. That dude really rocks. Everybody should have a Jedi… but you can’t have mine.

That’s it. I really remember writing more than that but It’s possible rum was involved. Oh rum, I’m going to miss you next year.


 I’ve been thinking about resolutions a lot lately. I have a bad attitude towards resolutions, mostly because I make them every year and I have never kept a single one. So for the past few years I’ve said fuck it and refused to… resolute?? Resolve??? Reform??? I’ve refused to make any resolutions. James gave me a hard time about my bad resolution attitude and I’ve been reevaluating. We’ll see what the week brings and I will update with a New Years post about what’s in store for the year and a look back at how far I’ve come.

Whatever and wherever you’re celebrating this year, from my family to yours, have a great one! Please have a laugh with us at our hilarious, Yukoney, very Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.

  
 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

~PP

Mojo, my Feather, the Banshee and Love

Well kids, it’s been a while.

I’ve had a few adventures in the last couple weeks, so let’s catch up!

The last time I wrote I had just done my first 10k, which was awesome. The next day I was surprised to feel not broken so I went out for another run with James and Jody. It was a 5k around the Millenium trail and I DIED. That may be a slight exaggeration but you get the picture. After about a kilometer, maybe not even that far I had zero energy. My shin splints were splinty, the rest of my body was ouchy and my brain could not make my legs go. At all. It was super demoralizing and there may have been a tear or two near the end. There’s no way to know.

I’ve run about four times solo since then but every single time has been complete shit. I’ve been slow with lots of walking and “I so suck, I hate running in the cold, I hate running in general” talk in my head. The crap runs were topped by an epically crap run at the wildlife preserve, but I did get some great pictures.

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I decided, with running being shit, that I needed to do something else for a while. I had a couple of great spin bike sessions and a couple of good Les Mills Combat workouts too. Combat is my go to workout. It’s a beachbody program. If you haven’t heard of beachbody then perhaps you’ve heard of P90X. It’s a beachbody program which Cam has done a couple of times and had great results from. I haven’t done it, but Combat is amazing. I LOVE kicking and punching, even though it’s only punching the air. It’s so fun, the time goes by fast and it’s a great calorie burner. So after a few good non-running workouts I decided I needed to kick it up a notch.

Tony Horton is the P90X dude and his most recent form of torture for human people is P90X3. It’s a little (lot) crazy but the workouts are all just 30 minutes. P90X and X2 have long workouts – usually 60-90 minutes. So I figured if I was going to do crazy I might as well start with X3 and 30 minutes each, especially since I’m often now doing doubles. I haven’t stopped running and spinning and stairs and Combat…ing? I’ve just added X3. My weight loss has been so sloooowwww and I’m lucky to have a lot of free time, so why not double up? I’ve committed to the craziness that is X3. 90 days of 30 minute workouts Monday-Saturday, Sunday off. Tony and I are going to get to know each other pretty well. In for a penny, in for a pound, right? Or in my case negative 87.5 more pounds.

Adventures in Quitting Smoking

Nine days ago I quit smoking. I’ve tried to quit about every second week this year with no success. The longest I ever made it was about lunch time before failing. But I need to quit. So, I stopped. It’s hard, really really hard. The most difficult time for me is at work. I miss it the most there, but I have good support and my friends are going above and beyond to help me. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve had a couple blips this week, but I’ve gone from almost a pack a day to zero (most days).

Here’s a neat fact – nicotine withdrawal turns you into a bitch monster rage banshee. I was having a conversation with Cam at one point and he said something (neither of us can remember what it was, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t something that would normally bother me) which raised my eyebrows. Thinking that was pretty funny he continued down the path of self destruction which resulted in my saying “go FUCK yourself!!”. I can’t replicate the exact emphasis in print but it was ridiculous. Normally I would never ever say something like that to him. Luckily Cameron possess an excellent sense of humor and instead of instantly leaving me he burst out laughing and walked away. I really love that guy. Now, if my eyebrows go up even a fraction Cam says “go FUCK yourself, got it!” and walks away. He’s the best.

