Just Fucking Do It 

One year has gone by since I started this blog. That seems crazy. How can it have been that long?? I had a birthday last week and I’ve spent my thinking time since then evaluating where I’m at and where I’m going. I’m also celebrating a year of blogging with a fresh new look for Pudgy Princess!! I hope you like it! 

It was an amazing year for Cameron and me. I did so many things and learned a lot and got out and enjoyed life. Last year one of my vague goals was to start feeling like I was living instead of just existing. If that was the only criteria I judged this year on then I’d say it was a resounding success. But there’s more to it than that. I wanted to be so much further ahead of where I am right now and this week feelings of failure, (along with an – overly enthusiastic dancing – related minor back injury) have kept me in a tired rut of defeat. I’m trying to haul myself out of it now by laying out exactly where I wanted to be vs. where I am, and why that is.

I was running with James the other day for the first time in a while and he told me to look as this new year as a fresh start. I told him that I can not look at it as starting again. That’s so discouraging. I’ve started again so many times in my life. But this time I haven’t quit, so there’s no need to start again. There’s nothing wrong with starting over when that is what’s required… but that’s not where I’m at. I’ve decided to think of this month instead as a reset. Basically the device is still running but things are getting slow and crashing often and maybe just turning it off and turning it on again will fix it up. No need to chuck it and get a new one. An old fashioned reset should do the trick.

Yes… I basically just called myself a PC.

For the last month and a half I’ve been a little checked out and fitness has definitely come second, or third or fourth in my life. I’m putting it back on top starting now. My one year blogiversary. I used to think of it as my job and my number one priority, and it will now be put back in that place. It has to be that way for me. Jump in with both feet and give it everything I have.

I got 20% of the way to my goal last year. I want to lose 100 pounds, I lost 20. I put no timeline on that goal so that I wouldn’t feel awful if I didn’t meet it. It’s important to me to keep going no matter how long it takes. I still feel great about my loss and I’m so much more comfortable just doing normal life things being more strong and fit with those pounds gone, however at that rate it will take me five years to get to my goal. That’s too long. I’m not insisting on a deadline for myself to lose the 100, but I will not give up until it is done and I’d certainly rather it was faster than slower. So after this birthday/one year of blogging reset I’m going to stop hanging on to my old crappy attitude towards my nutrition and tackle that next. I know how to work hard, now I have to eat right.

With that in mind going forward, let’s take a look back.

I really have had one of the best years of my life. It started out with a visit from Princess America just over one year ago and her challenge to run. I took it and kicked off August of 2015 with walks around my neighborhood that evolved into running slowly for barely one minute at a time. There were many minutes of walking in between those painful run minutes and it was very hard but I kept at it. One month later Alison took me to the stairs for the first time. I met James there and then things really kicked up a notch. A friendship began that has taught me what hard work look likes like and how to do it. Although I don’t believe I’ll ever achieve his level of discipline and work ethic his example makes me want to be better, and I am better because I know him.

My most stalwart supporter is Alison without question. She regularly kicks my ass and endures my whinging to make me do things I don’t want to do. This year she has kept me going to the stairs, running, and even took up the challenge of teaching me to cross country ski. I suspect she may have kept teaching me after the first session mostly because of my sound effects (of terror) and apparently hilarious facial expressions, but that’s ok. We had a pretty good time and I’m looking forward to doing it again this year when the horror of winter descends upon us once again.

I recently hiked up hills with Jenna which one year ago would have been incomprehensible to me. That reminded me of how far I’ve come even if I was feeling discouraged about my progress. I hauled the hose around at the fire hall and climbed their tower countless times. I had an awesome trip to South Carolina where I got to hang out with the awesomest of friends and also managed to run almost every day.  I shot guns at the range and kickboxed with James wherever we had space and time to do it. My family came to celebrate Christmas in the Yukon and we rang in the New Year together. 

I ran in the sun and the rain and the snow. On warm days and frigid days. On roads and trails and around the animal preserve. I went to the Policeman’s Ball in Watson Lake with Cameron and danced the night away with Jon and Jenna. My friends and I carried sand up the stairs twice to celebrate the loss of each ten pounds.

