Do you consider yourself a creative?

I’ve had lots of ideas come to me while I’m driving in the car or when I wake up in the middle of the night but I haven’t been able to sit down and type them out for you. It’s not that I have nothing to say: it’s actually more a case of having too much to say and no clue where to even begin.

I find it difficult to know where to express myself appropriately. Is this idea best suited for my blog or for the podcast (which I co-host with Melissa Kahn in case you didn’t know…check it out Run For Your Life Podcast)? Or is it more for the Worth Living blog I contribute to? Or do I need to save it for a book or a public speaking presentation? Maybe you are starting to see why it’s been tricky to sit down and type it out here.

 

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As a fitness professional I never really considered myself a creative person. As an entrepreneur I’m learning to embrace this notion of being a creative. After all, I do create: events, social media posts, press releases, blog content, podcast episodes.

I create opportunities for other businesses to grow and reach new clients. I create experiences that allow people to challenge themselves or learn something or see themselves in a new way. I create moments that inspire and motivate.

So do you.

You create opportunities for your clients to discover their strength and speed and to find better health. You create an environment that allows your clients to feel safe enough to push their limits. You create a community of support for people learning and growing. You create the moments where others can change how they see themselves and how they think about things. You create the opportunities where people change their lives.

creativity is the way I share my soul with the world

 

 

 

 

Are you ready to hit the trALE?

As an event planner my job is to help other fitness and wellness entrepreneurs create an impact and generate some sales through live events. So far, all of these events have been amazing experiences: watching women take to hills on snowboards for the first time, watching a gymnasium full of strong AF women celebrate their strengths, and helping pull off a new multisport and triathlon festival in one of the most beautiful of Canada’s national parks. I’m pretty freaking lucky to do what I do with the folks I do it with.

One of my favourite events is the Falmouth TrALE Run which is entering it’s 4 year this October 5th! The force behind Fitness Junkies invited me to help her realize her dream of taking people through the trails of a local gem, Castle Frederick Farms, and combining it with the fantastic local brews of Schoolhouse Brewery. We aimed to showcase beautiful Falmouth, Nova Scotia and it’s local small business scene while encouraging people to get outside and enjoy an afternoon with friends.SponsorInfo2019FTR

 

Why is this one of my favourite events?

 

Because it’s not an event:

it’s an experience.

 

 

Spend an October afternoon outside, surrounded by the autumn colours that make fall in Nova Scotia a bucket list must. Bring your camera and make sure to get a photo of the view from the cabin at the top of the hill!

Spend an afternoon with the best people you’ll ever meet, and walk along with your closest friends and family enjoying a fun couple of hours together. It’s an active way to sample the best in local booze and catch up with your besties.

(Some brave souls run it, but taking your time is encouraged. This is a non-timed experience because we want you to enjoy the views and brews, and take a few selfies along the way.)

If you’re one of these brave souls and you take your trail running seriously, consider the Race to the Cabin option on the 5k route this year: 1.84km climb to the off-the-grid cabin at the top.

The view is reward enough but there will be a special prize for the first TrALEr to reach the top!

It’s an afternoon of hanging with great friends and acknowledging that some folks just completed their first 5k or 10k ever! That’s definitely worth celebrating with a party at the finish!

It’s an afternoon watching the best in local beer, cider, wine and spirits strut their stuff and create new raving fans. As an entrepreneur it’s important that we support each other and grow our community. This year we’re excited to have Schoolhouse Brewery, Hill Top Hops, Still Fired Distillery, Sid’s Cider, and Bent Ridge Winery on the trALE.

Cheers to hitting the trALE!

 

Are you ready for a great time with good friends?

Head on over to Race Roster and register and don’t forget to tell your friends!

 

 

Dear Person Who Get Sh*t Done

Dear Person Who Gets Shit Done,

I see you out there working your butt off trying to make a difference in the world around you. You probably have a full-time job in addition to your passion-project, and there’s a good chance you are a parent, too. Not to mention the extracurricular activities you’ve got on the go. I see you.

