The Motorcycle Diaries – Part Three

Part Three of The Motorcycle Diaries will take us from Jasper to Kamloops and then on to the lower mainland. If you’re just joining me you can find Part One here and Part Two here.

Jasper was beautiful! If you ever get a chance to drive (or even better, ride) through the Alberta National Parks – do it! We had taken a short walk around Jasper the night before but everything was already closed when we got there. We had a nice dinner at the fancy hotel restaurant but made a critical error in ordering an appetizer that was large and delicious and we ate all of it. I think both of us ate about half of our entrees due to the appetizer debacle. After a good sleep we set out for Kamloops in the morning. We stopped at the only souvenir store open in the morning for some Jasper stickers and fuelled up where we met a lady riding a Harley who was super hardcore. Long gray hair under a bandana and a leather wrap around her braid. She was obviously a very confident and competent rider because she passed several cars behind us before finally passing us and riding off alone into the beautiful day. I can only hope to be that cool when I grow up. We also saw a couple riding two up on a KLR650 with a significant amount of luggage and thanked the motorcycle gods that neither of us is interested in ever taking a trip together on one bike. The lady on the back waved at me wistfully and I could hear her thinking “oh gawd I wish I was riding my own bike on this trip.”


We stopped at Mt. Robson for some photos at the spectacular viewpoint. The weather was beautiful, there was no wind and I was listening to music and feeling really really good for the first time on the trip. We pulled in and I put my kickstand down to get off the bike. I wasn’t quite sure that it was down correctly so I looked down and made double sure it was secure. I stepped on my left peg to lift my right leg over my luggage and off the bike when I realized I was wrong and very wrong.  My kickstand folded and my bike started falling to the left. I hop-hopped off while I let out a little squeal and the bike dropped on its side. I wasn’t injured and Cameron and I picked up the bike without a problem but discovered the lock had broken on my pelican luggage case on the left side. The case itself was fine (thanks to Pelican’s amazing ruggedness) , and the bike was fine (CRASH BARS!!!!) but the lock was done. Cameron spent some time in this beautiful place zap strapping my case onto the rack and it was more secure when he was done than it is with the lock on it.


We read so many tips on things to bring on a long motorcycle trip before we left and almost every one of them said to bring extra zap straps because you never know when you might need them. Thankfully we took that advice and he had zap straps in his tool bag. We would have been royally screwed without them. If you go on a bike trip, BRING ZAP STRAPS. Or alternatively, don’t drop your bike. But seriously, bring zap straps.

It was hot enough at Mt. Robson that I decided it was time to ditch my jacket and ride in my jersey and armour for the first time on the trip. I have some amazing Icon ladies armour that I wear under my jacket. There are approximately one hundred options for mens armour and three for ladies armour. I ordered the Icon ladies armour earlier this year and I really love it. It’s only chest and back armour but it fits great and is really comfortable. Also, like the rest of my gear, it’s black and pink. I wore it over my black and pink Fox jersey with my black and pink Fox gloves and my black pink and white Fly Racing pants and felt pretty badass. My bike is black also so I make quite the black and pink spectacle flying down the road.

The ride was getting really hot and occasionally we’d come down into a valley and the road would wind beside the North Thompson River and the cool air would waft over us for a while. It would feel great for a few minutes before the road would climb back into a mountain pass that heated up. For the first time on the trip we started to encounter multi-lane roads and traffic. As we came down into Kamloops the temperature climbed until it was almost unbearable. We keep going until we ended up outside Hotel 540 in downtown Kamloops. By this time both of us were very overheated as were our bikes. I’ve been having trouble with my kickstand during this trip. If the ground where I stop is perfectly flat or sloped to the left I can get my kickstand down and step on my left peg to get off and it’s all good. If the ground is even slightly sloped to the right however I cannot get off the bike without Cameron’s help. The kickstand is about an inch too long. The bike doesn’t lean over enough and is in constant danger of falling over to the right. It has a centre stand which is very stable on any type of ground but I cannot get off the bike with the kickstand up. I’m too short to do it without dropping it. I’ve been feeling very dependant on Cameron to help me on and off about 75% of the time because of this. We’ve looked up the problem and apparently it’s a very common problem on my bike that is constantly complained about. Many people have their kickstand shortened about an inch to fix the problem but we haven’t been able to get that done for me yet. This is relevant as we pulled into Kamloops because as we parked on the street in the sun outside the hotel Cameron hopped off his bike and literally dove for the shade against the building to get out of the baking hell sun. It was 36 degrees Celsius there. We had parked on the side of the road so it was sloping to the right and I was stuck on my bike. I couldn’t get off without dropping it and Cameron was standing in the shade against the building while I sat on my bike sweating my face off. I turned my bike off, lifted my shield, looked and him and muttered “help, help” in a pathetic pleading voice. He said “you’re on your own” and left me there to bake. Douche

I must have given him an especially good – angry wife – look because moments later he came back into the vampire slaying sun to help me off and put my bike on it’s centre stand. We recovered in the shade for a few minutes before making our way into the hotel. Turned out they had a shady undercover breezeway right in front of the doors that we could have turned into but missed in our hot-panic. We stumbled into the lobby sweaty, dirty and shabby looking and checked in. We’d reserved a king club suite the day before with our BCAA discount. We’ve been getting pretty good deals as we’re right in the shoulder season before the kids get out of school. We didn’t plan it that way but it has worked out very well timing wise. This hotel was quite fancy on the inside and we felt very out of place in our dirtiness. We got up to our room after parking our bikes in the –slightly less sweltering than outside – underground parking lot. Immediately after unloading our things we headed for the rooftop pool. It so happened that there was a wedding reception taking place in the conference room adjacent to the pool. The room was open to the pool deck and roped off with a thick fancy velvet rope. We gave zero shits and plunged our hot selves into the pool. Every table around the pool was occupied and the wedding reception was full of fancily dressed people waiting for the couple to arrive. The pool was empty and we jumped right in to cool off. We spend about 10 minutes in there feeling like heaven and then another 5 minutes feeling awkward with all the fancy people around us until we got out to go back to our room. We gave ourselves a token dry with the pool towels and walked towards the elevator back to our room. When we passed the entrance to the conference room the bridal couple was waiting to enter their reception behind the closed doors and we passed within a foot of the bride dripping our pool water and road dirt just behind the train of her beautiful dress. Cameron muttered “don’t do it!” And I replied “it’s too late!” and we laughed all the way back to our room. We may have had some heat stroke… There’s no way to know. Don’t worry, we didn’t really say that.