This summer I learned to ride motorcycles which now, to me is freedom. Cameron taught me with the patience of a Saint. In fact in everything this year Cameron has been my number one fan and encourager. One month after getting my license we went on a bike trip from the Yukon to Vancouver Island and back again. We visited family and friends and I learned a lot about what I’m capable of, even when terrified a lot of the time. Halfway through we both got new bikes and had an amazing time riding them home. A few weeks later Lyndon Poskitt came to stay at our house for short a break during his round the world trip and my motorcycle hero became my friend. The three of us went on a glacier flight and did the black street stairs and rode bikes together. He worked really hard at his administrative and media stuff while he stayed with us and inspired me in another way, to work harder on my blog.

In the last week of reflection what I’ve realized most is that at the beginning my blog really fired me. Writing about my experiences running and otherwise was so motivational. I got lazy and I’m not only resetting my running and nutrition but my writing as well. I’m taking two blogging courses right now that will help me stay on top of my writing and explore new sources of inspiration and motivation to keep going…. I hope that this in turn will motivate my running. I’m beginning by setting more measurable, achievable goals in three categories. Running, nutrition and weight loss, and blogging. My project this week is to map out three goals in each area with measurable milestones and actual plans for achieving all of them (and also to put all my laundry away).

James asked me the other day what the biggest thing I’ve learned from him this year has been. I replied instantly “it doesn’t matter how you feel, just fucking do it.” James just does the things he sets out to do. The weather is insignificant, how much energy he has or does not have is insignificant, everything other than the work he has set out for himself is insignificant. Unless there is a legit injury or illness, feelings don’t matter. This I know in my head but lately I’ve been letting my lazy feelings rule the day. For August, it doesn’t matter how I feel, I’m just going to fucking do it. I commit to this now. Loud. August is reset month and I’m going to kill it. I have the Klondike Road Relay in September, my first actual race and I will be prepared for it. I will go into it knowing that I did everything possible to prepare for it in the few weeks I have remaining.

My counter for the Disney Princess half flipped over to 6 months yesterday. That gripped my heart with terror. “I can’t possibly be ready” I thought.

Bullshit.

I will be ready. It’s doesn’t matter how I feel each day. My motto for year two, in a small twist from Nike’s version is: just fucking do it.

The time is passing anyway, I plan to make the most of it.

Cheers to being a little better, everyday.

 ~PSquared

RUN WEEK!

It’s RUN WEEK!

I’ve had a great February so far and I’ve been far too busy to write about it! It’s been relatively warm in Whitehorse and I’ve taken advantage of it.

Last Sunday was the 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon. That means we’re officially down to one year before I wing my way to Florida for the 2017 run. Realizing this I started to panic a bit. Down to one year already?? I’ve made a ton of progress in the last six months but there’s a long way to go.

It was serendipitous that my days off this block fell Monday to Friday and thus James declared it to be RUN WEEK! We aimed for a goal of 25k for the week. This may not seem crazy to those of you that are seasoned runners, but to me it was daunting; much more than I’ve achieved in a week before.

I started out on Sunday morning after a long night shift. I headed to the Canada Games Centre when I was relieved at 0630 to put in a couple of early kilometers on the track. This turned out to be a terrible idea. I had just finished my first night shift and my routine is usually to get home and collapse into bed as soon as possible and sleep as long as possible in order to be a non zombie for my second night shift. This generally works pretty well for me. I can often get a workout in after a sleep but I’ve never tried one right after first night shift. I ran for 3.5 sluggish, sleepy kilometers and then decided I had to get the eff home. When I got home I discovered to my dismay that I was now totally awake. My attempts to sleep were fruitless and I got up and had some breakfast and a hot tub and didn’t feel sleepy until the afternoon. I had a short nap and woke up feeling like total crap for second night shift. It’s safe to say I will never do this again. After second night shift when I have to stay up the next day for some reason or other it would be a great way to start the day… Lesson learned. In any case, I was already 3.5k towards my 25k goal and that gave me a little comfort on my second long night shift.

