Saturday, September 25, 2010

The ride to conquer cancer...

Cancer sucks, there is no two ways about it. Anyone who has had cancer, or watched someone with cancer go through treatments will attest to this. There is really nothing fun about it. The outcome is unknown, and the process is sickening (literally). I have watched a variety of people in my life go through cancer, and have heard stories of many more. It's not a fun thing. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone.

My first real encounter with this disease was when my grandpa was diagnosed with brain cancer. I remember going to Foothills with my grandma when he was getting treatments. I remember when he lost all his hair. And I remember when he died. He was young and something he obviously didn't plan on. It was terrible. I remember (I was just a young kid at the time), wondering why it happened. Why did my grandpa have to get cancer and why did he die. It was obvious that he was trying to fight it, but the cancer was too much for him to fight.

Jeremy's dad had cancer. It was very aggressive. It was a digestive cancer. Again, here was someone who tried to fight it, but less than a year after getting sick and being diagnosed, he died. It was horrible to watch my inlaws going through this.

As I was being reaqainted with my biological dad, I learned that my uncle (my godfather), was fighting brain cancer. We went for lunch at his place, and again, there was someone trying hard to fight it, but not succeeding.

Cancer is terrible. Statistics say that in the province I live, 1 out of 2 people will hear the words "you have cancer" at some point in their lives. I have two kids. The idea that one of them might hear those words devastates me. So I want to do something about it. I want to take steps to help irradicate this terrible disease. I am not a scientist, or a doctor, but I do care, and I know I can help.

This is why I am doing the Enbridge Ride To Conquer Cancer. It's a 200km bike ride that raises money to fund valuable research that is looking to find a cure or a better treatment for those that have to face this devastating disease. Everyone knows someone that's been affected. But together, we can make a difference.

Biking is a new frontier for me. I've done lots of running races, and raised funds for all sorts of different causes, but now I am challenging myself in a new way, and raising money for something that has affected people in my life personally. I am doing this for my grandpa, my father-in-law, my uncle, and for all the others out there that have been diagnosed with cancer. Together we really can help make a difference. So, if you'd like, please, join me on the ride, and if that's not really your thing, then make a donation, it really will help make a difference. Together, we really can make a difference!! Thanks for your time. I will be updating my progress over the next few months...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Very inspiring video

So, a friend posted a link to this video last week. I loved it. I reposted it on facebook, but thought I better take the time to put it on this blog. It's about a guy who lost 120 pounds and in the process became quite the athlete. And, it's really got me thinking. What are my goals. And the goal I keep coming back to is Ironman. I really really really really really, want to do be an ironman finisher. And I'm starting to formulate a plan in my brain. I think I will volunteer next year at Ironman Canada, and then sign up for the year after. It's still just in it's infancy, but I think this is really what my goal is. I was chatting with Jeremy about it, since obviously having his support would be key, and he knows I want to do it by the time I'm forty. But he says to me, "what if you get injured, why wait until you are forty, if you do it before then, and something happens, then you still have a couple more chances". That was so awesome!! And now I really see that it might happen.

Which brings me to tonight. I went running at work with a couple of my coworkers. Keep in mind, one of these coworkers ran Boston this year, so she's fast!! The kind of fast that can pass you running up a hill pushing two kids in a stroller fast. Anyhow, she ran with me, and another girl, and tonight we kept going, and didn't even stop for a single walking break. That was a first (I've run with these ladies a few times previously, and about halfway through we usually stop). It was an awesome run!! I loved it!! We were running at a really good pace too.

At the end of the run, the Boston girl starts talking about ironman and about how she really wanted to do an ironman for her 40th (which is in 2012). Ironically, that matches exactly with the rough plan I'd laid out, and suddenly she's talking about carpooling to Penticton for Ironman Canada next year, and it was such a great conversation. Bottom line, we both have a similar goal, and although she'd likely finish hours ahead of me, we'd both still likely finish with the right amount of training etc.

And then later in the evening, another guy at work stopped by my desk and bought a cookie (which I was selling to raise money for cancer), and he's one of the few people I know who has completed Ironman. And he was talking about bike rides and charity events and it was so great to be in the company of other people who care to do something...