For two days I had been feeling like I brought too many clothes and wanted to mail some things home to myself when we got the opportunity. After we dried off from our pool shenanigans I looked up post offices in Kamloops. There was no way I was getting back on my bike in the desert of misery so I was hoping there was one within walking distance. It was Saturday evening so I wasn’t very hopeful but the internet told me there was one post office still open in Kamloops and it happened to be in the London Drugs not 200 meters from our hotel. We had 40 minutes until it closed so I packed up everything I didn’t need and we walked over to mail it all home which made me feel much better about my luggage space. This is also where I picked up my awesome tiny keyboard that I’m typing this on now. I’m glad I brought everything I did on my first motorbike trip because I really wasn’t sure what I’d need, but I’m also glad I was able to unload some excess clothing back home when I did. We sent one package home that was probably close to five pounds in weight and included a lot of my extra clothes and all of Cameron’s extras which amounted to one thermal shirt. Cameron looked out the window and saw a Senor Froggys restaurant which we had never heard of but is apparently a Mexican fast food chain restaurant. We didn’t want to go to a chain restaurant. I read on one adventure biker’s tip article that “if you go on a motorcycle tour and eat at a chain restaurant, you’ve failed.” Well we’ve failed with some iced capps at Timmies and some DQ ice cream but I was determined not to fail so spectacularly as to have Mexican fast food for the main meal of the day. We searched out the best Mexican restaurant in Kamloops (thank you Internet) and it was 350 meters from our hotel. We ate there and I had the best quesadilla of my life.

The next morning we set out for fuel and then the Coquihalla Highway. Kamloops is very hilly and there aren’t really any traffic lights on hills in Whitehorse so neither of us have much experience starting our bikes on hills. We stopped at a steep light and I was nervous to get my bike started on it. Luckily we’d gotten out early as we wanted to make it to the lower mainland as early as possible to beat the heat that day so there was no traffic behind us. I kept my back brake on with my right foot while I let the clutch out and got my bike started. I stalled once but got it started up right away and took off. Cameron was ok also on this light. The next light however was even steeper. Cameron was on my right in the lane and I was slightly behind him. He stalled and I was able to start this time. I told him on the Sena that I was going to pass him on the left and he told me “FUCK!!!!” My bike can be started any time as long as the clutch is pulled in (which is normal). Cameron’s bike can only be started when it is in neutral. The previous owner had disabled something so that it can’t be started unless it’s in neutral which is very annoying and a little dangerous as well. My bike also turns off automatically if you put it in gear with the kickstand down. His doesn’t, so when he stalled he couldn’t just pull the clutch in and get it started again. He had to put the brake on to keep it from rolling backwards and then get in neutral (which is finicky on his bike) and then start it and try again. He said he felt like that was pretty unsafe and it was lucky he wasn’t in traffic. I agreed and said it was a pretty good reason to get a new bike. He actually agreed with me…. The – will he get a new bike? Won’t he get a new bike – saga continues…


We had a beautiful – warm but not too hot – drive on the Coquihalla. There were three lanes and the speed limit was 120kph the entire way. I didn’t remember the speed limit being so high but it was great. There was no wind and occasionally when we passed a little valley I could feel a blast of cold air coming off the mountain or the smell of the forest and I listened to some rock music, sang my face off and loved it. This was my best day so far. I was getting more comfortable and the weather was great and I was going to see my mommy and daddy that day which can do a lot for a girl ;). I told Cameron that there was a 40% chance I would collapse in my mother’s arms in tears when we got there relieved to have made it so far with only minor incidents. We only made two stops during the 340km ride. Once at a rest stop and once in Chilliwack. We exited the highway for fuel and stopped at a red light in the left turn lane. It was about 30 degrees and we were baking. It was a big intersection in which each direction of traffic goes one at a time including the left turn lane. We just missed the light and we were first in line. The three other directions of traffic went and we sat there in full sun, sweating. When it was our turn the left turn light didn’t go. We weren’t heavy enough to trigger the sensor. We swore and sweated and I creeped up as close as I could get to Cameron and the semi truck behind me creeped up until he was almost kissing my back tire so the light would turn green on the next rotation. After what felt like an hour in the sun the light changed and we got a green. We fuelled up and had the aforementioned iced capps in the air conditioned restaurant before leaving for Port Moody.

This was the first time we encountered real traffic on the whole journey. I wasn’t scared of the traffic at all. I thought that was kind of ironic considering all my fears up to that point because traffic is really the most dangerous thing to a motorcyclist. I figured that I wasn’t scared because I can usually predict what stupid shit those derps will do. I’ve been driving in lower mainland traffic since I learned how to drive and spent ten years doing it until I moved to the Yukon where the drivers are far worse but definitely fewer and slower. While I have lots of experience in traffic, I have had very little or no experience riding on wet roads, in gravel, or downhill on a wet road in gravel and wind (my own personal hell). Traffic didn’t bother me at all.