When I’m running I usually reach a point in the last couple of kilometers when I know I’m going to make it. Once I know I can really settle in and sometimes push a little harder until the end. I can’t explain how I know, I just do. I wish that would happen earlier in the run, or even before I start but it doesn’t. With quitting, I’m not there. I don’t know I’m going to make it so I’m not free yet, not even close. I’m in as much danger of falling back into it as ever, but I’m doing well. Finally!

Back to Running

Yesterday I had my first good run in two weeks. James was with me and I hadn’t run with him since the 10k awesomeness and the 5k disaster that followed. When we were running the 10k I was talking about how I can’t push myself when I’m on my own like I can when I run with someone else, and most specifically my Jedi. I run best with him. He said he was only Dumbo’s feather. I laughed pretty hard because I thought that analogy was both extremely clever and very funny. Laughing hard kinda sucks when you’re trying to run but I couldn’t help it, it was great. I wondered if he was secretly telling me I have big ears. Kidding. There was no wondering… he was correct. James is my feather. Yesterday proved it. On my first James powered run since the crap one I got a new PR. I thought I sucked so bad and I wasn’t a runner anymore. I really did. I gave him a comprehensive list of reasons why I didn’t want to run. He didn’t much care about my reasons, I was running.

As usual he was right and I was wrong. We hit the Millenium trail for 5k and I was hella nervous. My running mojo was pretty low. But I had my feather and I spread my ears and tried to fly. The first 2k were alright but I was struggling pretty hard in kilometer 3. That’s fairly normal for me though and I tried not to complain. I think I only said “I can’t breathe” once-ish and I didn’t complain about my legs feeling heavy at all, even though I thought about it a lot. When we finally hit 5k and I got to stop running I told him he was a great feather, and he is. I don’t really need him to fly but he sure helps. When I realized it was definitely a new PR my running mojo returned all at once. It was an amazing feeling. I’ve said before (although not in the blog I don’t believe) that I mostly run to stop running.

Stopping running is the most best thing ever. My friend Jared told me that once about a million years ago and I didn’t understand, not really. I thought it was funny at the time, but I didn’t really get it. I do now. Stopping running after a good run is a great feeling. It’s worth all the pain, and the shortness of breath, and the cold and the everything. Running well and then stopping is better than I could ever have imagined it might be. Do it.

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The Little Things

Two little encouraging things happened this week, and when the weight loss is slow you have to appreciate the little things. First, very little but very awesome was that I had to do up my watch a notch tighter. It’s cool to be losing size even on my wrists. Second, I was shopping for a new sports bra yesterday which all women should agree is the most important piece of fitness equipment for us. Even more than shoes. The awesome bra store in Whitehorse has been closed for a few months doing renovations so I haven’t been there in a while. They keep a card with all the stuff you’ve ever bought and your size and such, and when the bra lady went to write down my new info she said “hey! Look at this, you’re a few sizes smaller than the last time you were here. You must be working out!” That felt pretty damn good.

I know the shape of my body is changing like crazy and I’m much more fit and strong than I was four months ago, but come on pounds, fuck off.

A Little Love

I’m feeling extra thankful today for all my people and so I have some love to give at the end of this little catch up session.

First to Cameron for thinking the nicotine withdrawal rage banshee is hilarious and not just a huge douchebag. You have put up with a lot and laughed about it. I sure love you.

Next to Alison for the gift of some amazing fleece lined leggings that I wore yesterday under my running tights and which kept my legs nice and toasty for the first time since there was no snow on the ground. Amazing. And also for climbing stairs with me and making your legs into non moving wooden pegs alongside me.

To Jenna for the constant encouragement, for always laughing at my jokes and for getting me a flipbelt so I can carry my own shit on runs. You’re awesome.

Guillaume, thank you for reading and for all your awesome comments on the blog. I hope you and your family join the PPR team and meet us at Disney. Your encouragement means a lot to me and I appreciate it more than I can say!

James, my magic feather. You make me stronger and faster and better and help me to fly.