I think that's one of my favourite parts about races. Most of the time you are surrounded by like minded people who want to make a difference. And at those events, you see the power of putting all those like minded people together in one place and what can be accomplished... it's awe inspriring... but more on that next time...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finding motivation...

So, things are still progressing nicely. I've been dedicated to exercising, in some form or another every day, and I've been keeping track of my eating every day as well. I'm happy with the progress I've made, and want to keep making progress, but am feeling very unmotivated. I think part of my lack of motivation comes from my work life and the stress it has caused lately. I try hard not to bring my work home with me, but every now and and then I think that it brings me down.

However, I'm still keeping at it, so I must be finding the inspiration from somewhere!! Maybe it is seeing the results. I'm happy with the results I've been seeing, from shirts that fit a little bit looser, to pants that aren't so tight. And even definition in my arms and legs. How did that happen??? I mean, I know how it happened, but it sure is nice to see, and it makes me want to keep at it so I don't lose any momentum.

My next reward is lunch at my all time favourite restaurant in Banff, in the rocky mountains. It's called the bison. It's incredible. And it will be my reward for exercising so consistently. And, it will be my reward after I finsh my 10km race!! So, I'll be hungry and craving their food and it will be so fantastic... I just know it!! If you are ever in the Banff area, you have to check it out!! For now, I'm dreaming of all the incredible choices they have...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Staying the course...

Some days, it is really hard to stay motivated. So, it's important to have strategies to stay on course. Take tonight for example, at work, the guy beside me kept offering me cookies. Super nice of him, but I didn't want to add calories to my day!! And then another girl brought in three bags of chips. Seriously people, do you know how hard it is, at 2 in the morning to not eat chips and cookies?? It has taken an extreme amount of willpower to stay away from these things. So what can you do when it seems like everyone around you is trying to get you off course. How do you keep on the path you are trying to follow. Here are a few ideas:

- bring along your own snacks. If you are at a workplace with temptation all around you, bring some things that fit into your eating plan that are tasty and full of nutrition. That way, when someone walks buy with chips or cookies, you can turn them down.

-exercise. Take a walk or run or something when you get a break. Just being active and getting your heart beating reminds you of what your goal is and helps reframe your mind again so that temptations are easier to refuse.

-surround yourself with like minded people. Try and find people in a similar boat or with similar goals. Then, when there's temptation, you can band together and make a healthier choice.

-remind yourself of what your goals are. Ask yourself honestly if the temptation will help you get there faster. Does it match with the kind of life you are trying to create. If not, then pass. Short term pleasure just makes the long term goal a little longer.

-if all else fails, and you know you simply must give in to the temptation, then allow yourself a small portion. If everyone is having cake and you don't want to miss out, have half a piece, that way, you still got the treat, but kept your portions in check. Nobody is perfect and sometimes allowing yourself to have the treat in a reasonable way will prevent you from overindulging later!!

So tonight, I have been successful, I brought in snacks, I stayed away from the cookies, and instead of grabbing chips, I went and ran on my lunch, came back and had my snack I had brought in, and now, I'm just reminding myself of why I don't need the chips since they aren't going to help me get where I want to be!! So I just have to last three more hours...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

So, where are we now??

Well, it's been well over three weeks now, since I started tracking my calories on myplate at And it's definitely making a difference. In pounds, I started at 195.4 and have since gone down to 187. That's a big difference in a relatively short amount of time. Eight pounds is pretty close to two pounds a week. So, it's a healthy amount to lose at a time. And, it sure is motivating!! We have a scale that approximates how much of your body is fat vs water vs muscle and I'm now measuring around 38%. That's over 2% of body fat that is hopefully gone forever.

On the food front, I've been doing well. I still find room to have the occasional treat, but I make sure that there are calories to spare. The biggest challenge was when my parents visited. For some reason, the choices just aren't always that healthy. Jeremy did a great job though making a meal with lots of choices when we made supper, and when we went out for Chinese food, we had exercised earlier in the day to make sure we made up for any calorie surplus that might exist. We also made a point of drinking lots of tea, and tried hard not to fill our plates too full. All in all it was a success and although those might not have been our biggest days of losing, we still stayed within our net calories for the days.