The next day I was a smart princess and slept immediately after my shift for about 5 hours. I woke up and got ready for a 10k run with James. My first 10k outdoors. I’d run the distance on the track before but the lack of gps tracking meant that we couldn’t be sure of the distance and it turns out based on how long it took us that I did not, in fact, make a full 10k that day. We left James’ truck at the finish line and took my car up Hot Springs road and parked at the springs planning to run the whole road. It was bare pavement! After running only on snow outdoors for months I was really really excited to run on pavement. It was slow and it was hard at times but I felt really great which surprised me after my night shift – early run – miscalculation. I struggled less than I often struggle on 5k runs even though we were going at about same pace. I still run pretty slow but damn it I ran that whole 10k. Here’s the data. As you can see it was gradually downhill almost the entire time and it still took me almost an hour and a half, but that’s ok. I did it! Just look at that calorie burn! This run took me to 13.5k for the week and it was only Monday.

10k garmin

After my previous run of 10ish-k I attempted to run the next day with disappointing results. I couldn’t even run 2k before I was exhausted and sore and grumpy. I beat myself up pretty hard for that one and it took me a week at least to get my spirits back up. With that in my memory I was nervous about my run the next day. We were heading out for 5k on the Millennium Trail. I kind of expected to fail which is a crap attitude and not one I usually indulge in. It was a sunny day though and the sun always makes me happy. I could even feel it’s warmth. A few weeks ago when I was discouraged about something or other my friend and stalwart supporter Chris told me that soon I would be out in the sun and be able to feel it’s heat for the first time and that would perk me up. I was thinking about that conversation and how right he was when we headed out. It turned out to be a great run and I finished it no problem. I was really encouraged by that result and ready to push for more on RUN WEEK! It was only Tuesday and I was already 18.5k towards our goal of 25.

Wednesday we hit the track at the Games Centre once again for some recovery on the springy surface and it was a less than great run for me. My shin splints made themselves known in force for the first time this week and I limped painfully and whinefully through not quite 3k before I was done. We spent another half hour fighting and I managed to bust open a few knuckles and jam my wrist with my right hook. My wrist was so painful that James asked if I thought I broke it. I definitely did not but I replied that it would be really cool to be able to punch hard enough to break a wrist. James agreed that would be cool and that since we’d still be able to run he’d be ok with it, haha! Here’s a couple photos of the track we run on at the Games Centre. We’re very lucky to have a spot like this in Whitehorse when the weather is frigid.

Panorama of the Track


The View From the Track


Today with another 5k run on the Millenium Trail we hit our goal! I made it to 25.76k at the end of our run. It was a hard one in the middle. My leg was sore but much better than yesterday thanks to being KT taped to the nines and a pre run ibuprofen. Smack in the middle as we crossed the bridge I was struggling pretty hard. My legs felt heavy and my breathing was ragged. It was snowing and generally gross out and I really wanted to give the fuck up. But I pushed on thanks to some distraction talk and my resolve to run every one of the 25k I wanted without walking. Less than a kilometer later I felt great, I got my rhythm back and we chatted about how you can feel so awful and then so great in the course of one 5 kilometer run. The range of thoughts and feelings you can experience in that distance are amazing. James said for the first while your body is often trying to get you to stop torturing it by telling you that you can’t breathe, and then that your leg hurts, and then something else hurts, and then you have to pee, and then another part hurts. But finally it realizes that you’re gonna keep running no matter what your body says so finally it says “fuck it, I guess we’re doing this” and lets you do your thing.

So now having already reached my goal for the week I get to do some fun shit tomorrow! I’m going to the firehall for some stairs (did you ever think I’d call stairs fun?!? I didn’t), a fight and some firefighter stuff which is always fun times. Then I’m going to stay and help out with the Combat Team workout… on the condition that I can whistle at boys. 😉

Last week Cameron and I made good on my resolve to go snowboarding and went to Mt. Sima for an afternoon of riding. It was a beautiful day and I got a nice picture from the top. I also convinced him to go for a walk with me at the Wildlife Preserve and last Saturday we had a cold but sunny walk there which was great. I’ve continued my cross country skiing adventures with Alison and I’m getting a little better as evidenced (according to Alison) by my ability to look where I’m going instead of at the tips of my skis and also less sticking out of my butt while trying to balance. Apparently I still put my arms out like wings when I’m going downhill. I also yell pizza! (Ya know, the shape you make with your skis to slow down) and let out the occasional downhill shriek. It’s super fun.