To Andy and Heather for cheering me from afar and for all your love.

My family, for your encouragement and support, and for always letting me know how long it’s been since I’ve written when it’s been a while.

To all of everybody who has commented on here, or facebook, or to my real face… THANK YOU! Each one of you helps me with every encouraging word.

So cheers to all of you. You keep me going. For reals. Thank you times one million.

One billion.

Infinity.

~PP

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Blah, Blah, Blah, Running

I was reminded by Andy yesterday morning that I had not written in nine days. That’s a lot more days than I normally let go by between posts. Lately though I’ve been thinking that all I had to talk about was blah, blah, blah, running… stairs… sore. There’s only so much you can write about running. Really though, that’s why I started this thing. So here we go with some blah blah running.

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This week was hella cold, so James and I hit the indoor track at the Canada Games Centre on Monday for some non frigid running. It was nice to wear shorts I have to admit. I pretty much live in shorts once the temperature hits at least eight degrees in the spring until the cold temperatures thwart me in the Fall (Fall being early September here) and I’ve missed them. We did devil sprints for about 45 minutes and it was fun to run around the track fast(ish). One lap of walking between sprints was not enough to get my breathing back to normal, but even so every second lap was a hard run… except that one time I may have used the “distraction talk” technique to my advantage and talked about video games for a lap and a half until James said “wait, is this our second walking lap?” I put on my best innocent face and told him there was no way to know. I knew.

 
The next day we did a 5k at the track and it was my fastest run yet. I ran 5k in 37:26 which is an average pace of 7’28” per km. My fastest pace before this was 8’25” per km. Keep in mind that the track is flat and the air is warm and who knows exactly how accurate my fitbit is based on steps instead of GPS, but still that’s a lot damn faster! Almost a full minute per kilometer! After that run James condemned me to a 10k next week as I still had some life in me after that run. I should have looked more tired.

 
Wednesday the world was still frozen so I hunkered down at home for some strength training in my gym. I lifted my little heart out and then had trouble doing anything else with my arms for the next few hours.

 
Yesterday was the most frigid day of the week at –25C and I was back at the Games Centre to run with a new friend. I met Jody through the blog and I was stoked to meet her in person. We’ve been trying to hook up for a run for a couple of weeks and today it finally worked out. Turns out we’re great running buddies with a similar pace. I am definitely looking forward to running with her lots in the future!

 
So what else have I done this week? Well, I sat down to a Netflix 90’s show nerd marathon and gathered all the running magazines that I’ve collected for the last three months. I cut out my favorite photos and quotes and then rearranged and cleaned up my little gym downstairs and put all the photos up on the walls. It looks pretty awesome I must say. I plan to spend a lot of time in there this winter so I’m glad I’ve made it feel a little more like my place.

 
I ordered some winter running stuff from Sugoi and MEC last week and this week it came, which is pretty fast for mail in the Yukon. The Salomon tights I ordered from MEC came first and I was pretty excited about them… but they didn’t fit! Based on the measurements online I was sure they would fit so it was pretty disappointing. They also weren’t as insulated as I hoped they’d be, so they will be going back. This got me a little down to be honest. I’d been so excited to get some winter running stuff and I really need it too.

 
Then my Sugoi stuff came. I love Sugoi and I was really excited about it. I ordered the Subzero Zap tights for winter running and based on the measurements online I thought they’d be a little small. I ordered them to save them for the middle of the winter, but these ones FIT! Very exciting. I also got a nice running jacket. It’s a beautiful Ignite Shelter jacket and I love it, but need to shrink into a little. This time instead of getting me down, the jacket being a little small made me want to work on operation shrink into jacket ASAP. It was motivating instead of disappointing. I’m not sure why it was so different than the tights earlier the same day but it was. It was a rollercoaster of emotions… I don’t like emotions much, but I’m starting to get used to them.

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Now I’m back at work for a couple of rest days. It’s funny to look forward to work because you get to rest your aching body a little bit. I pretty much live in soreness now. I can’t remember a day in the past month that some part of my body or another wasn’t sore. Blah, blah, blah, ouch.

