May 31, 2015

Two-fer Weekend: 5k on Saturday & 5k on Sunday

This was a busy weekend!

Saturday morning I ran a 5km race with 4 of my best girlfriends (wish you were there with us Angie!)

Karen & Cindy (first 5km race for both of them!), Corinne, Shauna and me!

This was the very first race I ran last year. This year was no personal best time, but I had fun (and I was faster than my time last year, so that kinda counts).

I kinda love the day-glo yellow shirts... they were ideal on an overcast morning!

Some of the girls from my Crossfit boot camp did the run as well! (for info on Crossfit training in East Hants, NS check out Core to Extremity Fitness!)

Me, Emily (it was her first 5km race!), Kristi and Jennifer

I'm so proud of all of us! We train and complain (okay, *I* complain) together but we are all working on bettering ourselves and our health so every achievement should be celebrated!

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Then Sunday morning I participated in an event called the IWK 5km Run in Memory of Jessica which is a fundraiser event where the monies raised goes toward the local children's hospital and helps babies and children in critical care.

This weekend, the annual fundraising telethon for the hospital took place and it was a banner year! I'm so glad I got to be a part of it! This year, the run raised $38,675 which formed part of the $6,270,346.07 total raised for 2015!!!

My cheering section was there to support me this morning... best mom ever!

The start of the race! I actually had a new personal achievement this morning even if it wasn't a personal best time overall. This morning I ran consistently without walking for a full half hour, one of these days I will finish the full 5k race in that half hour!

Seeing that finish line is such a motivator! I ended up running with a former coworker for a while near the end and when I said I saw my mom at the finish line she said "sprint for the finish!" and I took off! I'm so glad she was there to give me that final push. The picture my mom got of me in a sprint is one of my favourites...

Fully airborne!
Two weekends ago, I managed to give both ankles a lateral sprain and the left one is recovering quicker but both are pretty sore. When I finished running this morning I sat down and took my right shoe and sock off to asses the soreness... at which point a St. John Ambulance volunteer came over to check on me. She kindly scolded me for running and told me to go home and ice my ankles... I've been re-freezing some peas this afternoon :P

Mmmm peas...
I don't have a lot on the go this week, so I plan to rest the ankles as much as possible!

No pain, no gain right?!


May 28, 2015

Dear Cancer: EFF YOU

I have been looking forward to making this post...

A month ago today, my mother underwent surgery to have invasive ductal carcinoma (breast cancer) removed.

From the moment she found out a breast biopsy came back positive for cancer, we met an incredible collection of doctors, nurses and other professionals who are incredibly supportive and wonderful in dealing with the care and treatment of a breast cancer patient.

A mere week after meeting her surgeon at the incredible IWK Health Centre, mom had surgery to remove a tumour and some lymph nodes.Today we went back for the follow-up. I was there as her support system just in case (God forbid) the news wasn't what we were hoping for. But today we received good GREAT news... the surgery removed all the cancer. WOO-FREAKING-HOO!!!!

My family is blessed to have such a genuine, caring, compassionate group of people in our lives. My own circle of friends have been such a bolster when I needed to share, and I am grateful for each and every kind word and hug that has been offered. Thank you.

And the friends in my mother's life are bar-none the best, and I am personally thankful for each and every one of them. From calling or dropping by to sit with her and talking about her current situation, to bringing her flowers/food/visits after her surgery, she has been surrounded by such love. The heartfelt outpouring of goodwill makes my heart swell. Thank you so, so much.

My mom's road to recovery is ongoing, and an upcoming appointment with a radiation oncologist will determine her future treatments, but I have two cousins who work as radiation therapists in the hospital where mom will be receiving treatment and I am confident she will be in incredibly good hands.

Me and my mom Valerie - Mother's Day 2015

Nine days from now, my mom and I are participating in the Sole Sisters Women's Race, and this year we will have such reason to celebrate!

And as always... make sure you take the time to check your own breasts for any changes or abnormalities and if you should find something concerning, talk to your doctor!