I see the hard work you put in on a daily basis and I see you as you race across town to make a parent teacher meeting or get the groceries done before your next appointment. I scroll through social media and see how you’re inspiring others and lifting your followers up. I see all of this and wonder what you’re feeling on the inside.

I wonder if you’re losing hair due to the stress of feeling alone as you try to keep your life organized. I wonder if you ever take the scenic route home so you can have a few extra minutes to yourself. I wonder if you doubt every decision you make and sometimes question if what internet trolls say about you is true.

I know you’re setting goals and pushing through the rain and the pain to reach them, because you are driven and motivated and people look up to you. You might even lie awake at night thinking about the people you’ve had to lose from your life because they don’t understand why you keep pushing forward the way you do.

You’ve seen more struggle and heartache than most and you know what rejection and failure taste like. You know what hard work means and you understand that success doesn’t happen overnight. I see you using the time in the elevator to cross one more task off your list which is never-ending.

I know you’ve read dozens of books and attended workshops to better yourself. I’d even bet that you have a personal mantra or affirmation you repeat quietly under your breath when you’re stuck in traffic. You’ve grown, and some people might even accuse you of having changed. You’ve accepted that because you’re growing and changing right now as you read this.

You are someone who gets shit done. You are someone who motivates the world around you just by being you. You understand that to create change you must be the change and you revel in it. You love the taste of a setback because you comeback even stronger and that’s a goal worth pursuing in itself.

You are someone who gets shit done and not everyone understands that. We both know that is what sets you apart. You are not like everyone else and that’s an amazing gift to give the world.

So, from someone who sees you: keep that shit up.

 

I just endured seven of the longest days I’ve experienced in a year

Today was my first run in a week. And it was only 2.5k. For some this is an accomplishment, but for me, this is a hard pill to swallow. My run club is full of elite runners who challenge me to improve, but even their standards can’t compete with the one I set for myself.

I have been having issues with my right leg the last few weeks and then I came down the cold to beat all colds, so today’s run was a tough workout. So, it was a week…that’s only seven days, right? Seven days where I felt myself starting to get dizzy and fade away. It happened so quickly this time, it took me by surprise. That sounds dramatic, I know, and I’m prone to waxing poetic but today reinforced that running has become the glue that keeps my life together. Running for me is about more than exercise. It’s about survival.

I’ve battled anxiety and have fought off depression several times in my life and running has become a key part of my treatment plan. I realized that this past week is the longest I’ve gone without running in almost an entire year. And it’s been one hell of a year to say the least, (moving across the country, leaving my marriage, establishing a new normal…creating a new life.)

When my running is on track, I feel confident and strong and capable. When my running started to slip, I felt like the rest of me was melting away like something in a Dali painting. I’ve noticed my hydration goals waiver and my commitment to balanced nutrition faded into the background. I felt foggy and lost and so unlike the best version of myself. I was her only a month ago! Where the hell did she disappear to so quickly?

This is what depression and anxiety to do my life. They sneak up on me and chip away at all of the progress I’ve made. First, my confidence as a runner is shaken, then my worth as a mother and entrepreneur and friend. I find myself questioning my decisions but lacking the energy to get back on track. I know better, I really do but it’s like that logical part of my reasoning is locked in a cage and left to scream in solitude.

I know I am not alone. My work as a Worth Living Run Ambassador has taught me there is strength in sharing your story openly. When someone else takes a moment from their struggle to encourage me through mine, I’m reminded that I’ve got an army of cheerleaders behind me.  My work as podcast co-host has allowed me to connect with people who have overcome obstacles and to learn from their experiences. I know I am not alone but this challenge is all mine.

I had a Twitter friend sternly tell me to get out for a run today and I needed to take the first step. I need to recommit to drinking my water and eating my vegetables and moving my ass. I’ll recommit as many times as necessary because there’s too much inside me that needs to get out into the world for me to back down from a tough time.

I know not everyone understands why I run and some of you may even think the fact that I need it is unhealthy. I need running like I need my medication. I’ve been through this cycle enough to know what works and what doesn’t and I’m embarrassed that I slipped, but I’m putting myself out here for everyone to see so I can step out from under the shadow of shame that my mind sometimes casts.

