Growing hurts, Mom!

My 9 year old daughter, Aurelia, recently came to be with tears in her eyes complaining of sore legs. This has happened a few times in the last year and we figure it’s growing pains because she’s been outgrowing pants like crazy. When reminded of this, she said “Growing hurts, Mom!”

Ain’t that the truth, though?

 

Growth is uncomfortable. Even painful at times. But it’s necessary if you want to get where you’re going.

I’ve been working on the Keji Multisport Festival and Triathlon again this year, and I’ve been following the training of our badass group of ambassadors: women chosen to represent the event and share their training journey and event experience with the world. I hadn’t seen much from one of our athletes so I set up a lunch meeting to have a chat face-to-face.

ShannonAndShannon
I’m keeping this picture really big because it’s a great picture of us both! Shannon Seeley on the left and me on the right

I was excited when Shannon chose my favourite craft brewery for lunch (love you Schoolhouse Brewery!) and I had been connected with her on social media for ayear or so and had yet to meet, so yay for beer lunches and new friends!

We chatted about mutual friends and motherhood and ultimately how training for a triathlon is an intimidating undertaking. You don’t need to tell me that: the swimming part alone freaks me out! The world of swimming then biking then running is new to Shannon and watching some of the other ambassadors posting their training progress was discouraging to her. Keep in mind that a group of these women are NOT new to triathlons. Yet here she was falling prey to comparing her ability to theirs.

It wasn’t Shannon’s ability that was the issue at all…it was the perception that she needed to have expertise to have a story worth sharing.

Think about it for a second…how many times have to tried something new and put pressure on yourself to master it right away?

This is where growth hurts.

It hurts to feel out of your element.

It hurts to feel like the only one who doesn’t know what’s going on.

It hurts to not be performing at peak levels.

But this is where growth happens!

The folks I know who live and work in the fitness and wellness space are keen on self-improvement and on pushing their limits. We’re not content with the status quo and I honestly have a hard time understanding when someone is satisfied with the same old, day in day out. I thrive on setting new goals and reaching new heights.

We choose to embrace the discomfort that comes with growing. We wake up and go. We get finished work and decide that even though sitting in front of Netflix with a glass of wine sounds wonderful, we lace up and hit the road instead. We take on the fear of swimming and get wet anyway. WE CHOOSE TO GROW.

what we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do

Shannon, my friend, you are growing.

And because Shannon’s choosing to grow, her kids will learn from her. The community around her is growing. Her choice to embrace the pain of learning how to transition from swimming to cycling and from cycling to running is teaching other women that it’s okay to make time for yourself. It’s teaching us all that maybe even we can take on something a little (or a lot) scary.

In our conversation, Shannon mentioned how she had heard Rachel Hollis mention the importance of pushing yourself physically, and I couldn’t agree more. Those last few kilometres of every long run are the hardest, most painful, and most liberating! Every training session is a celebration of your ability. An expression of gratitude for the freedom to move. A reminder that growth hurts, but it hurts so good.

Rachel Hollis

 

 

So, when Aurelia comes to me in discomfort with growing pains, I give her a big hug and remind her that I want her to grow and part of that growth means she’ll feel uncomfortable sometimes.

Drink some water and stretch, I offer, but never stop growing. 

 

#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.  

 

 

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.