As for exercise, I've really made it a point to include it in my day every day. It doesn't have to be much. A half hour here, a half hour there. But it does have to be there. And it's been quite varied. I have run, walked, biked, spun, swam, done weights and even the Jacob's ladder. I've made a point of using my lunches at work to do something. Even though there's really only half an hour of active time, it's still a half hour. Plus, by not being in the lunchroom, I am not tempted to buy foods that aren't healthy or sit and watch tv only. It really is a mindset to get out and be active and it's working. I've even run with a bunch of different people at work. So, not only am I being active, I'm encouraging others to be as well!! And maybe some of them would have gone anyways, but others have made a point of bringing their shoes etc.

So all in all, things are changing for the better. There's a little less of me now, and I'm already noticing that my pants aren't bursting at the seams anymore (thank goodness!!). So now, just have to stay motivated and keep going...

Oh, and in case you are wondering about the husband, well, Jeremy is now down 12 pounds and doing great as well. I think having him on board and working for similar results has really helped both of us stay on course working towards our goals!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Swimming etiquette?

So, I swam today. Trying to swim a bit more often, just to stay regular and get stronger in this discipline. Swimming comes fairly natural to me, for that I am grateful. I can get in the water and swim. Not much thought needs to go into it. It's nice that way. Mostly all I do is the front crawl. Boring I suppose. But, the backstroke is just annoying since I can't tell where I'm going, and the breaststroke is just too slow. Which brings me to my question...

Is there such a thing as etiquette in the water? I know at triathlon races, if you touch someone's toes, they are supposed to let you pass them at the end. But I can't ever imagine touching someone's toes at just plain public swimming. At our pool, there are only two lanes to swim in. Most of the time, it's not a big deal, but sometimes it gets a bit busy. Like today for instance. It was crazy. Funny enough, the lanes for swimming weren't too bad, at least at first. Twice, I nearly ran into someone trying to cross through the lanes. I'm guessing they don't have a clue since they went right through the swimmers to get to the deep end. So to them, I don't worry too much. Annoying however, are the pesky breaststrokers. I mean, please, it's not a very fast swimming skill. Some people are quick, but the vast majority are slow, slow slow. And since there are only two lanes, I don't understand how someone can think they are fast and choose to swim in the fast lane. Really, you might be faster than one other person, but you are slower than anyone else!! So swim where you belong!!

I managed to swim 28 laps (there and back, or 56 lengths), before it became an issue. But at that point, it was just too much. There were three people going uber slow in the fast lane. I ended up moving to the slow lane just so I could get in a couple more laps, but then I gave up. at 30 laps, I was done. I wasn't playing dodge the breaststroker, just not worth my time. So, at 1.5km of swimming, I called it, and stopped. It was a great swim, up until the last two laps. I just wish people understood why there are signs for fast and slow. I know I'm not super fast, but I am considerably faster than the leisurely breaststrokers that decided to drive me crazy!!

Oh well, there's always next time... stay tuned for an update on where I stand as far as eating, exercise and trimming down a bit...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My poster...My vision board...

I have to say, I am definitely motivated by posters. I bought a bulletin board awhile back, and kept bugging my husband to hang it up for me. I suppose I could have done it myself, but I eventually got him to do it. The first thing I put up was a poster of the month of August I had made. It had a running program written on it, but never did follow that. However, what I did do, was start working out. August was an amazing month for working out. I swam about 4 times. I biked about 5 times, I ran about 18 times, and I did weights about 3 times and also played around on the wii a bunch.

Every time I worked out, I wrote it onto the calendar. And then I highlighted it in green. The desire to have green stripes on my calendar was huge. I'm not quite sure why it was so huge, but it was. And as a result, there were enough workouts in August that I exercised every single day (well, a few days were double workouts). But, the bottom line is, I have gotten back in the groove. Was it the poster? Or the motivation to lose weight? Probably both, but I certainly am motivated by the poster!!

Next I will be putting up September. I hope that it carries the same number of stripes as August did. I think it will. This past month has been so motivating that I'm already looking ahead to courses I can take to keep on this fitness train and someday maybe help others in a similar circumstance!!

Are you thinking of putting up a poster? It will help. There's something about colouring in those stripes, or squares that just makes you feel great. Looking at August, it's a sea of green. And I earned every one of those. Last summer I created a poster based on weeks until a half marathon. And it was a colourful one. And each square that was coloured represented a workout. Life is better when you get to colour a little, so I highly recommend it!!