I’m not sure why this half-marathon training journey is off to such a shaky start when my experience last time felt almost effortless. I don’t know why my body and mind are at odds with each other, but I’m going to keep moving forward. I will cross that finish line in June come hell or high water. I will do the work like my life depends on it, because it kinda does.

The Most Infuential Influencers Who’ve Ever Influenced

Well…sorta.

We’ve all seen the lists of top influencers and we know they’re all pretty subjective and this one if no different. I’ve chosen the folks on this list because of the impact I think they have on the world (my world, especially) and because I believe they’ll have an influence on yours too!

 

Melissa Kahn (www.runheiferrun.com) Melissa Kahn (1)

I have yet to meet this lady face-to-face but she’s become one of the most influential people in my life over the last 10 months. She has created a worldwide community of supportive people who encourage each other through running and life, and I’m so blessed to be co-hosting the Run For Your Life podcast with her. She’s the one I message when anxiety sets in or I’m celebrating a win and it’s amazing how connected you can become to someone through Twitter. She’s an inspiration because of her past but also because she lovingly supports those around her to reach for new heights and her sense of humour is second to none!

 

Lindsay Umlah (Loving Myself Loudly) Lindsay Umlah (1)

If you are not following this fabulous womyn on Instagram yet, what the hell are you waiting for? Sometimes we need permission from the outside world to love ourselves and this is what Lindsay is all about! She recently launched a podcast called The Momgasm Podcast which addresses sexuality after motherhood, but don’t you agree we could all use a LOT more self-love (in whatever form that takes?)

 

Emma Burgess (www.emmainflow.com) Emma Burgess

I’m not even sure exactly how I started following Emma on Facebook but her daily live videos caught my attention. Her focus is on helping women love themselves and if that ends up in her clients finding fulfilling relationships, then bonus! Every time I hear her speak I find myself having A-HA moments and even those of you already in amazing relationships with amazing men deserve to check her out and build an amazing relationship with yourself.

 

Mia Lockhart (www.girlsonboards.co)ShannonMia

Although Mia and I live in the same area, we hadn’t met until recently. She is the founder of Girls on Boards, which provides teenage girls with the opportunity to develop leadership skills and confidence through stand up paddle boarding and snowboarding excursions. I was privileged enough to work with her in producing a recent women’s snowboarding event and I witnessed first-hand the magic that happens when women build each other up. Mia fosters a safe environment for girls and women to try new things and develop a new awareness of what our bodies are beautifully capable of achieving. She’s also a yoga teacher and amazing massage therapist (my running body is grateful for her expertise!)

Jill Payne (www.jillpayne.ca)21745132_10103625072922181_944065778_o

Are you a dime? Not even sure what that means? You definitely need to check out Jill on social media and get a dose of her philosophy on living life at a 10. I attended on her energy management workshops as a birthday gift to myself two years ago and I haven’t been the same. I’m a strong believer in the fact that we all have a choice in how we show up in our lives and working with Jill has taught me that the ability to change the direction of my day is always one choice away. I get asked how I’m handling my divorce so well, and it’s without doubt because I choose to handle it so well. Jill has shown me that all I need is within me and you deserve to take one of her programs!

Mel Robbins (www.melrobbins.com)

I have yet to meet this fierce woman in person but she has replied to two of my tweets so close enough, right? It was actually Jill Payne who introduced me to the 5 Second Rule and I now have a 5-4-3-2-1 sign next to my bed as reminder to just do. Her books and online course have renewed my confidence in myself to make decisions and to be able to face any challenge sent my way. Being an entrepreneur and a soon-to-be divorced mom of two, those challenges are plentiful and often fraught with anxiety. As a lifelong anxious person (more anxious than average) the strategies Mel discusses have helped me take on public speaking, pursuing a divorce, and starting a podcast.