I’m not satisfied with 25k. I still have a day left after super fun happy times tomorrow to push it further. The dilemma is that I’m working days on Saturday. So James and I are heading out at stupid o’clock, aka 0500 for another 5k to make it 30 for the week. That gives me enough time to rock the run, get to work, have a shower and still relieve night shift a little early after which I will immediately lay on my work couch in exhaustion after a run week well done. Best. Job. Ever. Work couch? I mean, come on! I love it. We just moved into a new station with a new, huge communications centre which is amazing. My crew joined me for a pizza/movie night last block and I took this picture for the memories and also to give James a small heart attack. He hasn’t seen it yet so you can enjoy it with him. I have such a great crew and we had a great shift… after which I had crap run morning but nevertheless… good times.


Finally I’ll leave you with this little gem.

Fixed!

~P²

The Princess at the Ball

Last weekend Cameron and I went to the Policeman’s Ball in Watson Lake. Our friends and Princess teammates Jon and Jenna invited us to come party and it was fun and really fun! We drove down there on a sunny Saturday and it was a beautiful trip.

I wore a dress! I realize that wearing a dress is a basic princess skill, however this princess doesn’t normally do dresses. I found a great one that was pretty and twirly and fit right so I princessed it up for the night. I saw old friends and met new ones including Miss Town of Faro Karina Watson who is hilarious and fun and awesome and hopefully will join the princess team!

misstownoffaro
Miss Town of Faro

I danced the night away and realized that walking in heels for more than an hour is a life skill that I have lost in the last couple years. I’ll have to work on that one, lol. Here are some photos from the ball.

Processed with MOLDIV
Watson Lake RCMP Members; Me and Cameron; Me and Jenna
Processed with MOLDIV
Dress Twirlin with Jon

 

After a late night, a sleep in and noon time breakfast with friends we headed back up the Alaska Highway towards home. The sky was beautiful and we had another good drive followed by collapsing into bed to recover.

alaksahwy
The Alaska Highway

This weekend we went out for dinner with friends and I got to wear the other dress that I may or may not have also bought for the ball before finding orange twirly awesomeness. I took this – right light, right angle, good filter, actually wearing makeup – shot. 😉

kirsti1

We had a great time with Peter and Steph and marveled at the fact that we went out two weekends in a row. We’re total homebodies so this was a pretty epic two weekends for us. We’re exhausted!


 

So, back to fitness.

January has been a bust for me results wise. It’s been a disappointing month of my own making. No I haven’t quit and I’m still working out but once again nutrition has been my downfall. So instead of dwelling on it I’m trying to chuck it away and move forward into February. I need a new plan and James and I are working on some solutions to my nutrition woes so I can get it right this month. I’ll let you know when we find one. The solution is probably something like – HEY PRINCESS! You’re pretty smart, just eat fewer calories and you’ll start losing some serious weight – well, easier said than done for me. Maybe I just don’t want it bad enough, I don’t know. I want it pretty bad though and I’m super motivated on the fitness side, I just need to get the nutrition to click.

I was back at the stairs this week and I haven’t been there in almost a  month, which was a huge mistake. The weather was cold for a bit and then I got a cold and it just never happened. Two days ago I got back there with James and those damn stairs let me know I’d been away for a while by fusing my calves into rocks. Remember the Zombie walk? Well it has returned at about 75% power. I shuffled across the living room this morning which caused Cameron to cover his head and yell “don’t eat my brains!!!”. At least I am able to step out of the bathroom in under five minutes this time, gotta look on the bright side. I won’t be making that mistake again. Stairs every week or zombie? Believe it or not I’ll take stairs.

