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

A Magical 8k

Yesterday was a magical day. I think James might have pulled some kind of Harry Potter shit to make it happen, or maybe I just did it, I don’t know. But either way, check this out!

8kdata

I ran 8k. I ran it. The whole thing. The whole damn thing.

The above data comes to you from James’ Garmin. I forgot to turn my heart rate monitor on at the beginning and my data turned out a little wonky otherwise. So James sent me the evidence and then I had to believe that I really did that shit! Although it’s still difficult to believe… I think I even dreamed about it last night. And that calorie burn is his btw (which he says was probably high since he wasn’t wearing his hr monitor either). Mine was 1ooo calories for the same run, haha!

The longest I’d run without a walk break before this was 36 minutes, I think. I did that at Myrtle Beach but I did stop for 30 seconds half way through to take a photo so it might not count, but it’s the closest I’ve come to running an entire run so we’ll go with that. Even if that was the longest run I’ve ever accomplished I smashed that record. Demolished it. Doubled it. Holy shit!

Cameron and I landed in Whitehorse on Oct 14th at 2200 after a slightly delayed flight, but I made fast friends with our awesome flight attendant so it was alright. When we arrived and got to the car one tire was flat. Like, rim on the ground flat. Cameron started getting everything out to change it but we’d been flying for about twenty hours by that time and now our tempers were flying also. I suggested a cab, he said that would be about ten thousand dollars and it was a no go. So I covertly texted a friend while he tried to get stuff out in a tired trance and she instantly agreed to come pick us up and drive us home. YOU my friend are an angel from heaven. Cam put everything back in the car and our angel drove us home where we hugged our puppies and collapsed into bed. I slept for about four hours and then woke up and could not get back to sleep. I got up, topped up the hot tub which was a little low, made a fire and generally puttered around while making plans with James for a run later that day. These plans were made at about 5am.

5 Questions:

  • Do you wake up at an ungodly hour every day?
  • Do you sleep hanging upside down with your arms crossed over your chest like a bat?
  • Are you able to run 8k without seeming to exert any effort whatsoever?
  • Do you sparkle in the sun?
  • Are you so cold you occasionally have to run with your hands in your pockets to warm them up?

If all five of these are true you are probably a vampire. If 3/5 are true you’re probably James Paterson. And I could not have done this run without him… especially since it was his crazy idea in the first place.

I don’t know if he thought I could do it or not, but I was determined to do it no matter what he thought. I do have a sneaky feeling he thought I could do it though, and that he generally believes in me more than I do for now… but I’m slowly buying into that crazy train.

The first 4 crap km were uphill which was awful and more awful. But when we were on the way up my friend Genevieve happened to drive by and she honked and rolled her window down and yelled encouragements at me which was amazing and kept me going for a while… even though James told me I wasn’t stopping to talk to her when she turned around in front of us. Thank you Gen, that was the best!

Eventually the maybe vampire told me we were halfway and could turn around and head back for the second 4k. I hadn’t looked at my watch once yet and that was a major accomplishment for me. This half was now blessedly downhill, but still painful. I kept telling James he had to talk to me. I needed to drown out the self doubt and “I hate this” talk that was going around in my head. So we chatted about video games and such for a few km which was very effective.

With about 2kish left I told him with most likely a look of pain on my face not to let me stop. I wanted to stop so badly but I said that I wanted to be able to tell Cameron that I did the whole thing without stopping and please not to let me stop. And he didn’t. And I told Cam I ran the whole damn thing. And he was so proud of me. I know he would have been proud of me even had I walked a bit, but it was oh so glorious to be able to tell him I did it.

When James told me I could stop running I doubled over and said “I… just…. have to…. look.. tired… just for a second.” He laughed and let me look tired. We walked back to his truck and I proceeded to get butt sweat all over his truck seat, also known as payback. 😉

I don’t have a photo of my exhausted victory because I wouldn’t let him take one, not that he didn’t try.

Now I have a cold coming on. I have the sore throat and the itchy ears and general crap feeling that comes with a cold. But I will live through it on the awesome feeling I still have from that victory yesterday. I didn’t know a person could feel as good as I did after that run (and subsequent hot tub).

My hip flexors are sore and my ankle is sore and my shoulders are sore but my brain is happy, happy, happy!