 
Next week I’m on to 10k at some point which I have been informed is 40 laps around the track. That’s a lot of laps with the same view. Hopefully my sparkling personality and cunning wit will get me through the monotony without going insane. I’ll let you know how it goes and try to remember to get a couple of pictures of the track.

 
Here’s to a warm, dry, flat 40 laps!

 
~PP

The Inaugural PPR Vlog

Today Alison and I completed the ceremonial dumping of the sand, and we videoed it. I hate pictures, and I hate videos even more. I was thinking there was a good chance I’d just keep this for myself. Then I realized that was the easy choice once again. It was a pretty cool experience and Alison’s idea to do this is amazing.

The video changes quality a couple of times because my phone decided it had enough of the cold and shut down in the middle of filming. So we switched to Alison’s phone which is in a derp proof case… probably an excellent idea. Perhaps a GoPro will be on my Christmas list if the vlogs continue (the vlogs will probably continue).

I woke up at 4am today and couldn’t get back to sleep because I was so excited about doing this. The vampire transformation has begun…

I hope you watch and enjoy our shenanigans.

The song is Naked by X Ambassadors. Partly because I love the song and partly because that’s how sharing a video makes me feel – naked… figuratively.

~PP

A Real Runner Now and Three Month Results

I started this blog last night. I was writing it on wordpress in a browser, like an idiot. Around midnight I had it 90% complete… and then my browser crashed and I lost it all. I growled, said “fuck this shit!!!!” and went to bed. So now, a day older and a little wiser I start again; this time in Word, like a genius.

This week started out for me with a stair session with the Ginga Ninja and Mister James. We did our half hour and my brain was in the “yay! I’m done!” zone. Then James asked me if I was just going home to assassinate, which is code for play video games. I was indeed going home to assassinate. He informed me that instead I would be staying for a full hour of stairs. He had another group coming right after us, unluckily for me. I stayed and suffered for another half hour while he made me do progressively more flights of stairs two at a time until the last time I went bottom to top double stairing it. That was Wednesday… my legs still hurt.

The next day I woke up after a post night shift nap to a delightful message from James telling me that it was a solo run day for me and that he was sure I’d get it done. I had planned a solo nap day. I thought about it as a good chance to try out the new Yak Trax that I had just bought so I got up and headed out around the neighbourhood. There is a big hill in the middle that has repeatedly defeated me. The first time I “ran” this route I had to stop four times to catch my breath while walking up it. I still can’t run it but at least I can walk up it without stopping now. I will slaughter that hill one day… soon.

The run was cold and windy and painful in the leg area, but when I got home it was the first time I felt like a real runner. I think it was because I really didn’t want to go and I was tired and hurting but I went anyway. Even though I walked the hill in the middle of the run when I got back I thought “I think I’m a runner now”. There’s always a bit of a debate of when a person can call herself a real runner. Some say it’s when you get out for your first run, others when you finish your first race… I think it’s when you feel like a runner and it’s different for everyone. The feeling finally happened for me and now I think I can call myself a runner.

Here’s my new Yak Trax. They are amazing! Your feet feel a bit heavier but the traction is pretty epic. FYI, running on snow is hard… not as hard as sand, but still pretty hard.

Yak2

YakTrax

The next day James wanted to run and it was the first time I had to tell him “I can’t”, which hurt me in the soul a little bit. I’ve tried very hard never to say that to him and just to suck up my “I can’ts” and do what he tells me to. But I could not. My legs were two pillars of soreness that would barely move forward after the hour of stairs followed by my first snow run. He gave me a choice between doing upper body at the gym and a walk. I totally chickened out of the gym (with lots of people with lots of eyes to see me) and choose a walk, which was lovely. But now I kind of feel like the old Kirstin was around that day and she chose that. If I could go back in time I’d chose the gym, because that was what I didn’t want to do; it was the hard choice. I chose the easy way once again and I regret it. I have to keep making the hard choices and next time I will choose differently. My legs regretted it too, even walking was pretty ouchy.