May 2, 2015

One foot in front of another

This morning I ran my first timed race of the year. It was the Benny Bulldog 5k that supports a racing group called Girls Gone Gazelle. The race took place at a park in my hometown, and while the trails were mostly in good shape, they had to re-route to avoid some snow on the trail. Snow. It's May 2nd. Snow on the trail at this point in the spring makes me want to weep.

But back to today's run. It was not my best. It was not my worst, but it was dang close. My feet hurt and my calves hurt. Basically my body reminded me that I need to dedicate more time to training! BUT, I earned my medal and it now hangs with all my others.

At the end of it all, I had fun... and isn't that really what matters?

April 26, 2015

Making the Cut: Donating my Hair

About a year ago, I decided that my long/healthy/uncoloured hair would be destined for donation to make a wig for someone who needed it this spring. So I let it grow. I conditioned it. I combed it gently.

A few weeks ago, I booked my appointment for the big cut.

Then last week, a cancer diagnosis that hit far too close to home solidified my resolve. I was donating my hair so that someone's mother/sister/daughter/friend could have the chance to feel beautiful.

And yesterday, the big cut happened! I'm loving my new short locks!

If you think you might be interested in donating your hair, please check out the Pantene Beautiful Lengths donation requirements, and get growing!

Before... such long hair! It measured to be about 3 inches above my waist. I'm sure I will miss it, but I am so pleased with cutting it and giving it for donation!

The hair all sectioned into ponytails, all set to cut! Once the hairdresser had it sectioned, she made sure I was ready for the big change :) Then they were gone!

My new short haircut! I keep reaching back to move my hair out of the way (because it seemed it was always in the way for some reason) but there's nothing there! Phantom hair!

I've been asked if I'm planning on putting colour in it now, and I think I will, but one new thing at a time. For years I had my hair coloured blonde, and I really liked it blonde (my mom particularly liked it blonde) so I may go that route again with highlights. For now though, I'll just adjust to my lack of ponytails and braids!

Hair cut happened at Life Salon Spa in Dartmouth Crossing by the talented Kelly Scallion.

Donation made to Pantene Beautiful Lengths in Canada

And please, please PLEASE check yourself for any changes in your breast health, and if you do happen to discover something unusual, go see your doctor. And do NOT avoid getting a mammogram because you've heard they are horrific. Yes, it's uncomfortable but it's over with quickly and isn't your health and your life worth it?

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation has lots of info on how you can support your community.

April 19, 2015

I am a Runner because I Run

Super cute necklace from Etsy
A little over a year ago, an awesome friend convinced me to try running with her, despite my misgivings and repeated whining of "I don't run". And I enjoyed myself. It was challenging and sweaty, but I felt accomplished.

So I kept running. I signed up for my first race with my friend. The night before we ran, she texted me and said she was fighting a nasty cold and since she was flying to Europe for vacation the day after the scheduled run, she was going to put her health in first place and bow out of the run. So there I was by myself with no encouraging voice beside me, a little bit terrified but also encouraged. Some people just looked "fast". But there were ordinary looking folk too. People stretching, laughing, and checking watches.

I figured once the signal went to start, I'd leap around the race route like a fawn in the woods and follow the pack till it was all over with. My mantra was "someone's gotta come in last". But it wasn't as bad as I'd feared. I didn't come in last, and my finish time was respectable for a newbie. I've since done a few other timed races, always hoping to beat my own personal best time. Uplifted when I do, bummed when I don't. Some runs feel easy, while others are a struggle from start to finish.

I read this great piece tonight, and it seemed like something I needed to share to remind myself that I so long as I do my best given my capabilities and how I've trained, I should feel accomplished. I'm not fast. I'm not elite. But I put my feet to the pavement and go. I am a runner because I run.

March 15, 2015

Make-ahead Breakfast Bowls

I stopped eating cold cereal on a regular basis about a year and a half ago. I have discovered that taking the time in a work morning to make a more robust, warm breakfast made it easier to feel fuller and satisfied. And really, a proper meal is almost always a good thing.

But there are some many mornings where I end up wrapping up my typical breakfast sandwich (egg, sliced cheddar and spinach on flat-bread type bun) and taking it with me for the trip in to work - eating in the passenger seat, not driving! But was there a way to make the mornings just that much easier? Sure, why not?