Dr. Jen Gunter (@DrJenGunter on Twitter)

I have never trusted Gwyneth Paltrow to be an authority on health so when I came across Dr. Gunter’s “attack” on GOOP, I was enthusiastically on board as a follower. Dr. Gunter is a gynecologist who disputes trends (vaginal steaming and inserting jade eggs into your vagina)  and she is vocal and opinionated and empowering AF! She’s made posts detailing how much vaginal discharge is normal and describing what a “normal” vagina should smell like. TMI? I don’t care because there are so many girls and women who have no idea just how normal they are because of the foolishness we’ve been spoon-fed all of our lives. Go check her out and you might learn something new about yourself.

Kathy Johnston-Isenor (www.fitnessjunkiesns.com) presentation12

The impact this amazing woman has on people reaches far beyond the walls of the facility where she holds her bootcamp classes. I met her four years ago at a boxing based bootcamp class as her energy radiated across the room and climbed into my very soul. That sounds poetically profound but once you interact with her, you’ll never be the same. I’ve seen her motivate men and women and children to reach new heights and I’ve borrowed strength from her more times that I can count. Kathy encourages us all to find our power and celebrate that strength and each International Women’s Day, I have the privilege of helping her host an event that calls on each of us to acknowledge our abilities and to own them with grace.

Eleanor Beaton (www.eleanorbeaton.com)eleanorshannon

I’ve known this fierce female since I was 15 but she reappeared in my life about 5 years ago as my business coach and helped me change my focus and start moving my business and my life in a new direction. She works to help female entrepreneurs and business leaders to take their place at the top where we belong. She showed up at one of my fitness events and showed she’s not only a force in the boardroom but on the trails as well! I am motivated to follow her example everyday and you owe it to yourself to tune in to what she’s saying in her podcast and workshops.

 

It was difficult trying to narrow down the inspiring women I follow, otherwise this post would go on for days!

I invite you to celebrate the amazing women in your life this International Women’s Day. Acknowledge them publicly and share the love for our hardworking sisters and mothers and daughters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you spreading the love?

Happy almost Valentine’s Day, readers! Today’s post is all about love. If you’ve been lucky enough to find it, you’ll know what I mean when I say it makes you feel glad to be alive and you just want to shout it from the hilltops or rooftops or whatever one does when in love. I was lucky enough to witness the love today so of course I cannot wait to tell you all about it!

I volunteered to help out with the Greenwood Multisport Club’s Splash n Dash this morning and we had a few adults and several kids(all under 12) show up to participate in the swim/run event. As a fitness event planner, I make a living off seeing people of all ages challenge themselves physically and I enjoy being able to help events like this happen. I found love at the indoor track this morning but the love I witnessed today had nothing to do with me.

The Under 9 speed demons were the last ones to run the track and as they lined up, I was assigned to recording the lap times for a lovely little athlete named Maria with a fitness centre staff, Eric. Maria made it to her sixth (of 8) lap and stopped. We cheered her on but she wasn’t moving. The other kids kept going, a few slowed down but they were all on the move. My colleague ran out to meet her and before you know it, she was walking the rest of her lap. He wrote down her lap time as they went by, but he kept moving and so did she. He stayed by her side until she had decided she could finish on her own. He didn’t know her before that race, but he refused to let her give up.

A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.

I am so grateful I witnessed that this morning because that right there is love. Love of appreciating how important pushing yourself through that tough stretch is. Love of growing sport by encouraging young athletes to experience it. Love of what you’re doing so much that you’ll coach a struggling stranger across the finish line without a second thought.

When people in love with sport spread that love like Eric did this morning, new athletes with a passion for health and fitness emerge, and isn’t that why we’re in this business to begin with? Get out there and spread the love!Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

 

 

 

The Octagon: 8 Times MMA Surprised Me

Waiting outside the doors of Casino NB on a very cold and snowy Saturday night, I felt out of my comfort zone. As the doors opened and I cleared security and made it past the door-people to the ballroom (they did NOT ask to see my ID, by the way), I felt wayyyyy out of my comfort zone. There it was at the centre of the front of the room: the focus of the event and the subject of my little adventure in challenging one of my judgements (of which we all have several, amiright?) The Octagon.