Today’s blog is brought to you by Hozier (twice), the letter V for Vampire, and the number 11, just ’cause that’s my number.

Love you all!

~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

The Terry Fox Run

This post is a day late but not a dollar short! Yesterday the Terry Fox Run was my first official event. I reached my goal to raise $100 for the Terry Fox Foundation thanks to my generous donors: Sue and Phillip, Andy and Heather, and the King and Queen. Thank you all so much!

terryfoxcrowd

It was a beautiful fall day and about 300 people ran or walked with many others there to cheer and support. Princess CindyLouWho came to run with me and we had a nice big cheering section. James was there too and he had a plan for me – run 9 minutes, walk 45 seconds – repeat, keep the pace consistent, and don’t chat too much (haha!). He ran in full turnout gear like a crazy person and was still lightning fast. Here he is near the finish line.

jamesatterryfox

jamesatterryfox1

I stuck to the plan and at the end I thought I was about two seconds slower than the pace I ran with James last week. But when I got home and looked at my fitbit stats I was wrong. I was actually faster than that pace by 5 seconds/km. Wahoo!

terryfoxpace

While this wasn’t really a “race” it still felt great to participate in my first organized event. There were no numbers, timers, or even a start/finish line and it was a really good way to break myself in to the running scene without any pressure. I was nervous at the beginning but it was mostly because I was about to run around people. Lots of people, with eyes that could see me and ears that could hear my ragged breathing. A friend told me that I’d be surprised by the variety in body types at races and she did not lie. Every variety was represented and I didn’t really feel too out of place at all once things got going.

Thoughts I had before the run:

  • There are one million people here
  • My hands are cold I should put my gloves on
  • My hands are hot why did I put these gloves on
  • It’s chilly should I wear both of these jackets?
  • My shoes are too tight – loosens shoes
  • My shoes are too loose – tightens shoes
  • My shoes are too tight – loosens shoes
  • My feet are going numb, I think they’re still too tight – loosens shoes
  • Everyone is going be looking at my wobbly bits
  • Cameron is going to be taking pictures, I hate pictures, but I need pictures for my blog, and he takes really good pictures, so I’m glad he’s taking pictures.
  • Omg it’s time to start! Are my shoes too loose?

Thoughts I had during the run:

  • That girl in front of me has really beautiful hair
  • Thank god Cindy is running this with me!
  • I’m so hot! This jacket has got to go

That’s all I can really remember… lol.

Here we are rockin it at the finish.

kirstatterryfox

And one of me and James post run

kirstjames

So all in all it was a success! Thanks to our cheering section – Quinn, Alison and Memnon the Destroyer, Sean and Cameron. You all rock!

One year from now it will be very cool to look back at these photos and see how far I’ve come.

~PP

The Question on Everyone’s Mind

Can I walk today? YES! I can!

I’m am sore but it’s a good, normal after workout sore. Not a – you may never walk again – sore. Win!

I don’t have much else to say today so I have decided to wax lyrical about the joys of Body Glide. If you haven’t heard of it, this miracle product prevents the horrors of chafing while running or doing any exercise really. I had read about it in the six running magazines I bought this month but I kind of thought that it was something for the hardcore runners that go long and ultra long distances. However when I was at the local sports store I saw it there and thought about my pudgy thighs and their… lets say, issues. 

Various chafing injuries have sidelined me from exercise for a few days more than once in my life and more than once in the past six weeks since I hopped on this crazy train. So when I saw that little pink stick of what might possibly be heaven I snapped it up.

Body Glide Her

The first time I used it was on the inaugural Black Street Stairs day, the very same day I bought it. Not half an hour after my purchase in fact. I was chatting to my friend Gillian in the parking lot getting ready to head up when I remembered it there and decided to try it out. I asked her to excuse me while I body glided… she knew exactly what I meant being familiar with its amazingness, but informed me with a chuckle that she usually did that at home before she left as I had my arm down my pants body gliding my thighs. I laughed and told her that I just bought it and I did plan to glide in private generally, haha.