We pulled into my parents house and I did not collapse in tears because I was too fucking hot to do so. While it wasn’t as hot as Kamloops I was still in a hot panic by the time Cameron helped me (yes I was stuck on a slope again) get off my bike. I ripped off all my layers of armour and clothes and crazy hot dirt boots and just stood in the shade in my shorts and tank top happy to be home.

I wrote most of this blog about four days ago and have been so busy that I haven’t gotten around to editing and photoing and posting it. I’m getting pretty far behind now but I’m not too worried about it. I’m determined to get all of this trip blogged because it has been so amazing, and terrifying, and beautiful, and I guess… character building? I want to remember it all and even if only ten people ever read this I want to write it for Cameron and I to look back and remember how awesome it was, but at the same time I hope you also enjoy our stories of wonder and woe. So thank you for reading and see you soon!

~PP

Coming soon – Ferry shenanigans, Vancouver Island and Butchart Gardens, Saltspring Island, and more Ferry shenanigans.

The Motorcycle Diaries – Part Two

If you’re joining me for the first time let me bring you up to date. My blog is normally about my journey (or more accurately struggle) towards fitness and weight loss. For the next three weeks I’m taking a break from that to write about the 6000 km motorcycle trip my husband Cameron and I have taken from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory to Vancouver Island and back again. As I write this I am sitting on a sun deck on the Island with an epic view of the Pacific Ocean and Gulf Islands. It’s a beautiful warm day eight of our trip and I can’t believe we’ve finally made it here. It’s been such an interesting trip that I wanted to write about it but I didn’t bring my keyboard with me…. However since there are such things as stores in the south lands I went out and bought myself a fancy schmancy keyboard that folds up small enough to fit in my motorcycle bags so that I could bring my adventures to you! Even though we’re on day seven I have only managed to blog days one and two so far which you can find here. I will catch up eventually but for now, without further ado, let me bring you days three and four.

Day Three

The morning of day three we woke up in Fort Nelson planning on driving 453 kilometers to Dawson Creek. When we left our bikes the night before Cameron had locked the wheel on his bike. As he did that he told me that he thought locking the wheel once before may have drained the battery but “if I’m going to have a dead battery somewhere it might as well be when we’re in a town and no the middle of nowhere.” I had to agree.

When we got out to the bikes the next morning… possibly not early… surprise, surprise his battery was dead. Cameron was fairly angry about this. I was confused when he was angry because it seemed like he expected it the night before. Once I reminded him that this kind of thing was all part of the trip and also that he expected it to happen he realized that there was no point in being angry and it was all part of trip and he cheered up. We purchased a BCAA membership before the trip just in case we got a flat tire or ran out of fuel in the middle of nowhere and we thought about calling, but then I realized that we should just ask the hotel if they could give him a jump (derp!). A young fellow helped us out and grabbed the hotel shuttle which he used to jump start Cameron’s bike. He saw our plates and told us all about how he had relatives in Whitehorse and had visited there and thought it was very pretty but it was “way too far from Vancouver” to live.


Another surprise we had that morning was a note from Peter along with a couple of empty bottles to help us out.


We thought that was pretty funny. After getting Cam’s bike started we headed out towards Dawson Creek. The riding this day was uneventful. I had been leading for the first two days with Cameron behind me so that he could watch me and give me riding tips on the Sena (our Bluetooth communication contraption). On day three however Cameron rode in front of me for the first time and it made a huge difference to me to have him in front. He could warn me of any big potholes or gravel or crazy road conditions and it made me feel much more comfortable than I expected it would. I was finally able to relax slightly and listen to some music and enjoy the riding. The road was good and the weather was decent and I didn’t have ten pounds of sticky rain gear on. I put on my Spotify “Air Punch” playlist and was boppin to the music while I rode.

We stopped for lunch at the Buckinghorse River Café which was tiny but had good food and when we left there was a Cloud Of Doom on the horizon. It wasn’t exactly clear if the road was heading towards the doom cloud or just around it. We chanced it and stayed rain gear free and thus able to do up my own boots for a while. We decided that if it started raining on us in earnest we’d stop to get me into my Michelin Man rain suit. The whole day we skirted just around the edge of the Cloud Of Doom and although we occasionally encountered wet roads we were lucky enough to only get slightly drizzled on for a moment or two before we were back to the dry. I hadn’t much experience on wet roads though so I was very nervous on them. Every time we got to a wet section my brain said “YOU ARE RIDING ON ICE KIRSTIN, SLOW DOWN!” My brain was wrong however (for the second time ever) it was not slippery at all. Cameron put great tires on my bike and it was totally fine… I just had to get over my ridiculousness. I’m still a little nervous on the wet but nothing like that first day.

All in all day three was decent. I was still struggling quite a bit with fear but I was able to get some music on and sing in my helmet and say to myself one hundred times “you’re ok Kirsti, you’re ok” and I was ok. When we got into Dawson Creek we went to a car wash and Cameron washed off our dirty hobo bikes before heading to the hotel.



The hotel is where I met Jean, my motorcycle riding – pep talking – angel. I went outside to grab something from the top case of my bike and he was out there unpacking his Triumph. He’d just gotten in and was wearing an amazing leather vest with “Veteran” on the back and many beautiful patches on the front. Jean is a Canadian Veteran who was with NATO during his military career. He left his home in Montreal in November of last year and has been touring North America since then. He was in the last three weeks of his trip when we met him. His goal was to get a photo at the Alaska Highway sign in Dawson Creek and he was about to head home. We got to talking (as you do to other bikers when you’re on your bike) and I told him we had also taken a photo at the sign which we had passed many times in cars but never stopped at.


