Thirty Nine Days

A few weeks ago I decided it was finally time to start writing again. Since that decision I have been procrastinating like a professional. It has been six months since we last saw each other and so many things have happened in my life that I knew this entry would be long and overwhelming. I didn’t know how to tackle it and so I didn’t. The other day I said to Cameron that I had a lot of regrets about the last six months because I haven’t made any progress. He told me to forget about the last six months because they’re gone and focus on the next six months. That is good advice. I’m taking it.

My regrets are only fitness and weight loss related… otherwise life has been pretty awesome. When I was talking to Alison the other day about my feeling of overwhelmation (not a word, I know) regarding writing the blog again she suggesting making a list of “10 things that have happened to me since my last post”. GREAT idea!

Here are 10 things that have happened to me since my last post:

1. We got new motorcycles!!

  • The conclusion of the motorcycle diaries:  We got new bikes while we were in BC and rode them home. They are amazing. My bike’s name is Lara and I love her with my whole heart. Cameron’s bike is called Forge.

Lara Bike
Lara Bike and Forge Bike
2. I met my motorcycle hero. We are now friends. For reals. No big deal.

  • Last winter I was finally persuaded to try riding a motorcycle after Cameron got me hooked on a YouTube show called Races to Places. Lyndon Poskitt decided to quit his job and sell all his stuff and ride his motorcycle around the world. He competes in rally races and films it all for his show. I loved it and it made me really want to ride. I likely would not be riding (at least last year) without watching Races to Places. This summer Lyndon was coming through the Yukon and I sent him a facebook message saying thanks for making the show and hoping to be able to meet him and go for a drink or something. He ended up staying with us for a week and we did a lot of fun stuff. We’re still in touch. He’s just finished the Dakar Rally… I’ll talk about that later. Here’s some stuff we did last summer.

Cameron, Lyndon and I on the Hubbard Glacier
In the Icefield Discovery Plane

At the Black Street Stairs. We went twice!
Out for a ride
3. My little brother got married!

  • He picked a pretty great bride. Jess is awesome.
  • It was a beautiful wedding.
  • It was cool to see some old friends.
  • It made me feel old.

4. We bought a house and moved!

  • Kind of out of the blue we bought a house. We’ve had one eye on property available for a couple of years although we have been trying to pay down debt and get in a better position for home ownership for a while now before seriously looking. Cameron found something he really wanted to look at and we went for a viewing but it wasn’t right for us. The realtor had another property she was just about to list in the same area so we went to look at that one and BAM! Bought a house. It’s even more in the middle of nowhere than we already were but hey, look at that view!

5. I had to get glasses 😦

  • Even though I had laser eye surgery nine years ago and therefore have (or had) laser eyes, it seems my right eye is giving up like a jerk. I realized I couldn’t see properly when we moved to the new house and the couch was farther from the tv than it was before. Got glasses thinking I’d just wear them at work and watching tv and stuff… I now wear them pretty much all the time except when running. Luckily my laser eyes are guaranteed for life… so I just have to get myself to Vancouver for a week to re-zap them. Who knows when I’ll get around to that. Until then I’m glassified.

6. I ran the Klondike Road Relay.

  • I ran from the Skagway summit to the Canadian border. This leg was not nearly as downhill as I expected it to be and I was pretty slow but I did it! It was freezing cold and pouring rain. I wore a pink tutu. It was awful (except for the tutu, that was awesome). I just told Alison today that I’d do it again next year. I do not know why I would say that, but I did.

7. We got a cat!

  •  I have wanted a cat for seven years, but as renters it’s hard enough to find a place to live with dogs… so no cat for Kirsti. Now that we FINALLY have a house that we own, in the country, where mice live… I got my cat! We got an orange one because my first pet as a kid was an orange cat named Tigger and I wanted an orange cat again. Turns out my new kitten is a massive asshole and my hands are scratched to shit! He also likes to bite you in the face when you’re sleeping. That is awful and more awful. But he’s adorable when he’s sleeping. He likes to cuddle with Switch. Chinook wanted to eat him on the first day. She had foam drool and could not stop licking her lips and biting the air and definitely tried to put cat in mouth. A couple of weeks later she now defends him from Switch when he gets a little to intense at play time and doesn’t realize his tank paws will crush the 11 week old kitten when playing chase. She will not accept cuddles, but she doesn’t want to eat him anymore… or she hides it really well and will eat him when we’re out of the house one day. Time will tell. We named him Hobbes.

8. I got really sick.

  • Just after New Years I got a cold/flu that kicked me right in the ass. Hard. For two weeks I did not leave my house. I stayed in bed for a couple of days and sweated and snotted. Eventually I was able to make it to the living room for a few hours each day. It was really awful. There are no photos of this.