This is a short update but really I don’t have much to say about January, I want to forget it and make February my power month. I’m focusing everything I’ve got on getting some big results. I’ve said before that writing this blog is scary because I can’t fail quietly anymore. I’ve already made some commitments and statements here that I’ve failed pretty loud on and that has made me want to stop writing and just disappear. But I won’t do it. I’m going to write more in February, get my nutrition on track, step up my workouts even more and follow through. I’m possibly setting myself up for a hard fall here, but hey… what if I do it? How sweet will that be? I’ve been beating myself up for January and been a little down, but I feel good and optimistic today and ready to say FUCK January… lets move forward on these zombie legs.

I’ll leave you with my favourite photo from the Ball. When I said I wanted a cheek kiss – foot pop photo I did not know that Jon was going to pop a foot as well. Well played Constable, well played.

footpop

~P²

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

IMG_0139

Back in the Game

After a crap week last week I am back in the game.

I kicked off this week at the Canada Games Centre with Jenna. We headed there after work and started out at the gym. I ran for 10 minutes on the treadmill just to see how my leg felt and it was fine after 6 days of rest. I did get on my bike a couple of times during the week but I didn’t run. After a quick run I got on the rowing machine for about 15 minutes and it was pretty fun. My back and arms got sore pretty quick… I think I’ve been neglecting my upper body lately in my pursuit of running glory.

We headed to the pool and it was pleasantly deserted, which is the perfect way for a pool to be when a Princess appears in a proper bathing suit for the first time in about 15 years. In fact it was the first time I’d done many things in ten or fifteen years, and I kept Jenna well informed. Here is a list of things I told her I hadn’t done in x number of years:

  • Gone to the gym
  • Used a rowing machine
  • Gone to the pool
  • Worn a real bathing suit
  • Swam a length
  • Worn goggles
  • Changed in a pool changing room (gross)
  • Done a somersault in the water (I did a few while we were swimming)

I may have exasperated her with my reminiscing.

We swam easy for about 45 minutes and chatted while we swam along and it was wonderful. Here’s a fun fact. When you are doing the breast stroke, and your butt floats and your boobs float you better have a flexible spine because you fold in half backwards. It was awkward and hilarious. We got a good laugh out of it and I evened it out with a few lengths of backstroke just to keep my back happy.

After swimming I was reminded that you should bring baggy sweat pants to put on after. Getting yourself back into slightly sweaty tights while trying to hold your towel in front of you because you’re not eleventy years old and you know it’s not cool to parade around naked in the change room is a task of epic proportions. It’s like trying to get your sleeping bag back in the case after the first time you take it out, only with more hopping around, slipping and swearing.

The next day was a run day. Andy taped up my leg with KT tape like a boss and I hit the Millennium Trail for 5k with James. My leg did pretty good and only starting twinging with about 1.5k left but it never really got too bad. I refused to look at my watch or let James tell me how fast we were going and ended up with a new personal best!

I felt awesome after that run. I was actually pretty nervous starting out because I thought I’d have gone backwards after a week off. The first time I ran with James I could only run 9 minutes before I needed a walk break. That was on September 16th. Now, about six weeks later I can run the whole thing and I’m getting a little faster!

Then and now. Same amount of time for the run but yesterday was a half km farther and almost a minute faster average pace.

thenandnow

I worked night shift last night and today after a few hours of sleep I met James again for another Millennium Trail loop. This time James was wearing his full fire gear and a weighted vest for a total of about 92 extra pounds. That’s almost as many extra pounds as I have (5 down, 95 still to go). I was super tired and it was windy and cold when we set out. I told James I didn’t think I was going to make it today without walking. He said I would, and I dragged myself around that trail and somehow made it happen. It felt like my legs were barely moving sometimes.

Halfway through I told him that running today after night shift was a bad idea. He assured me that it was, in fact, a great idea. I was not convinced. I think I was fueled solely by anger that James had an extra 92lbs on and he was still outrunning me. Not anger at him though, just at me… And not bad anger I don’t think. It made me keep going this time rather than getting me down. I will outrun him one day when he has that gear on. I will. His uppance will come.