I told him about my fears and how much I had been struggling on the first few days of our trip. He told me that I didn’t need to be scared all the time and that many people, in fact most people would never do anything like this in their life. Maybe I’ll crash, maybe I won’t… But if I spend the whole trip worrying that something crappy will happen I won’t enjoy the good times we will have. In general in life I’m not a worrier so I don’t know why I couldn’t let it go and relax with this trip. Jean really helped me put it in perspective and realize that this may be a once in a lifetime experience for me. I’m hoping that I’ll get to do it again when I have more experience, but I may not. I didn’t want to ruin it by being scared all the time. So I cut that shit out. Do I still have moments of fear? Yep, sure do. But I stopped being scared 90% of the time as I was before. There’s no point. That’s not fun. After I met Jean things changed for me, and after he met us he decided he couldn’t finish his trip without hitting the Yukon and Alaska. So he went up to Watson Lake and got photos at the signpost forest and then rode down the Cassiar and went to Hyder, Alaska before heading back east. So to Jean, if you read this, please know that you changed my trip for the better and meeting you made me less scared all the time… I’m so glad you kept going north because you met us and I hope we were able to change your trip for the better as well. I will never ever forget meeting you and what a difference you made for me. Thank you!


Day Four

Cameron had been having trouble with his turn signals on his bike. The left signal had stopped working. When he tried to fix the left signal the right signal stopped working. Cam has been wanting a new bike for a while. He put a lot of work into his old KLR repainting it and fixing it up and it looks great, but riding is what he loves to do and he rides every day possible at home so I keep telling him that if he wants a new bike he should get it. Cameron, however, needs a reason to buy something new. I told him broken turn signals seemed like a pretty good reason… Then he fixed them. When we filled up with fuel that day he thought my newer bike probably had better fuel economy than his old one so we compared when we filled up. 10.3 litres for him… 10.3 litres for me. Yet another excuse gone. Oh well, maybe I can push it over some time and break something that will convince him to buy a new bike, we’ll have to wait and see.

After another chat with Jean at our hotel’s continental breakfast he rode off into the morning. Five minutes later as we were packing our bikes he rode back into the parking lot and added us to Facebook! I’m so glad he came back and did that. Soon after we left for Jasper.


The ride through Grande Prairie and towards Grande Cache can be summed up with one word. Wind. The first time I rode this bike it had been windy in Whitehorse and that was a little scary, but the wind on day four made that wind seem as powerful as a 90 year old blowing out birthday candles. This was bold, italic and underlined wind! I fought with fear for a while and was pretty tense. Eventually I was able to remind myself of what Jean said and relaxed quite a bit. Unsurprisingly it was much better when I relaxed and learned to lean into it. The wind generally came from the right side and was able to blow Cameron and I two feet across the road on occasion. If we stayed in the right hand lane position this was ok and I didn’t get blown into the oncoming lane or feel like I was going to fall over anymore after relaxing. Of course riding to the right was a problem when I suddenly got a gust from the left and it blew me onto the shoulder of the road. The shoulder was nice and wide and there were no semi trucks coming at me from there so that was alright. The first time I got a little jolt of adrenaline as I was blown towards the rumble strip. My brain told me that if I hit the rumble strip it would be pretty much ice and my bike would just shoot out from under me. As usual when I thought the road was ice, I was wrong. The rumble strip is just rumbly, like it’s supposed to be. It says “hey idiot! Wake up! You’re going off the road.” Not “I am ice, say goodbye to all your skin.” Well now I know.

The scenery was pretty much what you’d expect from somewhere called Grande Prairie. Once we got into Grade Cache it changed for the better. The road was twisty and mountainous and beautiful. One thing I’ve noticed most about riding a motorcycle as opposed to being in a car is the smells of the journey. You can smell everything and there are more pleasant ones than you’d think. On my bike I have smelled fragrant trees and plants, a forest fire that was burning just two weeks ago, brakes burning on semi trucks going downhill, fresh cut grass in fields, cattle farms and fresh rain on the road. In Dawson Creek we were sitting at a red light and I smelled a very strong vanilla smell. I looked to my right and there was a 17ish year old girl in an old beater car with at least 6 vanillaroma tree car fresheners on her rear view mirror. Cameron was ahead of me and I was telling him about it when the light turned green and she passed him. He smelled it too and even when she was 200 meters ahead of us we could smell the vanilla wafting out of her open window. I said that I bet she smells like vanilla all the time. Cameron said “yep, but at least she doesn’t smell like weed.” I laughed pretty hard.

The drive continued to be windy but beautiful all the way into Jasper. We arrived at the hotel at the same time as a big convoy of cruiser bikes with the men driving and the women on the back. People that ride cruisers don’t ever give the bike wave to us lowly adventure bike riders but they always seem to talk to us when we meet up at a gas station or rest stop and are usually super nice… Just too cool to wave I suppose. These guys had ridden up together from Edmonton for the weekend and asked us questions about our ride when they saw our Yukon plates. We had a good chat and then went to our hotel room which was the coolest hotel room we’ve seen. It was two levels with a living room, kitchenette, bathroom and balcony on the first floor. It had a real wood burning fireplace and a comfy place to sit which we proceeded to fill with our luggage. It’s amazing how much stuff you can pack in some seemingly small bike cases and we constantly amaze ourselves when we unpack and spread out with how much stuff we have. The second floor of the room was a loft bedroom with a queen bed and a half wall overlooking the bottom floor. We sat on the balcony for a while before going to for dinner and collapsing into exhaustion sleep once again.

The next day was on to Kamloops which was a baking hot hell hole that you will read about in episode three. Will our Yukon bodies survive the heat? Will Cameron get a new bike? Will I manage to go the whole trip without dropping my bike? Stay tuned to find out!!

~PP

My current view… Not to shabby.