9. I quit smoking!

  • January third was my last cigarette. I had planned to quit anyway but it was also the first day of my flu so as awful as that was I have to say it really helped. Living in the middle of nowhere with a 30 minute drive to the closest store helps too. But mostly the flu. Now that I’m back in society and at work and near stores and such I’m still doing well. No patch required. I went through withdrawals when I was sick anyway so I didn’t even notice. The snot overpowered them. Yes I’m still craving at times. Yes two and a half weeks isn’t that long. Yes I’m certainly still in danger of failing, but I’m optimistic. I really like breathing into these clear, clear lungs, especially when running.

10. I’m on track again. I’m eating better than I have since I started. I’ve just put together a string of seven days in a row of eating clean and within my points (weight watchers) and exercising. It’s probably my best week since I started this a year and a half ago.

So what got me back on track? Two things.

One. When I was sick in bed for two weeks I thought a lot about the last six months and the time I wasted. When Cameron said to forget it and look forward that was a big mental shift I had to make. Being sick is the WORST, but I thought a lot about the fact that I was going to get better from the flu and a lot of people have injuries or illness that mean they are not going to get better enough to run again or do other things they want to do. I’m lucky to have this body that is capable of running or dancing or riding a motorcycle and it can be capable of so much more than it is now. My friend was saying the other day that her goal is not to have a perfect body but to have a body capable of doing all the things she wants to do. Whether that is to climb a mountain or cross country ski or canoe for six days… that is her goal. I thought that was pretty awesome and rather than focus on a number right now I’m going to pick a couple of things I want my body to be capable of and go for that. Maybe a pull-up, just in case I’m ever hanging from a helicopter skid or the edge of a mountain. I feel like that would be a useful skill. That’s a longer term goal. In the short term lets go with running a half marathon. I’ll find out if I can do that or not in 39 days.

Thirty. Nine. Damn. Days.

I have no time goal, I just want to finish the thing without the sweeper bus hauling me off the course. I am 80% sure at this time that I can. I guess we’ll find out.

Two. While I was sick Cameron and I watched from afar as our friend Lyndon completed the Dakar Rally Malle Moto (unsupported). Of course he has a lot of support and sponsors with gear and such but Malle Moto riders have no support crew, mechanics, RV to sleep in, etc. during the Rally. They are their own mechanic and they set up and sleep in a tent every night. It’s an incredible test of endurance, skill and mental fitness to keep going in extreme circumstances. Lyndon completed the race and place second in his category. He took lots of video and was featured in the Dakar Heroes. On the second last day he posted an emotional video about how tired he was and how difficult the race was but how he needed to stay positive and push on to achieve his goal. Watching Lyndon do this made me realize more than ever before that it is possible for ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. He set a huge goal for himself and worked at it systematically to achieve it. When he stayed with us last summer he was already working on the massive logistics required to even get him to the start line. It was inspirational and it made me refocus on my goals and realize that what I want to do is possible.

The majority of people who try to lose weight fail. I’ve known that for a while and over the past six months I’ve thought many times (as I have done over the last many years) that I will just always be big. I’ve been defeated and tried to accept what I am. But I was wrong. It is unacceptable for me. Please don’t misunderstand, I am not saying it is unacceptable for anyone to be overweight. I am saying that for ME, I no longer choose to accept this body that can’t do all the things I want it to do.

I have a closet that is half clothes I can’t wear. I don’t accept that anymore.

If I had to pull myself up on a ledge to get away from zombies chasing after me I would instead be a tasty brain snack. I don’t accept that anymore.

If I ever broke my leg and needed to be lifted into an ambulance I’d probably need four of my coworkers to do that instead of the standard two. Horror of horrors. I don’t accept that anymore.

I will SO not be perfect. I will have off days. And I make no promises about writing regularly, I’ll probably just break them. However my head feels clearer than it has since I started. My lungs feel clearer than they have in years. I ran a personal best 5k yesterday and I lost two pounds this week (on top of the 6 I lost because of the flu).

Disney is all booked and in 39 days I’ll be in Florida running my first half marathon. I’ve been pretty sad I won’t be there in triumph 100 pounds less than starting. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t do what I said I’d do, but since I can’t lose 80 pounds in 39 days there’s nothing I can do about it other than eat well and train as hard as possible in the days I have left. This I can do.

This I will do.

~P²
Thanks friends and followers that have been encouraging me to come back. It felt good to write again!

Just Fucking Do It 

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

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

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

Yes… I basically just called myself a PC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bullshit.

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

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

Cheers to being a little better, everyday.

 ~PSquared

RUN WEEK!

It’s RUN WEEK!

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

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

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

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

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

10k garmin

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

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

Panorama of the Track


The View From the Track


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

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

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


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


Finally I’ll leave you with this little gem.

Fixed!

~P²

The 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

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.

stairs

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!