Oh. My. Gawd. It is heaven! I CAN’T believe I’ve made it to 33 years of age without hearing of this product. The target market may be uber runners but EVERY SINGLE Pudgy Princess should buy this! Buy a years supply, buy shares in the company, put it in your doomsday shelters, pack it in every purse you own, get one for your glove box and your locker at work! I would spray tan this shit on if I could. No more chafing and rubbing and awkward – I’ve just been on a horse – walking at the end of a workout (and for the next two to three days). I feel like I haven’t lived before this.

So Body Glide, thank you for being amazing… and you should advertise specifically to the Pudgy Princesses out there… If you do, I sure haven’t seen it. I would have bought it years ago if I had. I’m fairly certain every big girl (and boy) who starts exercising would buy it. You’re really missing out.

~PP

Return to the Stairs

stairs from top

The view from the top. Today I headed back to the Black Street Stairs for another torture session. Our crew today consisted of Princess Earhandles (regretting her name a bit now but it’s not too late to change it!), Prince Handlebar, Princess CindyLouWho (a new and awesome addition), and James: Satan’s Minion.

We started with chin-ups again and I swear it felt like I was able to let myself down slightly more slowly than last time, at least for the first two or three. While we were trudging up to the stairs James said he had read my blog. I blurted out “I’m sorry I called you Satan’s minion!” He laughed and said it was ok and I began to think this could be the beginning of a beautiful Trainer / Pudgy Princess relationship.

I boldly declared that I’d like to be able to walk after this week’s session. James said that we would be doing more of a sustained effort workout as opposed to last weeks hell sprints; hell being my added adjective and not his original quote. We were to walk up and down the stairs as many times as possible within thirty minutes, as slowly as necessary in order to keep going.

I started up the stairs and made it to the top on round one without venturing too close to death, though much more slowly than my compatriots. That was ok though. It won’t be ok forever, but it was ok today. I stopped at the top to breathe, but that was not the plan! James (on at least his second round but possibly his fifth, there’s no way to know) said “keep going! The way down is your rest.” I laughed and told him it was really cute that he thought that was a rest.

I slogged through three more rounds with much encouragement from my friends and much heckling of them from me. I swear I passed James while I was on the way up and he was on the way down every time and then about twelve seconds later he scared the shit out of me with encouragement from behind.

Various quotes from my friends:

  • “You’re doing so awesome, keep going!”
  • “You’re awesome”
  • “You can do it!”
  • “You rock!”
  • “Your legs aren’t shaking as much as last time” – true.

Quotes(ish) from James:

  • “the way down is your rest”
  • “It gets really bad, and then just stays the same amount of bad.”

I said I’d have to go ahead and disagree, it kept getting more bad.

Various quotes from me:

  • at the top with fist in the air – “I feel like Rocky!”
  • to Alison half way up on round four “I’m – gasp – just – gasp – having – gasp – a bit of a  – gasp – hard time – gasp – breathing!”
  • “No whinging!” – I had cornered the market on whinging.
  • “Pass me, save yourself!”

So all in all, a great workout.

Two days ago I started feeling normal after the last stair session. I had about six days of zombie walking, then three days of feeling like general crap with runny nose and runny…. other things, and then got back to running with my legs.

Yesterday Prince Fuzz joined me for a run at the Wildlife Preserve. He’s much much faster than me but we had a great time even so. He ran ahead when he wanted to and then came back for me. We stopped and took a picture of us at the top of Mount Doom but it didn’t turn out very well on my ancient iPhone. I did get a couple of good animal shots though.

eagles

Eagles being rehabilitated.

deer

Deer and nice fall colours.

After the deer we did some short sprints for the last km of the 5k run (run/walk for me) and talked about how sprinting makes me feel like a kid running around and having fun. We picked a tree on the trail and sprinted to it then walked for a bit. It was super fun but one time I picked a tree that was way too far for me to sprint to. I narrowly avoided collapse but still had a great time.

Now five hours after hell stairs I am feeling great. As in – I think I’ll be able to walk tomorrow! –  great.

After I publish this post I’m planning on updating my “About Me” page with some nerd-fessions about stuff I love and more info about me. Check that out later tonight or tomorrow when you have a minute.

I love that my friends and strangers from around the world are reading my ramblings. I’ve had so much advice from friends after reading this and I love it! It means that you are reading and caring and that means a lot to me!