The Motorcycle Diaries – Part 1

Days One and Two

In a twist from my regular (or not so regular) updates about my health and fitness, for the next three weeks my blog will be taken over by The Motorcycle Diaries. Cameron and I are on a motorcycle trip from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory to Vancouver Island and back again. We are currently at the end of day five. I was going to write about the first five days all together but so many interesting things have happened already that it would be an impossibly long blog post that no one would be able to read. I’m going to break it up into two days at a time until we have a few normal days and I can catch up… If normal never happens (very possible) then I’ll catch up after I get home. I didn’t plan on writing about this trip but it’s been so intersting that I really wanted to. Of course I didn’t bring my keyboard with me and trying to type it all on the iPad was impossible, so today I went and bought a fancy keyboard that folds up to a tiny size to fit in my bags and now I’m off to the blog races.

Cameron and I left Whitehorse on May 31st for a three week trip on his 2000 KLR650 and my 2012 KLR650. Cameron has been riding for about four years but this is year one for me. I got my licence just over a month ago and we thought it would be a great idea at the time to set out together for warmer climates and different roads. I understand already why they call it “adventure motorcycling” and we haven’t even left a main road yet. Even so, it’s been an adventure!

We left on my first day off after a night shift. I went home and slept for about four hours and then got up and got ready to go. The schedule for our first day was to go from Whitehorse to Watson Lake, about 440 kilometres. We left Whitehorse at 2:00 PM after packing everything up and making a couple of stops in town. I have been nervous about this trip for a few weeks. My KLR650 is much bigger than the bike I learned on and love, a Yamaha XT225. I’ve been excited about the trip as well, not just nervous… But mostly nervous.

We had pretty good weather the first day and the riding was going well until the road got quite potholey. I was doing a good job of avoiding them but all of a sudden there were potholes across the entire road and one right in front of me was unavoidable. It was deep and terrifying. I was staring my death in the face. My whole body tensed up, I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing. Then I remembered that Cameron said I need to relax. So right before I hit the pothole I made sure I had a good grip on the handlebars and relaxed the rest of my body. I thought my front tire was going in that pothole, stopping dead, and I was going to keep going over the handlebars. I was ready for the end, but the KLR just said “meh” and went right through it with a big bump. Cameron was following behind me and he hit the pothole on his KLR which also said “meh” and tanked on through it. Thank you draft horse of adventure bikes!

We ate lunch in Teslin. I wasn’t very hungry so I just asked for a side of fries… Then they told me the soup of the day was beef barley so I said I’d have that. This is what I got.


It’s pretty much a bucket of soup and ALL of their french fries. We laughed pretty hard. I ate about ¾ of the soup and when I finished with the fries it still looked like an entire platter that could feed a family of four.. We’re still laughing about it actually. Hilarious.

The first night we stayed in Watson Lake thanks to the hospitality of Jon and Jenna who were away in Texas on their own bike trip but generously let us stay in their house anyway. Thank you both and we’re looking forward to riding with you later this summer… Or boating… That would also be fun to the max. We stopped at the grocery store and got a frozen pizza which Cam attached to the back of his bike in the plastic grocery bag. We filled our pockets with drink and headed to Jon and Jenna’s. I rode behind him to make sure we didn’t lose the pizza. It survivied. We were exhausted. More exhausted than I thought you could be from sitting on a bike all day. We had to stop every 100km or less due to extreme arse pain. Riding is very physical and without these last many months of training I wouldn’t have lasted more than two days. That’s not a “might not have lasted” it’s a “definitely would not have lasted”. This is most likely the hardest thing I have ever done both mentally and physically. You’ll have to stick with The Motorcycle Diaries to find out why in full but as I’ve been reminded, the hard things are usually the things worth doing.

Think of a trip you could do where you were terrified about 70% of the time. I have much less terror now, but the first three days pretty much went like this –> fear, stress, fear, terror, adrenaline, fear, ooh this is nice, arse pain, terror, adrenaline, stress, nicotine, lunch, fear, adrenaline, stress, arse pain, adrenaline, nicotine, nicotine, fear, terror, adrenaline, stress, nicotine, fear, arse pain, end of the day!! Booze, exhaustion sleep. Don’t worry, it’ll get better when we get to day four but no less interesting.

Day two took us from Watson Lake to Fort Nelson. This was the day of The Incident. The morning started out with alright weather. It was cloudy but didn’t look like it was going to rain imminently. We had breakfast at Bee Jay’s. This is a place that looks Iike it’s been closed for 20 years but actually serves really good breakfast. We hit the road late morning and had a few hard packed gravel sections in construction zones that I was nervous about but had no problem with. Then we hit a very loose gravel section and I have never ridden in anything like this before. I was doing ok until this happened:


Cameron was yelling “slow” at me in the Sena (our Bluetooth communication thing of awesomeness). This confused me because I was pretty sure the right thing to do was speed up a little and that was what I was doing. I managed to wrestle the front wheel straight and keep the bike up which is a major miracle. Peter, who saw the video later that night, said I “James Paterson’d the wheel straight. I thought that description was funny and exactly right. I James Paterson’d the shit outta those handlebars, and James Paterson was the one who trained me to be able to do that, mentally and physically. Thanks buddy 😉

The Incident stayed with me for the rest of the day and every time there were construction signs or gravel patches I was pretty terrified. Cameron said I was silly to worry about something that didn’t happen (i.e. a crash) because I did well and stayed up. He was completely right, but I was still pretty terrified. We made it to Fort Nelson with no further incident. We got a good photo at Summit Lake and Nothern Rockies Lodge at Muncho Lake and some great GoPro videos that Cam will edit and post later on YouTube. I’ll add the link when he does. We also discovered I look hilarious in my rain gear and cannot do up my boots by myself when I have it all on. As Cameron was fastening my boots I asked him if he felt like he was taking a child on a motorcycle trip… He said it felt exactly like that. I had to agree. He gets one million man points for patience and a good sense of humour on this trip so far.



