#dontfighttheawesome

Sometimes you need to turn things around and try something different, so today I checked out 360fit in Dartmouth. I’ve been pretty focused on my running and have been neglecting strength training, which motivated me to book a session with my friend Coach Laura Albert and have her introduce me to the basics of lifting.

women-lift-weight-training-do-you-evenWhen I say I’ve neglected strength training, I mean I haven’t done much more than an occasional bicep curl in the last 8 months. I’m a tad embarrassed but I’m owning up to it and acknowledging that I need strength to be fit and to be a better runner so here goes…

After a warm-up on the rower and some girl talk (I haven’t seen Laura in two years so we had some catching up to do) we got started with the squat, then the bench press and finished off with the basics of the deadlift. Now, just because I studied kinesiology and have my personal trainer certification doesn’t mean I’m confident enough to consider myself an expert in strength training. It’s better to ask for help and get it right, than to try to figure it out on your own and get it wrong.

I pride myself on having good posture and knowing how to hinge at the hip properly, so it was reassuring to know I wasn’t getting everything about lifting wrong.  I’m a good breather, and while that sounds ridiculous to many, proper breathing during strength training is as important as it is during running or yoga. Laura observed my biomechanics from every angle (well, it’s not called 360fit for nothin’) and with some minor fixes and spot-on cuing, I felt a significant difference from any other strength training session I’ve had in the past. (I learned that my foot position and placement on the floor during the squat was all wrong and no one had ever taught me to press my legs/feet into the floor when doing a bench press!)

As a runner with a lazy ass, glute activation is a big deal for me and engaging the core (did you read my last post about my upcoming surgery?) is critical. It’s going to take a little practice to get my lats and core and glutes to work together without consciously whispering that little checklist to myself (tripod feet, set my lats, brace my core, hinge at hips…).

We focused on three exercises in our hour session, and it was time well spent. Working with Laura helped reduce the intimidation factor of going to my local gym and lifting by myself. Yes, I get intimidated! Plop me on the treadmill and I’ll kick its ass, but plunk me in front of some weights and I’m praying no buff dude focused on making gains or getting swole watches what I’m doing in the mirror!

I feel ready to get my lift on at the gym next non-run day and today was a good reminder that sometimes, even a trainer needs to be trained. Heck, even Laura admitted that she takes video of her own lifts so she can analyse her technique. I’m not as strong as I want to be, but I took the first step to getting there.

lauraselfieThank you to Coach Laura and the awesome staff at 360 Fit High Intensity Fitness in Dartmouth for the great morning! #dontfighttheawesome

 

If you own a uterus or know someone who does…read on.

My runs this week have been governed by my uterus. That little internal nest has been the focus of the last 4 days and inspired this post (obviously).

I don’t think I was aware I even had a uterus until Grade 4 when I read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. While it remained silent for a few years after that, the weight of what my uterus held in store for me sat at the back of my mind. Once I had my first period (like why in the hell did I ever want that day to arrive?) I knew I was locked into a decades-long dysfunctional relationship.

Why the hell am I writing about this? What does it have to do with fitness and wellness? Well…as far as I’m aware all (except in rare cases) women have a uterus and all men know at least one person who have a uterus. I find there is so much mystery and silence surrounding gyno matters and I need to be able to talk about things openly to process them. If you run a gym or train clients or are a healthcare provider, chances are you will encounter a human being in possession of a uterus so get used to it.

uterus

My body has let me down again and I’m facing a hysterectomy in the near future and I’m going to need some support and encouragement. My uterus let me down in 2012 when I had a missed miscarriage at 11 weeks and I discovered how miscarriage is shrouded in secrecy and silence. I had to go searching for support so I’m using this platform to open the discussion or at least enhance understanding of what some women are experiencing.

Over the last year, I noticed bleeding after intense activity and my family doctor informed me I had a friable (Merriam Webster defines it as “easily crumbled or pulverized”) cervix. An ultrasound showed nothing. My pap test was clear. A colposcopy with biopsies and swabs came back clear. So what the eff is going on?

Well, your guess is as good as mine, but my miscarriage taught me that there’s not always an answer to “why?” So, my body is betraying me again and I have to plot my course through this bitch of a stormy sea. The biggest concern aside from the potential of a future prolapse (look it up, dudes…and ladies: do your Kegels STAT!) is how am I going to cope with the 4-6 NO RUN recovery period?

That’s right…I’m about to have my cervix and uterus removed and I’m wondering about my running! I’m on a training schedule which has me run Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays and this week has been all screwed up! Monday’s run was cancelled (my gynecologist surprised me with a uterine biopsy) so I ran on Tuesday instead which was a mistake. I felt like I had been kicked in the vagina, and kicked hard. I skipped Wednesday and am feeling like I’m myself again today (Thursday) after making it through a 5k without discomfort.

I am my best self when I’m running. It may not be fitness for everyone, but we all have something that makes us feel like a better version of ourselves and when that’s interrupted or restricted, it can seriously mess with your mojo. I have heard trainers and coaches say to take an ibuprofen and push through it, but after feeling that uncomfortable heaviness and ache for the last few days, I know I can’t push through my post-surgical recovery. So how the hell am I going to cope?

myfacewhen

This is where I’m at folks.

I made the mistake of Googling “hysterectomy” and just freaked myself out with potential complications and the actual how of removing my inner goods so I ‘m choosing to focus on strengthening myself mentally and emotionally. I don’t even have a date for my surgery yet (don’t even get me started on the current state of our health care system), but I know myself well enough to know I’m gonna have more difficulty coping with not being able to run the roads than with any physical pain.

IDGAF if some troll thinks this is TMI, you’re all gonna hear about all of it over the coming months…join me as I get ready to lose the organs that have allowed me to bring life into this world and as I get ready not to lose my mind doing so.

 

 

 

Finding Love on the Internet

I’ll spare you the details of my adventures in online dating as a 41 year old soon-to-be-divorced mompreneur, but I am finding love on the internet.

I love Facebook memories because they free up space in my brain and remind me of special anniversaries, like the one where I connected with my podcast co-host Melissa. I followed her Run, Heifer, Run accounts for ages when she reached out to me about our similar marital woes and it was love at first DM. In the past 12 months, Mel and I have shared our stories of hurt and healing, of anxiety and accomplishment, and we’ve managed to publish 32 episodes of our podcast, Run For Your Life. She reached out to me when I felt alone and judged. She keeps me moving forward, reminding me that there’s peace in every step we take towards a better life.

She was meant to enter my life and because of our friendship, I’ve been lucky enough to keep the love growing: I receive regular check-ins from her lovely fiance, who is one of my biggest fans. I’ve found support and encouragement in corners of Kentucky, the streets of Ohio, the forests of Vancouver Island, the and even as far away as New Zealand.

Yes, I know having local friends is important, and I have those folks, too, but the love I’ve found on the interwebs via Twitter and Instagram and Facebook is more satisfying than any date I’ve been on recently.

I have a support system I can go to when I need feedback on my running, my business, parenting, dating, and coping with anxiety. I have people in my life whose social media updates remind me that life is worth living and trails are worth running.

As an entrepreneur (and single mom) it can get lonely sometimes, yet having this global network of kind souls who let me be honest and real has been a true gift. I feel like my life and my business are moving forward with direction. Each interaction lifts me higher and propels me further and is growing proof that you can find true love online.