Various advice and comments (loosely quoted from memory) I’ve received in the last couple weeks from my friends include:

  • I can help you with outdoor running plans and tips once it snows and is really cold – T (marathoner and very inspirational to me weight loser through running and clean eating)
  • I can help you with treadmill plans for the winter, I hate running in the cold. – G (ultra-marathoner and another inspirational gal)
  • I think you might be having too many hot tubs, it might be making your inflammation worse and you should try ice. – B (almost definitely true but I do love my hot tub and hate cold) Also, you said you’d come to work outs with us if you could wear purple tights… you know who you are… get out here!
  • So you decided not to swear too much in you blog, hey? – R. My friend who read the whole blog beginning to end while sitting at work with me the other day. I replied that I had started out trying not to swear much but my resolve was eroding as I went along… He also let out many chuckles while reading it which made me feel pretty good.
  • Reading you blog is just like hanging out with you except I’m either not at work with you or I don’t have a drink in my hand. – E (aka The Suit) Apparently I write how I speak – awesome!
  • Your blog is pretty funny, I like it. – D
  • You’ve inspired me to get out there /  back into shape / back to running / etc. – three awesome girl friends. This is the best one! 

I can’t believe that I’m inspiring people. It an amazing and humbling feeling that I’m an inspiration to anyone. I have so FAR to go and I didn’t believe that I’d be capable of inspiring anyone until maybe I hit or was pretty close to my goal. So thank you to all of you who’ve messaged, texted or told me that I’m inspiring you, this in turn inspires and pushes me to keep going.

James said today that who you surround yourself with is critical to your motivation and success (or something like that)… and the people surrounding me right now are amazing. Today I thought my fourth time up the stairs in thirty minutes would be my last. I was already feeling the relief of the finish 3/4 of the way to the bottom with four minutes left. When I was almost at the bottom of run four James pushed me to go one more time. I didn’t think I could do it. My legs were jello; wobbling violently by this time. Then Alison said she’d do it with me. She must have been on time eight, or ten, or thirty but she said she’d do the last one with me. I slogged up one step at a time and she ran past me and then turned around each flight and came back to me with words of encouragement and offers to let me throw things at her if necessary. I think without her doing that last run with me I may (would) have sat down and cried. I’m SO lucky to be able to surround myself with amazing people.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I could not have better friends to help me with this. I thought I could do it alone at the beginning but I was SO wrong. I need my people, my amazing Disney Crew and everyone else who joins me for any part of this journey, thank you!

I’m so looking forward to crossing that finish line in February 2017 with you guys. Whether you’re there with me or cheering from the Yukon while I run along, you all mean something to me and are a part of my story.

I’m not alone and that is awesome!

~PP

Triumph and Tragedy

Triumph!

I ran 5.74k today! It was really a bit more but as you can see from my run map I forgot to turn on my gps for the first bit.

route

It was week 4 day 1 of C25K and I had two 3 minute run segments and two 5 minute ones. Last week the max was 3 minutes so I was a little nervous for the fivers. I was running with Princess Sweatsalot today so it was my first run with someone other than Svelte and my first run in public. In my rural neighbourhood I get passed by one car, maybe, and I never see other runners or walkers. Mostly we just get attacked by neighbour dogs and they don’t care about my wobbly bits.

As I was walking to meet Sweatsalot my legs were actually shaking a bit because I was nervous about the running in public thing… but I’m generally a pretty confident person and don’t care much what other people think of me. No that’s not true. I totally care. Mostly about what people I know and like think of me though, strangers I’m more indifferent to. I told myself to get over it and Sweatsalot told me to also (she put it a bit more diplomatically I think) and I did, mostly. We set off on the adventure.

Sweatsalot is definitely faster than me, but every time she wanted to speed up she ran ahead and then loyally ran back to me and kept pace for a while with words of encouragement that I sorely needed. I don’t think I would have kept going on the fivers without her there. At one point she looked back from two steps in front of me directly at my feet which were barely lifting on the trail and told me to pick them up! I called her a sneaky foot looker, but I did it.