I felt like a fish out of water in that ballroom in Moncton. As you all know, I’m a runner not a fighter, and here I was about to lose my mixed martial arts virginity.  I walked in there, took my seat, feeling awkward and shy, and even prepared for a little blood. The Elite1MMA “Bitter Rivals” event didn’t disappoint and I’ll admit that I left with a newfound perspective on the sport.

If you are a dedicated reader (thanks Mom) you’ll recall that I wrote about fighting last week in my discussion on judging other sports and athletes. While the gal in the full-length leopard print faux-fur coat and all of the TapOut shirts didn’t contradict any stereotypes about fight fans, after chatting with Cory “The Warrior” Vern on the morning of fight day and watching the bouts one-after-the-other, I am reformed.

 

1. Not Every Fight Results in Bloodshed

The only time I saw blood (from where I was sitting anyway) was during the final of 8 fights.

2. Fighters Are Not All Beefcakes

I know I should be ashamed in thinking that one needs to be tall and muscle-bound to be a fighter, but then I stood next to Cory who is a bit shorter and weighs less than I do but had no issues dropping his opponent. Go figure, maybe there’s a future for me in MMA?

3. Fights Are Full of Ritual

I grew up Catholic and I felt like I was attending a sacred mass: there was carefully chosen entrance music and a processional through the room to a dais where the fighter was then de-frocked and blessed by the High Priest with the Holy Chrism of Mixed Martial Arts before ascending to the altar that is The Octagon. Silent prayers are offered up and it begins.

4. Not All Fighters Are Loud and Aggressive

Yes, I pictured fighters as loud and obnoxious meatheads, and while there was at least one fighter who matches that description at the event on Saturday, Alderic “The Coroner” Keith and Ryan “Weapon X” Goguen both graciously responded to my comments on social media and my friend, Cory, has to be one of the quietest and most gentle guys I know.

5. It’s Not About Rage

The match between Scott MacKinnon and Mike Somerville brought a smile to my face because they both had smiles on theirs. It was a great feeling to see two athletes truly enjoy their chosen sport and you could feel the camaraderie between them.

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6. It Is a Rather Quiet Sport

I don’t know why I expected to hear lots of grunting and bone crunching but I anticipated lots of noise. Each match was almost serene in a way as there were lots of quiet and still moments: I imagined the fighters to be trash-talking telepathically instead of strategizing and contemplating their next moves.

7. The Best Fighter Doesn’t Necessarily Win

The Main Event match was called a few seconds into the second round on medical advice as one of the fighters had a yucky gash on his right eyelid. The match was called in favour of the fighter whose name I won’t even mention because he doesn’t deserve it. He acted as if his strategy and strength won against his opponent and that wasn’t the case. After being declared the winner, he jumped on top of the cage and riled up the fans which I found distasteful. It would be like celebrating winning the marathon when you were the only one who ran it. In my opinion (and because this is my blog), the better athlete didn’t win the title but he showed the true spirit of the sport.

8. Fighters Aren’t That Different From Runners

I may not be able to drop someone to the ground but I learned that runners and fighters are more similar than we are different.

  • we take our pre-fight/race routine very seriously
  • we have carefully curated playlists that amp us up
  • meditation and solitude figure prominently
  • we compete as individuals where we depend on our own strengths and determination to succeed
  • we train for months leading up to the event, often enforcing strict nutritional guidelines on ourselves
  • we require better than average cardio endurance
  • we wear flashy outfits
  • we both can’t wait for competition to be over so we can enjoy a beer or two

 

I don’t think you’ll see me in a TapOut shirt anytime soon and you won’t find me ringside at every fight that comes to town, but I definitely checked my judgments of mixed martial arts when I left the casino that night. There was beauty in what each fighter (well, almost each fighter) accomplished in the cage. The dedication to training and mental toughness required to engage in battle with an opponent, reminded me that sport is an expression of life,  (I know I’m getting philosophical on ya but it’s true.) We’ve all been called upon at some point to show our true character through strength and determination in a challenging situation.

Who knows, maybe you’re not so different from fighters, either.