Real talk.

Real talk.

I’ve had a rough month.  There’s been a few hurdles thrown at me lately, and I want to share those with you, in keeping with my “this is me” philosophy of transparency and honesty.

If you’ve read this blog over the years, you’ve certainly heard me talk about my love of running.  Being a “runner” is a big part of my identity, and it’s something I’ve loved to do since I was a little girl.  As a 12-year-old, I used to get up early on Spring mornings and run down to the end of my small-town street and back before anyone else was awake.  Other times, I would ride my bike over to the school track and run laps just for the peaceful bliss that I knew it would bring.

I didn’t have the vocabulary for it back then, but I do now:

running helps to keep me feeling like me.

I tend to worry about things, and running helps me to worry less.  It helps my mind to stay calm and my energy to stay high.  I’m a happy person at my core, but running simply makes me a happier person; a runner’s high is no joke.

And I think this is the reason that February has felt like such a tough one.  I had a week of a chest cold that wouldn’t let loose, four epic snow/ice/freezing rain storms that made for very tricky conditions, and a stubborn Achilles injury that just won’t cooperate.  My mileage was really low, meaning less fresh air, less group run support, less peace in my brain.  Crossfit helps, yoga helps, workouts in my basement help, but for me, there’s just nothing quite like the run.

Bring on Spring.  Bring on blue skies and clear roads and sunshine on our faces.  Bring on movement and sweat and feel-good hormones.  Bring on friendships and smiles and goals to be chased.

We’ve got this.  Happy March!

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“Because I can.”

I checked off a bucket list item on Labour Day Monday morning.  I swam with the Triathlon Club of Burlington (TCoB), in their annual Pier to Pier swim.  This swim is 2.8km, across Lake Ontario, from the Burlington lift bridge pier to Burlington’s downtown pier.

Usually on Labour Day Monday, you can find me in my happy place, along the Lake Ontario shoreline, on a long solo run to clear my mind and get myself mentally prepped for the upcoming school year.  With a teacher husband and two school-aged children, Labour Day is like my New Year; a fresh start, new goals, big dreams.  And every year, I’ve noticed the TCoB crew climbing out of the water with big smiles and high fives, and sunshine on a glassy lake only adds to the appeal.  Always up for a challenge, I wanted in on the fun, so a little over a week ago, I signed myself up.

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2.8km looks really far from this finish-line vantage point; that red circle is the lighthouse where we jumped in.

IMG_9438My husband thought I was crazy; 2.8km and I haven’t swum a stroke in almost a decade.  In fact, I’ve never even put on a wetsuit before, and I didn’t have time to test my borrowed suit out before yesterday’s event, so it was a jump-in-and-hope-for-the-best situation.  But, I used to be a lifeguard, and a decade ago I did a handful of triathlons, including a 1.9km swim in my 2007 half-Ironman.  So while I haven’t swum in many years, I hoped my previous experience, swim technique, and fitness could carry me through.

Monday morning at 7:15am, two of my girlfriends met me at home, and the three of us trekked down to the pier.  They were rookies too, although one is a regular lap-swimmer and one had just come off a great triathlon season.   They gave me tips on getting into my wetsuit (a workout in itself!), BodyGlide advice, and how to loop my zipper string.  I was woefully underprepared, and felt like I should personally introduce myself to the kayak support boats.  Deep down though, I knew that sheer determination (stubbornness?) would get me across the water.

It did.

I finished in 58:36, just under the one-hour mark that my obsessive Google calculations of “open water swim times” told me I could do.  And while I don’t plan on adding swim training to my schedule, I truly enjoyed the experience.  I enjoyed the nerves, the challenge, the friends and family, the sunshine, the sense of accomplishment, and the gratitude that I am physically able to do things like this.

“Why would you want to do that?” someone asked me.  “Because I can.” And oh how I love a challenge.

In fact, this just may become a new tradition.

 


No joy = goes.

It’s so true that you need to fill your life with things that bring you joy.  The older I get, the more I have learned to get rid of the “filler” and fill my life as much as possible with good.  Have you read Marie Kondo’s “Spark Joy” spark joyor “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”?  life changingYou should.  And while these books speak to a way to declutter your environment, and therefore your life, what they really did for me was to make me look through the lenses of importance and priorities.

Marie Kondo recommends that if you’re decluttering, you should hold the item and see if you feel joy.  No joy?  Get rid of it.  Joy?  It stays.  You can apply this principle to life in general.  Friends.  Obligations.  Career.  Living situation.  Lifestyle.

Joy = stays.  No joy = goes.

This is a short post for you today, but as I sat on my couch to write, my mind kept wandering back to joy.  I always try to write about what’s closest to my heart in the moment, and the purpose of this blog has always been to show you who I am, so that you can get to know me.  Because if you know me better, you’ll trust me more, and it makes sense to me that better doctor/patient relationships equal better treatment outcomes.  And what’s closest to my heart right now is joy.  You see, we have a family friend who is nearing the end of her life, and I can promise you that she’s not thinking about how big her house is or how clean her floors are or what her hair looks like.  I hope that she’s thinking about the things that brought her joy through her seventy-something years of life.

So, fill it up friends.  Fill up your lives with joy, whatever that joy may look like to you  (because psssst…… joy looks different to all of us).

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