In Fort Nelson we stopped to fuel up and a very nice lady in a van parked at the gas station left her spot to drive over and chat to us. On a bike trip, everyone wants to talk to you. It’s really neat compared to traveling in a car. You meet some cool people. In episode two I will talk about one of the coolest people I have ever met (on day three) who told me not to be so scared all the time… And then I wasn’t. So back to the gas station… This lady drove over and asked where we were from and where we were going and we chatted for a bit. Then she said “ya know, if you’re on a budget and need a place to stay I work at the men’s shelter and we can definitely give you a bed and a meal.” We were a little stunned for a second and then I smiled and thanked her very much for the kind offer but we’d probably go with the hotel tonight. She seemed a little dissapointed. We looked at our bikes and ourselves and realized how dirty they both were. Cameron said our bikes must look like hobo bikes. I had bug splatters all over my jacket. We proceeded to find the nicest hotel in Fort Nelson and stayed there.

We had dinner at Dan’s Pub. They had just reopened days before our visit with new owners and they brought us the most delicious shots in the world on the house for opening week. They called them “crispy crunch” and they tasted like boozy chocolate heaven. When we were eating dinner we heard from Peter who was headed in the opposite direction towards home with a new Van and had just pulled into town. He joined us at dinner and this time Cameron had made the mistake of ordering too much food this time with a double order of wings. Luckily Peter was able to help him out. He checked into the same hotel as us and we had a great time hanging out after dinner and have a few drinks together. We showed Peter the video and he told me I James Paterson’d it. Finally I started feeling better about my near crash.

The first two days were over and I had almost crashed twice, cried in my helmet twice, wondered what the fuck I was doing in the middle of nowhere on a motorcycle that I’d just learned how to ride uncountable times and enjoyed myself for about two minutes total. But I was determined to do it. Cameron had been amazing. Patient and helpful and understanding. Even though he’s wanted to do a bike trip for years he offered to turn around or fly me home or anything I needed. That was amazing but I was determined to see it through or crash trying. I always quit the hard shit and I refused to quit this. I’m so glad I pushed on because as I said, it got better, much much better. But you’ll have to keep reading to find out how and when. Stay tuned for Episode Two in the next few days. Until then…

Keep the shiny side up…

~PP
P.S. I’ve finally finished this post and it’s late and I haven’t proof read it 1000 times like I normal do (and still make mistakes) but I care not and am going to bed now! So sorry about the goofs… I’m sure you know what I mean.


Day three preview.

Jedi and Padawan – A Running Tale

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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.

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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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Motivation. Fitsporation. Frustration. Aggravation. Determination.

That’s a lot of douchey “shun” words to start a day with… but that pretty well describes what I’ve been thinking and feeling this week so I had to douche it up a little.

I didn’t have anything big and exciting to write about when it comes to running this week so I didn’t want to write this. Then Andy reminded me that it’s not all lollipops and rainbows and I said I was going to write about the crap weeks too. And he was right. And here I am.

This week started out rosy with a great run (even with a cold) on Monday. I was super motivated to get right back into my home routine after vacation and rock on. Tuesday I had a Black Street Stairs workout with Alison and Quinn. I got dropped off on Main Street to pick up a few things and planned to run the 1km to the stairs. I started to run and instantly pain shot up the inside of my leg starting at my ankle. It’s been bugging me on and off but never instantly like this, and not usually so sharp. It has often been sore at the end of a run but never the beginning. After about 2 minutes of running on it I realized it wasn’t going to go away, so I dialed it back to a walk to the stairs.

I did my 30 minutes of stair hell and it was a good workout. My leg was sore but manageable at a walk. The stairs reminded me that I can’t leave them for three weeks and come back easy peasey. That night I was sore, and my leg was very sore. I had a hard time weight bearing on it because it hurt so much. I don’t know specifically what is wrong with it but it is taking a pounding from running and it’s telling me to fuck right off. I don’t want to fuck off. I actually, really want to run and I am frustrated and angry that I can’t. Three months ago I never would have imagined that would be a thought my brain could have. But there it is. I’m pissed off at my body. I’m pissed off at myself for having this crap body that I created. I’m frustrated. I’m angry.

On top of this my diet has been shit this week. I’m not eating mindfully. I’ll have a great meal and start the day out awesome and by the end of the day I’ve thrown away my good start. I’m not going crazy with all day ice cream feasts and deep fried smorgasbords or anything like that but I’m so not rocking it. Why is my mind in the game with exercise but not with food and why can’t I get it there?  I don’t know… I’m frustrated about this too. I’m angry at myself.

So. Angry and frustrated I turned to my love of Pinterest for a little fitsporation. Did you know it mostly sucks? There’s some good stuff but really, a lot of it is bullshit.

We’ve probably all seen this one.

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No. Just no. That is about zero % of the reason I’m doing this. Don’t get me wrong, if that happens it will be a nice side effect. But if that was my motivation I’d have quit already. That’s a shit reason to change your life.

How about this?

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If that were true then I have never really ran. Not once. That’s bullshit. I fucking run.

And this complete piece of crap.

THOSE ARE NOT THE ONLY TWO OPTIONS! What idiot made this?

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Actually, often you’re legitimately hungry. Go fuck yourself.

So instead of getting the motivational kick I wanted I grumped at fitsporation for a while. And then I stewed about how much it sucks and how there must be something good out there. And then I thought about why I was doing this in the first place and why I felt I needed that external kick anyway. I still don’t really know. Maybe the honeymoon is over and now that I’m really in to it I need to dig deeper. I know that normally I would have quit before now and even if I’d made it this far this funk I’m currently in would usually result in quit city.

I’m not quitting though.

Don’t panic.

I just need to find my jam again. I can’t let one crap week of leg injury, and a cold and bad eating get me so down.

So here are a few that I liked. And I liked them not because they gave me new motivation, but because they reminded me of shit that I already know, that I already think, that I’ve already written.