My one comfort was that I actually heard him breathing hard for the first time today. That was pretty satisfying.

Here we are after the run. Yes my hair is crazy. It was super windy, I swear! But even with crazy hair it’s a great picture.

kirstandjames

I am so happy I went and was wrong about it being a bad idea. I’m working nights again now and I feel a lot better than I usually do on my second night.

This week I have another swim planned tomorrow, stairs on Thursday, and at least two more runs. It’s awesome to be right back in the game after a slump.

As Journey says, don’t stop believin’!

~PP

Oh, the Places We’ll Go!

Vacation is on the horizon and I am so excited!

beach

The internet tells me this photo is of Myrtle Beach… I hope it’s not lying.

Later this week we are headed to sunny South Carolina to see our friends Prince BumKnee and Princess KarateNinja (better known as Andy and Heather). We will spend some time at their place and then on to Myrtle Beach! I’ve searched the archives and even though they are our BFFs we have no photos of the four of us together. None. That is mind bottling. So no photo of us all today, but that will change next week!

  • (mind bottling definition – when something is so mind boggling that you need an even more ridiculous term to describe it)

I am so looking forward to seeing our friends. They got out of the frozen hinterland of the Yukon a couple of years ago and moved somewhere that sensible people live. I haven’t been outside since we went to Disney almost exactly one year ago.

  • (outside definition – to Yukoners – anywhere that isn’t the Yukon)

My to do list includes:

  • Celebrate with the best of friends
  • Sit in the sun (oh, how I miss you already)
  • Shop for running clothes… lots of running clothes
  • Run! – Every damn day

James made me a vacation running plan and I’m going to do it all or die trying. Well, maybe that’s a little dramatic. But I want to eat food I love and drink booze (both in moderation of course 🙂 and have a real vacation, so I will run. Because now a real vacation includes running, for the rest of forever.

Last month this was the cover of Women’s Running.

womens running cover

When I saw it in the bookstore you could have knocked me over with a feather. Amazing! What a beautiful girl. Her name is Erica Schenk and she is a model and a runner. The story was about her and about finding athletic clothes that fit properly when you’re a pudgy princess. You can read it here. Yay Women’s Running!

So I did a little research and you can find a lot of it right near where I will be on vacation! My visa’s gonna get a little American workout along with my legs on this trip. Deep breaths Cameron…. everything is going to be alright.

Andy is going to take me to some running spots. I have specified that they must be snake free though. I want to see zero snakes while I am running. Or any other time. I have zero tolerance policy regarding snakes.


I found a muscle!

I was shaving my legs in the shower after the wood pile shenanigans and in the usual way of leg shaving I had one of them up on tippie toe (girls, I know you know what I mean). When I looked at it I actually thought “what the fuck is that dent in my calf?!?”

I looked closer.

I poked at it.

I looked even closer.

Oh. My. God.

“I HAVE A MUSCLE!!!!!”

I let out a little yip and did an excited leap. Then I landed in the soap and skated around for a few seconds narrowly avoiding shower disaster.

I told Cameron when he got home and he was super stoked for me. I made him look at it from about six different angles even though he confirmed he could see it too from angle one.

I told James the next day. It was the day after the wood pile incident and we were running at the wildlife preserve (the wood pile got me out of absolutely nothing. Also, there was no stopping to “look for moose”). I said “I found a muscle” and he said “yeah you did!!” All excited like.

No, I am not putting up a photo of my one muscle. When I have two perhaps I’ll reconsider.

I’ll post a couple blogs from South Carolina with some pictures of our trip and my runs. I’ll also be putting some photos up on Instagram. You can follow me or just check them out on the side over there. —>

I’m so excited for vacation but nervous about keeping up my very new good (goodish?) habits and not descending into full debauchery which is usual vacation mode.

How will it turn out? Will our pudgy princess stick to the plan and run her arse off whilst on vacation? Stay tuned to find out.

Spoiler alert.

I’m sticking to the plan.

~PP