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September 19, 2014

Running after Pregnancy

So my first 5km race since I had Little Mister is this weekend, it's also the one year anniversary to when I started this crazy journey and caught the get.all.the.medals bug!



Am I nervous? Quite possibly moreso than last year, and for a few reasons.

First and foremost, I am just a couple months postpartum. That means I haven't been training for this, and really...have no idea what to expect of myself. I know I will finish, but that stupid competitive streak will rear its head and I need to remember to listen to my body.

Secondly, I know the course. Holy moly is it hilly! We ran it in the pouring rain last year, and I have everything crossed that rain stays out of our way this year.

And finally, my poor husband will have toddlers and babies in tow. He was such a champ last year pulling a wagon with two 3 year olds in it, while watching a 10 and 5 year old, and making sure the 13 year old was within reach with the 1 year old. Whew! Add a 2 month old into that?! Ack! Thankfully, we have more help this year!

I signed up for this event all the way back in January when I was 4 months pregnant. I knew that it would be a challenge, but one that I was excited for and one that I wold welcome with open arms.

Now, I'm a ball of nerves!

But all I can do is try, right?
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September 18, 2014

Badass Dash Kitchener 2014

This past weekend, on our sixth wedding anniversary, my husband and I competed in our first ever (and possibly last!) adventure race called Badass Dash.

Badass is a term that I use with the deepest amount of affection, so when I saw that there was a race that would provide me with a new shiny medal that confirmed my badassness...I so wanted to be there!

The event was on September 13th...our wedding anniversary, and after losing a combined 120lbs and completely changing our lives, I suggested that we do the event to celebrate how far we've come. 6 years ago, there would be absolutely no way we would have been able to compete in Badass Dash and make it out with only a bump and bruise. But that was 6 years ago...we are totally different people now, and have lost as much weight as one adult person!

Folks...there is absolutely no amount of training that can prepare you for this. 7km and 40 obstacles.

FORTY

The dash started with a run up a Black Diamond ski hill (120' elevation) at Chicopee in Kitchener, Ontario, then a trail run through the woods and a few obstacles. I won't detail all of the obstacles, but there are a few that stand out in my bruised and battered mind.

Crazy Cargo Climb - this was the first real obstacle that I looked at, standing at the bottom, and felt so small. But...It was just a cargo net to climb, a transport truck to go over and another cargo net to go down. I did it with encouragement from my husband, but not with his hands on help, so that made me pretty proud.

Feared Float - essentially, floating square pontoons that you had to try and walk/run/scoot across. I went with the walk/run method and made it about a 1/3 of the way before it tipped and I went into the muddy water. That was my first panic attack as you couldn't see a darned thing, and were getting kicked by the people in front of you (and subsequently kicking the people behind you as you tried to find the rope and pull yourself to shore.

Container Climb - I will not lie, I had a full out panic attack on this one. It was three storage containers high...climb up (using the hay bales) go across the top, then climb down. I got to the top container and then stopped dead in my tracks. There were no guard rails. It was straight down to pavement if I stepped the wrong way. I was definitely holding up the line, which made the panic worse, but with everyone encouragement, the helpful hands of the volunteer watchperson and my Husband, I did it. I crawled across the top, then back down the other side and jumped...and fell! Ha! But I did it!

Claustrophobic Crawl - It is exactly what it sounds like...large PVC tubes covered with sand or tarps that you have to shimmy and pull yourself through for about 50'. This was one of the obstacles that I saw on the website and told my husband I was darn unsure about. We went through tubes side by side, and Colin finished first so kept encouraging me and telling me I could do it. Hearing his voice definitely helped, but holy moly....tight squeeze! Not made for hips that spread recently from having a baby!

Australian Backcrawl - Emerging from the second trail run to a muddy hill with a tarp at the top third, covered by a cargo net that you are to scale...on your back...to say that was intimidating to see is a complete understatement. The obstacle was about 60ft in length and at a 65degree angle. We climbed the hill and I stopped. My heart was racing, and I looked over at the other side, probably 50ft away, to where my husband was about to get under the net and I shook my head no. He smiled and told me it was ok if I needed to skip it. I held the net for a few people, helping them get their feet anchored so that they could get going, and I saw a woman who we started the race with. She was competing by herself, so I got her situated and anchored and she said "come on, we can do this." She was right...and I did. My husband told me later that when he got to the top he was kind of freaking out because he couldn't see where I had gone and assumed that I would be waiting at the top. Then he saw me in the net and began cheering me on.