Yesterday Alison and I went to the Wildlife Preserve for another 5k run. It was actually the first time we’ve run together. We’ve worked out together and climbed stairs together and kickboxed together (so much fun!) but it was our first run… and my legs still hurt like mo fo’s. We strapped on our Yak Trax and hit the road. I was struggling pretty hard and was once again defeated by the hill… those damn hills. Truthfully I was defeated before the hill and we walked for a bit. The lynx were out for once though so that was pretty cool. I was convinced that my legs were done for the day but once we got to the top of the hill I told Alison that I was going to run from there to the end and I did it. We were having a good chat which was very helpful. Talking always distracts me from my misery fairly effectively.

I haven’t had the pain in my leg that had been bothering me for a couple of weeks, but when I woke up today there it was again. The same sharp pain in the exact same place just like a bitch. So I will ice it and tape it up and rest it if I need to and keep on keeping on… but it’s super annoying.

This week I’m hitting the weights. James says it’s time. I’ve had some success with Les Mills Pump in the past so I’m starting that again. It’s a 90 day strength program that I’ve achieved some good progress with twice… and then never bothered to finish. I’m great at starting shit, but my finish needs some serious work. This time I’m gonna rock it all the way to the end. Today is day 1 and I will fit it in around my runs, which will always be priority number one.


So! It’s been three months… what have I achieved?

I finally lost ten pounds! I stepped on the scale Saturday morning and when I saw I was at the ten I did a happy dance and yelled at Cameron immediately “I finally fucking lost ten pounds!!!”  He rejoiced with me and it was a good start to the day.

I also did some measurements and here are the happy results, which are actually even more exciting than the ten pounds. I must be packing muscle onto my legs because these results don’t make sense with only ten pounds lost otherwise. All the following losses are in inches.

  • Waist  -3
  • Tummy   -4
  • Hips   -3
  • Thigh -2 (on each leg!)
  • Arm   -1
  • Neck  -0.5

Here is an example of my running progress. On the left is a solo run in August shortly after I got my Fitbit. On the right is my best 5k run so far which was a couple of weeks ago.

progress

I’m really happy with all of those results. While progress has been slow with weight I’ve managed to look beyond that and see the change in how I look and my improvement in running as my main markers. Someone that I haven’t seen in a couple months walked into my lair at work the other day and immediately said “holy shit Kirstin are you losing weight?  You’re fading away!” That felt pretty damn good.

In three months I’ve gone from deep rut to real runner. I’m starting to think of food as fuel and not just yummy yum yums. My brain is in the right place and my feet are firmly on the road.

This week Alison and I are going to haul ten pounds of sand up and down the stairs for a while and then dump it out at the top in celebration of my ten pound loss. It was her amazing idea and we plan to do it every ten pounds I lose until I reach my goal. Hopefully there will be a big old pile of sand up there soon… we just have to find some sand that isn’t currently frozen. I keep bringing my phone to runs and stairs and forgetting to take pictures. I will not forget at the 10 pound celebration though… I will not.

Stay awesome!

~PP

Jedi and Padawan – A Running Tale

kirstandjames

My Jedi and I had an interesting run. Everyone has limits and Friday, James reached his. I will outline the picture for you and then let James colour it in.

It was a day after I did stairs and we had a millennium trail 4.2k loop planned in the afternoon. In the morning James asked me if I would keep up with him if he wore full fire gear and weights totaling 100 pounds. Last time he wore gear he was wearing 92 extra pounds and I was still falling behind. That was only last Tuesday. I told him that while I’d like to say “hell yes” I had to settle for “I’ll do my absolute best and hope so.”

On Tuesday I was between night shifts and very tired both in the brain and the body. It was a miracle I made it around that trail without stopping to walk. Friday I felt exactly the opposite. The sun was out and even giving off a little warmth. The sun always makes me happy. I had a case of stair legs from the day before but I still felt good, full of energy and excited for a run. James was coming straight from a hard stair session. In fact he got a new PR of 36 seconds to the top of the stairs beating his previous record by 4 seconds. Let me remind those of you who have never been there what these stairs look like.

stairs

Thirty-six effing seconds.