Make ahead breakfast bowls are an easy way to eat a healthy warm breakfast while on a tight morning timeline!

Each bowl contains about 1 cup of seasoned and pan-fried frozen hash browns, one scrambled egg, some broccoli florets, finely shredded cheddar cheese and one slice of (sadly overcooked) bacon. A couple teaspoons of chia seeds sprinkled over each serving will complete the bowls.

The three in the clear glass blows will be put into the fridge for breakfasts this week (the other two work days I'll likely have oatmeal, or my old standby the breakfast sandwich). The two in the white bowls will be frozen for future breakfasts.

Do you enjoy a skillet type breakfast, a hearty oatmeal, or are you still dedicated to your cold cereal?


March 19, 2014

Overdue update aka. Dude, do you even blog?

I think about writing blog posts all the time. I make something in the kitchen and thing “ahh I should totally share this recipe”. Or I share something and someone asks for the recipe and I think “I should put that on my blog”. Only it never happens. I start drafting what I want to write in my head, and sometimes I even make notes, but that is as far as it goes. Why? No reason really, other than life getting in the way which is my reality, but a terrible excuse.

So what’s new? Well, we moved! We had said we’d be in the old house for 5 years and then move on, but we were there 7 years since we liked the place. We left a nice little semi-detached house on teeny lot on a quiet cul-de-sac in a nice suburban neighbourhood and moved into the dream home, a three-dormer Cape Cod on a little over an acre in a very quiet rural subdivision in a small town on the outskirts of our municipality. Some people have been critical that we are two people (and dog and cat) moving into a larger home, and what could we possibly want all that room for. Well, we love this home and every day we love it a little bit more. The naysayers and negative people are not welcome… we are responsible adults who made a grown-up choice, and we are happy with it.

Home Sweet Home!

We moved in just before the beginning of winter (such a long, cold winter this year!) so we’ve enjoyed the tractor with snowblower for moving the snow and the animals have enjoyed exploring the yard as well as the visiting wildlife. So far we’ve seen lots of songbirds, a pheasant and as of last weekend a family of deer!

We live closer to some great friends and have taken advantage of this and we get together regularly for dinner at each other’s houses. One of the couples hunt and this winter I have had venison shanks and rabbit confit. Both were delicious, and it’s nice trying new things… especially with a bottle of wine (or three!).

Venison shanks!

He-of-the-good-ideas joined our local volunteer fire department and absolutely loves being a part of it. He responds to every call that comes through his pager when we are home and has helped out around the fire hall when something needs to be done. I am very proud of him! He came home from the weekly meeting at the hall last night with a department uniform (my hubby in a uniform? Mee-ow!). It needs to be laundered and he said something about ironing… I hope the laundry fairy is going to do it for him!

My volunteer firefighter <3 

Back in January I had sort of a personal awakening regarding my health and have been making some lifestyle changes. Basically I am trying eat as “clean” as possible (but I’m not perfect by any means) and increased my activity level tenfold. I take a Zumba class (love!) an Aqua Zumba class (love!), and I am taking in some yoga classes both at a gym in my new town plus some classes in my favourite studio in my old town. I started P90X3 but since I am involved in other stuff I am not doing it every single day. I also signed myself up for a 5km women’s road race in June. The last time I tried to be a runner it was a miserable experience that always resulted in very sore knees and I always felt more exhausted than exhilarated. Turns out trying to keep up with seasoned runners and not starting at a pace for a beginner is bad. And discouraging. This time I am actually training for something specific and while I know I can’t run the whole time, I will be out there with my sneakers on, giving it my best shot! Bonus points for having an awesome runner friend who is encouraging and helpful and a huge inspiration.

I am planning on putting in a vegetable garden this spring, so keep watch for sprouting plants and hopefully a bountiful harvest!

Tomorrow is the first day of spring, and even though sub-zero temps and snow are in the forecast, I am hopeful to be outside in just my shirtsleeves before too long!

Winter`s been fun, but how about some spring weather