Stupendous Slip-n-Slide - Another Black Diamond hill, this time going down...on a gigantic muddy and wet slide. We started together, even holding hands, and then all of a sudden it was like I was shot out of a cannon and I went flying. It was exciting...until I saw the rocks at the bottom...and the mud...and that there was nothing soft to crash into. Well....grin and bear it right? I somehow missed going over the rocks, flew a good 30' past the end of the slide and spun out, only to see Colin barreling down on me and we crashed. I think I screamed, and I know I (stupidly) put my foot out to stop him. Then we laughed and tried to help each other up when we saw that the secret photographer had come out of his hiding spot, in his camouflage, to take pictures of us. I keep refreshing the Badass Dash facebook page to see if our photos made the cut!

Then, it was just an army crawl under a chain link fence which resulted in bruises on my hip/pelvic bones, an over/under through the sand, back up a rocky trail to the top of the Black Diamond hill, then run back down it. Oh...and climb a sedan-van-bus-van-sedan at the bottom!



We crossed the finish line hand in hand, both beaming with pride at what we had just accomplished.

Then he turned to me and said Next year, I get to plan our anniversary. And it will be full of pampering and a nice dinner.



Deal!

Afterward, we celebrated over some appetizers at a local restaurant, after I recognized that my body was going into shock. The type of shock where you shake all over and start heaving. Not fun...but the medal on my neck stayed there for the rest of the day, and it certainly could have been worse.

My heart goes out to those who were badly injured, taken off the course with broken limbs and on stretchers, especially the gentleman we saw in crisis having CPR administered. It was scary to see, and I cannot imagine how his family felt. I pray that he is okay!

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Dealing with Rejection #coaching #confidence

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Rejection. It's a feeling that noone ever ever ever wants to feel, but one that we feel frequently, unfortunately.

So, how do we deal with the feeling that we've been rejected? How do we deal with it when we feel disappointed in ourselves or when someone doesn't come through for us?

As the quote above suggests, look at rejection as an opportunity. Now is your chance to grow, to follow your heart and realize that you likely weren't meant to link up with that person, or provide that service, or create that product. Open yourself up to the new possibility that is there when the door filled with rejection closes.

Take romantic relationships, for example. Had I stayed with the football jock in highschool, I would have sacrificed things about myself that would have made me very unhappy. I would never have met my husband, or been blessed with my boys. Rejection? In the moment, sure...it certainly felt that way. Now? I look back and see that it was redirection. I was being pushed to something so much more awesome than I ever could have imagined.

The next time you feel rejected, take pause. Consider what is around the corner, the possibility of something new, of something (or someone) that you haven't even met yet.
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September 17, 2014

Learn to Meditate #meditation #mentalhealth

I've written about Meditation Oasis before here on the blog, but wanted to give a seasonal reminder that mental health is important. Taking time to meditate every day, especially when you are stressed or feel overwhelmed, but I often get asked how do you meditate?

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While you will find what works for you, here is what I do.

When I get ready for bed, I turn off all noise. No TV, white sound machine, fan...nothing. Open the window for some fresh air, and turn the lights off.

Then, I snuggle down in bed and put my sleep mask on. I find that it almost give me a layer of protection from the outside light and noise when I am meditating. Once I am comfortable, and covered with warm blankets (I find that meditating makes my body feel cold), I put my earbuds in and close my eyes.

Why ear buds? Why night time?

Well, ear buds because it helps me focus. I'm ok with thoughts swirling in my head, but not ok with outside noise which I find really distracting. Again, it's like a physical barrier between me and the outside.

Night time because, in all honesty, this is the only time that I have 100% to myself. In those 8-25minutes of a meditation, it is completely my time. I also find that meditating at night allows me to sleep more soundly, and lets my brain regroup overnight, making for a more productive and positive day upon waking up.

My number one tip on how to meditate would have to be to do it when you are able to be completely alone. Small children often don't understand that it's a time for quiet, and I find that there are more distractions during the daytime. Even something as simple as sunshine can be a distraction to your meditative process!

Try it! You just might like it!
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September 16, 2014

Apple Almond Oatmeal Cookie #recipe

Oh hey there! Happy cookie recipe day!

Have you been out to the apple orchard yet? Well, here's a super yummy recipe to use up some of those apples.


Preheat your oven to 350F

1.5 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup golden brown sugar
1 cup quick oats
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup fresh applesauce
1 egg
splash of vanilla
dash of cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup roasted sliced or slivered almonds
1/4 cup chopped apple



Mix your dry ingredients, then add your melted butter, apple sauce, egg and vanilla. If you find that the batter is too wet, sprinkle in more oats as needed. Add in your cinnamon, chopped apple and almonds and mix just to combine. Be sure not to over mix here or your cookies will become gummy.

Bake for 11-12 minutes, until golden brown and your house smells like apple pie.

Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack.

I love to have these cookies out for guests, and they make great wholesome snacks for little ones!
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