When the C25K app told me I was done we were half way around the loop trail. So I walked for five minutes and then set it on the last run for week 3 and kept going with 90 second and 3 minute run intervals until we were about 500m from the start. Triumph! I owe this one to Sweats and now that she’s pushed me through the first run I’ll make it for the other two runs this week because I know I can do it. The other contributing factor which was important, although not as much as my Sweaty hero was the song Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. This was somehow on my running playlist and came on right after the sneaky foot looker incident. How can you not run or dance to that song? So good. Add it to your list, seriously. I’ve chair danced to it once and full on danced to it twice already while blogging. It’s really slowing the writing down.

IMG_0044 (1)

Tragedy

Although a minor tragedy in the general scope of tragedies, it is nonetheless hilarious.

It started when I arrived at home after the triumph and stepped out of the car. I had definitely forgotten to stretch out after the run. This was evident when I tried to step out of the car and everything went creeeeeeaak. I hobbled into the house and since I was still warm half an hour later I stretched it out using the stair railing as a convenient support. I had one more stretch that I needed to sit down for so I got down on the ground and dem puppies attacked! Apparently I am delicious after a run. I wrestled with their hugs and kisses for a bit and then finished my stretch and tried to get up. I could not. I was stuck on the ground forever. I took a few minutes to gather all the strength I possess and managed to arise.

Is this the tragedy you ask? Oh no… worse was to come.

I made myself a delicious and healthy chicken wrap for dinner and it was thoroughly enjoyable. Then I headed out to clean up the garbage that a nighttime visitor had decided to scatter around the shed. The door had been left open (not by me for once) and someone found it to be a tasty snack. So I started the disgusting job of picking it all up and made my way to the bag it had come from. This bag was particularly ripe and unpleasant. You need to understand that I have a very strong gag reflex. If someone just makes a gag noise or horks up some phlegm it’s gag city for me. So as I started to try and get the offending bag into a new one I got a big whiff of the garbage stink and gag happened. And then another one, and another. I ran away and thought about puppies chasing butterflies and pristine waterfalls to get myself together. When I was ready I tried again. Gag. Puppies and butterflies, another try. Gag… gag… gag.. VOMIT! I threw up my entire delicious wrap. And all the water I drank, and possibly yesterdays breakfast. It was terrible!!!  I hate throwing up. It’s the worst.

I had to text Svelte to tell him about this and he thought it was hilarious. His only reply was that he was really sad he wasn’t here to see it. Typical. He’s tried to get me to puke more than once by making gagging sounds and has almost succeeded before taking pity on me and stopping. I asked him if he wanted a photo to prove it had happened. He said… “no?… I don’t know?… I’m torn.” So I sent him a long distance photo which clearly shows a puke puddle but not close enough to be 100% disgusting. 50% was good enough. I guess our nighttime visitor will come back to another tasty snack tonight (that was an example of 100% disgusting).

I dragged my tired body into the hot tub and settled down with a drink and Canadian Running magazine. I opened it up and the cardboard subscription card promptly fell into the water. I turned off the jets and looked for it in vain. It was gone into the filter. So I opened up the filter and stuck my hand in it to get it out. It wasn’t there. I tried to retrieve my hand as I’m fond of it, but I couldn’t. It was stuck! In the hot tub filter! And I had gotten out of the hot tub to look for it so I was standing in the cold wind, soaking wet with my hand stuck in the hot tub filter. I’m sure this kind of thing only happens to me. I panicked for a minute but once I calmed down a bit I was able to work it out of the filter. I had noticed while stuck in there that the bromine tablet had dissolved. So I grabbed the bottle of bromine and tried to drop a tablet into the cap of the bottle. Unfortunately I had grabbed the shock instead of the bromine which is granules and not tablets. I poured shock granules all over my hand, and the bench and the deck. Switch swooped in to give it a lick and instead got a smack and a NO! I walked into the house soaking wet and dripping to wash my hands and get a bowl of water to wash it away. While doing this I noticed the cardboard subscription card on the bottom of the hot tub. Seriously? After I had successfully deposited bromine into the tub I got back in and settled down to relax… for 5 minutes until the sky opened up and poured rain on me and my magazine. Sigh.

So the morals of this story are:

  1. Your friends are awesome, run with them.
  2. Stretch after you run.
  3. If the garbage gets scattered leave it for your husband to deal with.
  4. Do not stick your hand in the hot tub filter.
  5. Make sure you have the right bottle before you go pouring it everywhere.
  6. Listen to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.

Do do do, Jitterbug!

~PP