So with that considered and feeling good I thought I might have a chance to keep up. James put on his weight vest and fire gear and had to load up his jacket pockets with weights to reach that 100 pound mark. He wanted 100 because that was where I started and he wanted to know what it felt like to run with the challenges and discomfort I face, which is pretty damn cool.

We set out. He was breathing hard right away. This time though, instead of the satisfaction I felt last time from knowing James was human, I was a little worried… and I don’t generally worry. About anything. After 1km-ish I had 100% Medic brain. I couldn’t stop asking him if he was ok… I think I asked him about 10 times and that was half as many times as I wanted to ask. He assured me that he was in the zone and it was all a mental game. It seemed like a physical game to me. I didn’t know a person could breathe like that for so long and keep going. It made me think that as hard as feel like I push myself, a person can push harder; can push harder. I thought about how my legs were sore for a total of two seconds before my mind went back to him and getting him around the trail alive. I told him his legs were strong.

I didn’t think about myself again for the rest of the run. It must be how he feels when he runs with me or any of his other clients who’s fitness level is so far below his own. There’s a fine line between pushing someone farther than they think they can go but really can go, and pushing them too far. I realized I didn’t know how to walk that line for someone else. I had to trust him to know where his limit was, because I most certainly did not.

We ran for another two kilometers, I worried for another two kilometers. He was obviously hurting, and at about 3km he found his limit. We stopped, James breathed. We walked for a bit and he was still hurting. I asked him how much his air tank weighed. He said it was about 35 pounds. I told him to give it to me. After some protest I managed to get the tank from him on the condition that I had to run with it on. I put it on and it felt pretty heavy. But it still wasn’t even taking half the extra weight he was carrying. So I sucked it up and we started running which was hard, but I was doing it. We didn’t last long before James was done. We walked the rest of the way. I tried to take the weights out of his pockets but he wouldn’t let me. Eventually he told me to give him his tank back. I asked him if he was one thousand percent sure he was ok and really wanted it back and he said he was. I called him a liar, but I gave it back anyway. We made it back to the parking lot and once he got his gear off we sat in the sun for a few minutes reflecting.

James told me that this would make an interesting blog entry. I told him I didn’t think I’d write about it and that I thought he should instead. And he did. Obviously I ended up writing about it too, but I didn’t know what he was thinking and feeling and that is a vital party of this story.

So, here are some words from James.


Its somewhat ironic that the first blog entry I write is about personal defeat, rather than victory.

As a personal trainer who prides himself on never quitting, leading by example and working in areas that are otherwise uncomfortable to most people, it is difficult for me to start here. However, as a part of my journey to be better than I was yesterday while learning more about fitness leadership, I will agree with Kirstin that writing this narrative as my first blog entry is not just a good idea, it is necessary. And yes, it is uncomfortable.

I push hard. I am inspired to push hard because of various moments in my life, good and bad, that have shaped me. I haven’t always been like this, but I have always been fairly extreme. Most of the life changing lessons I have learned come from mistakes I’ve made working as a firefighter and a fire chief for various small departments. Like everyone else, these moments have made me the guy I am today, and I am thankful for all the lessons I’ve learned over the years and continue to learn today.

The other day I attempted to run a 4.2 km course with “My Princess”. I carried with me some extra weight in an attempt to replicate the challenge similar to what she must face, or anyone for that matter, attacking fitness for the first time against tremendous odds. The weight was not important. Nor was the distance really. The fact was, I was determined to push myself to a breaking point and keep going.

Beginning the run, I felt great, although a little tired from a workout I had just completed 30 minutes prior. I had done this same distance a week before with just slightly less weight and so I knew it the task was completable, with determination. But it certainly would be a test.

I told myself the usual motivating quotes to get through the workout… ” No one else can do this”; “This is what I do… no other hobbies; just run with a ton of shit on my back”; “there is no other place I would rather be right now!” For the most part, that worked.