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I’ve written this before. I’m so tired… I’m weary… I’m sick of giving up and then starting over and over and over. I won’t do it again; this is it.

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I’ve done this, I’m doing this now. It have to keep doing it. All the time.

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This, so this. I am already thanking myself for starting (almost) three months ago. I’ve come so far already and I want to feel the same again three months from now.

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I won’t.

A crap week doesn’t mean that I can give up. This will not be my last crap week. I’m sure there will be even crappier ones. Much, much crappier ones. And I need to be able to push through them without being a big baby whiner.

My motivation can’t come entirely from one place. Not from fitsporation, not from my friends, not from my family, not from this blog, not from James. Getting motivation (and a lot of it) from each is a great thing, but if I rely on any one too much it will inevitably fail me. It has to come mostly from me. How I dig into that when I need it is another matter that I haven’t quite figured out yet. I need it now, and I’m digging… hopefully I’ll hit the pay dirt soon.

But regardless of whether I’m feeling motivated or not I am determined.

Determined not to quit this time.

Determined to be healthy.

Determined to reach my goals.

Determined to take another step.

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Simple.

~PP

The Zombie Walk

They say it’s hurts more the second day. They are right. I now know why zombies walk the lurching way they do. Their calf muscles are incapable of moving. After the Black Street Stairs mine are fused in one position which does not allow for ankle movement, at all. If I go up on my toes my legs still shake uncontrollably, making stairs very difficult. Try to walk up or down stairs without lifting your heel. Sucks.

I’ve been sore after workouts before. I’ve been very sore after workouts before. I have never been this sore after a workout before. I am zombie hobbling around my house. If I put my arms out in front of me and moaned you would think me undead. Actually the moaning is happening, so I only need the arms out. Except I can’t do that because they also hurt from my four “chin-ups”. James said we’d feel it later in our arms and sides and I scoffed internally. Maybe the other girls would feel it, but I basically did four jumps and tried to lower myself down slowly which accomplished absolutely nothing when I dropped like a rock. But apparently I was really trying hard, because they hurt.

Yesterday I got up in the morning and got out of bed, slowly. I made it to the bathroom but we have a larger than average step up in to our en suite. I managed to hobble up there. The problem was that eventually I had to get back down that step. I opened the door and stood there for at least a minute contemplating how to do this and do it quietly. Cam was still asleep in bed on the other side of the room. I looked for something to hold on to. There was nothing. I tried to grab the door jam but there isn’t really one because it’s a sliding barn style door in a log house. You can’t grab a huge log with short girl fingers. Eventually I found a piece of trim that I could get the ends of my fingers on… I gripped, I winced, I lowered one leg down to the ground with much shortness of breath and tachycardia. I got the other leg down with no tears… and heard a quiet chuckle from across the room. Cameron was watching me the whole time and trying not to laugh out loud! He told me it took about five minutes for me to get down the step and it was hilarious. He’s very proud of me for what I’m doing but it doesn’t stop him from enjoying the hilarity involved. I don’t mind, it is hilarious and I’d certainly be laughing at him if situations were reversed.

I had a run scheduled yesterday which I didn’t want to skip, but after about two hours of being awake my fit husband looked at me and said “maybe you should have a rest day.” I decided we should at least go for a walk. We packed up the dogs and headed to the research forest. It was a terrible idea. The dogs had ridiculous energy and Chinook almost pulled me over about six times. At first my calves loosened up a but but after about 2.5km I was in agony. My feet were flopping and I was staggering. I zombied back to the truck and we came home. I had a hot tub and after I felt much, much WORSE! Note: if Cameron says take a rest day, take a fricking rest day. Lesson learned.

This morning it was worse. Cam saw me come out of the bathroom again and noted that it was better than yesterday. What he didn’t know was that it was the second time I’d been in the bathroom that morning and I’d already had a hot tub while he slept in. The real first time today was as bad or worse than yesterday.

After 4 hot tubs yesterday and 2 today along with a couple of stretching and foam rolling sessions I’m finally starting to loosen up a bit. I have a run scheduled again tomorrow but I think it will be a walk instead. I’m heading back to the Wildlife Preserve with the Ginga Ninja. AND this weekend Prince Fuzz will be in town for another Wildlife Preserve run. I’m confident my legs will work again by then.

I promised a picture of my new trail shoes and here they are.

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I was really excited about them before but then my ultra marathon running friend Gillian told me that they’re the same shoes she wears for her trail runs and I got even more excited about them. I wore them for the first time on the ill considered walk yesterday and they were the best part about the walk. I’m looking forward to wearing them at the Wildlife Preserve.

I hope you have a good laugh at my zombie-ness and as I told Alison yesterday I’m gonna make those stairs my bitch! She suggested that for every 10 pounds I lose that those of us on the Disney Crew (and anyone else that want’s to join in) do the stairs while carrying 10 pound weights to celebrate the little victories on the way to the big one. I think that’s an amazing idea and we’re totally going to do it. So Disney Crew be warned… start doing some stair workouts because that is your future.

Huzzah!

~PP

The Black Street Stairs

Engineered by Satan himself, these stairs take you from downtown Whitehorse up the hill to the airport fence… and also to hell.

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Last spring my crew at work began doing weekly workouts together. My friend / coworker / generally awesome person Alison (princess earhandles… I’m sick of blog nicknames) organized them and they turned out to be pretty fun. She has put together another set of workouts this fall and today was the first one. This time we have a Drill Sargent who obviously helped Satan build these stairs.

I’ve often heard of the Black Street Stairs but I have never been there before. We met there today at 1:30 for our torture session. I was so nervous about going that I actually had full stress sweats before I left the house. I also had a GI reaction that you don’t really want to hear about, but I definitely told Alison the full details. Still, I went.