I was beginning to break down fast. My spine felt like it was going to snap in half. The lead vest under the air pack was banging against my vertebrae and I could feel a bruise developing. Kirstin then asked if she could carry my gear. I knew she was in full Paramedic mode watching out for me, listening to me breath, as in between gulps of air I made various funny noises struggling under the weight. I told her, in the most steady voice I could muster, that was normal and that I had been here before. Which I had.

Then at about 3/5ths of the way through the course, I stopped. I just stopped.

I couldn’t believe it. I quit an exercise a year ago and it affected me for weeks! And I had just quit again! Its strange; when I quit a workout, I dwell on it.

Hunched over trying to straighten my spine, and again she asked if she could carry my pack – a Scott NXG-7 System with Carbon Fibre 4500psi bottle rated for 60 minutes; equivalent to about 35 lbs.

I was stunned for a second and agreed. I gave it to her, gladly.

After a minute or so of walking, weight vest and 4 sets of ankle weights still crushing my spine, I had a shameful thought. Here I am; the fire department fitness trainer, Special Operations, assigned to help people get fit, and I am the one being helped. I wanted to take the NXG Pack back immediately, Harden the Fuck up, and move out.

As time went on, I was mostly consumed by my selfish thoughts; feelings of disappointment and embarrassment. But at the same time, I was very proud of my Princess for taking the additional burden off my shoulders. The unexpected benefit of my failure while trying to feel what she and others must feel, and push though that discomfort, was that she was now the leader, protecting me. She was not concerned with her own pain, ability or inability and was solely focused on me. She had taken on the responsibility of carrying my gear; something I haven’t let anyone do since I was 17. She essentially was carrying me.

As we emerged from the forest trail, I demanded my pack back. I was too embarrassed to have her carry it where others could see. I’m ashamed at this request now as I reflect back on the moment. I should have allowed her to carry it the distance. Kirstin had earned the right to carry the weight the rest of the way; I had not.

She knew it was important to me and returned it for me to finish off the course, walking.

What did I learn from this experience? Quitting sucks – I knew that from last years failure. Most human beings have breaking points. But just because you quit the workout, doesn’t mean you give up. Perhaps giving up is even worse than quitting. Giving up to me means, you’ll never do it again. Yes, I quit the workout, but I won’t give up. I’ll go at it again when I’m ready. I also learned that it’s great to see people I help take the leadership role. That’s really awesome. Also, to accept help when offered and to have the humility to be thankful for it.

I’m not afraid of failure and I’m not afraid of finishing last; I am afraid of quitting. One of my heroes, Rich Froning once said “I Failed, is 10 times more of a man than someone who said, What If” . I believe that. I will attempt this run again soon. I may fail again. But at least I tried. And my partner, my Princess will be there to support me as I will continue to support her on this journey of ours! And together, we may fail and fall a few times, but ultimately, we will accomplish our goals together! I am proud she has chosen me to join her on this journey.

~J


When I read that I had already written my part of this blog except this one paragraph. It made me a bit sad that he was beating himself up so much, but very proud that he did something uncomfortable for him and wrote about it for me. Just last week we were talking about some run or another and he told me that I’d get used to being uncomfortable while I’m working with him and that it builds character. Obviously, he walks the walk.

James has been dragging me through runs for almost two months now. I make him talk to me when I’m tired, he is constantly encouraging me and making sure I’m ok. He carries my phone and my keys when I have no pockets and my gloves when my hands get too hot. Now I finally got to carry something for him, to encourage him, to make sure he was ok. It was awesome.

It made me want to push my limits and find out what they are. It made me want to go farther and faster and harder. It made to want to stop fucking around with my nutrition and get it right, and I’ve done it since that day.

I wouldn’t trade that run for a run that went well, or even one that was great. I wouldn’t trade it for a personal record pace that was a minute faster than my last time. It wouldn’t have learned so much from it, and I wouldn’t remember it like I will this one.

So here’s to James, my Jedi! When he is weak, he is still strong, and I feel so lucky to know him, and run with him, and learn from him.

~PP

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