There were four of us from work as well as Drill Sargent James and his evil minion. I call them evil but in reality they were super encouraging dudes who ran with me and pushed me and made me feel pretty good.

We started out just above the parking lot where there are a couple of chin up bars. James said we were going to do a few chin ups. I laughed. He was serious. I said no, it’s possible I welled up a bit (partially hidden behind sunglasses). I didn’t want to be embarrassed because I know I cannot do a chin up. I can barely even hang on to a bar with arms extended and not fall off. He told me to just jump up as high as I can while holding the bar and let myself down as slowly as possible. My fit friends went first and managed some good chin ups. I walked up and grabbed the bar, jumped, and let myself down… like a fucking rock! I can’t even hang on and let myself down slow. Humiliation! I’m welling up a bit thinking about the shame. But I shouldn’t, because I was there with good friends who don’t give a shit about that. They were happy I was there with them doing something good for myself, not judging me for the terrible shape I’m in. Do I have reason to be ashamed? Yes, I think I do. But if I let that hold me back I’ll just stay where I am… or get even bigger and weaker. I’m sure I will have many moments like this during my journey but pushing through them will make me stronger physically and mentally, so I need to do it. So I cried on the inside like a winner while I did three more “chin ups”.

The first stair event was climbing all the way up at a walk. I started out pretty well but fell back after a few flights of stairs. I looked up and saw my friends climbing at what appeared to be a very slow pace, and I still couldn’t keep up. But I plugged along and made it to the top without taking a break, something that would not have been possible for me a month ago.  When we got to the bottom the torture really began. We were supposed to run as hard as we could up the stairs until we couldn’t go anymore and then stop and come back down. I made 5 flights the first run. As you can see from the photo that’s not even half way up. But I was done. I got back down and my legs were literally shaking. I recovered while the others did a couple runs and went again. The boys told me to go for 3 flights for sure and push for 4. I did it. Next time go for 2 push for 3. One of the boys ran behind me encouraging me on the way. I made it up 3 and then threw my arm up and said “one more!” Cheering erupted from below, I was exhausted but my friends and Satan’s minions made me feel great.

On my last run James came with me. I was running as hard as I could, he was walking beside me taking the stairs two at a time. I stammered out “you’re… walking… I’m… going… as… fast… as… I… can…” He told me he does this all the time and that I was doing great. I made it up 4 flights at a “run” and then went for one more at a walk. When I got to the bottom my legs were trembling so hard I could barely stand. I did keep standing though and we talked about our goals. James said my half marathon goal was cool and that he’d like to work with me on my running goals. He asked if I like being pushed this hard. I said yes… but I can’t do it for myself. I really meant no, go fuck yourself. No, that’s not true. I did like being pushed that hard, I feel great now. And I really can’t do it for myself, not yet. So I actually am looking forward to our weekly crew workouts with him, even though he’s evil… like the fru-its of the devil (10 points for anyone who gets that movie reference).

I stretched, drove home, and had an hour long hot tub. I am now hobbling around the house, probably stuck on the main floor forever. I may have to crawl up to bed. My legs were still shaking two hours later when Cameron got home. He laughed pretty hard at that… but I didn’t see him at the stairs. Possibly because he was chopping wood, installing a new stair railing and replacing every light bulb in the house but that’s no excuse.

I have a trail run scheduled tomorrow. Before the hell session began today I went and bought a sweet pair of trail running shoes which I realized I “needed” after my run at the wildlife preserve. If I am capable of walking when I wake up in the morning then it will happen. Cam and dem puppies will be coming with me to the research forest for the 5k loop.

I’ll update tomorrow with a pic of my sweet trail shoes and further tales of my misery.

~PP

Thank you Alison for arranging this and to you, Gillian and Ann-Marie for cheering and encouraging me. I appreciate it more than I can tell you. I cried on the outside when I got home thinking about how hard that was for me and how awesome you guys were… thank you!

The Beginning of the Road

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This picture is a good approximation of my current look. Those apples should probably be some french fries though… I’m pretty sure I’m mostly made of potato.

Fast facts:

  • I am 33 years old.
  • I do not currently run. At all. Not even a tiny bit.
  • In 18 months I will run the 2017 Disney Princess half marathon.
  • Before that I will lose 100lbs.

I love my life. It’s seriously awesome. I’m a very happy person with a crazy fun and supportive husband, 2 cool dogs, a great house and a job I love that pays me well and I am good at. The one thing that sucks serious balls is the weight I’ve let myself get to. I have zero excuse. I have a lot of time to spare for working out and I’m very happy. I don’t know why I feel the need to put so much food in me but something’s gotta give here, and it’s going to be my joints if I don’t make a change.

The Goal –  2017 Disney Princess half marathon.

I LOVE Disney. My parents took me there quite a bit as a kid and I’ve returned a few times as an adult and it just gets better. Last month my (fit) friend challenged me to run the Princess half with her and it clicked with me. THIS could be my goal. A reason to weasel another Disney trip out of my husband and do something great for myself at the same time. Any other half I wouldn’t even have though twice before saying no to her. She’s sneaky that one…

We went to Disney World in October 2014 and it was both amazing and terrible. Amazing cause it’s Disney and we had so much fun. Terrible because my feet and ankles swelled up from so much walking that I was not accustomed to and my right leg started doing this numbness/burning pain thing that would kick in after walking for about 5 minutes and stick around after I stopped. This problem definitely wasn’t there at the beginning of the trip but by the end it barely went away. It would have happened wherever I was but since it kicked in at Disney it will feel like I’ve really come full circle when I return triumphantly.

I don’t want to vomit too much information at you (not that I expect anyone to read this but me, you never do know though) because I can’t stand reading super long blogs. I’ll leave it there for today and see my vast reader base of one again tomorrow!

~PP