Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Discovery

I've been practicing yoga on and off now for about 7 years. And when I say 'on and off' I basically mean once a week at a gym during those times when I HAD a gym membership and as well as the occasional at home attempt which usually led to me asleep on the floor (according to D).

And so, when I discovered there was yoga at D's school and that it was FIVE CANADIAN DOLLARS a class, I decided it was well worth my time and money to sign up.

The best part was that rate also included a drop in rate. So, literally I would buy up a bunch of tokens to use at my leisure and not feel tied into going every week at a certain time. Because guess what? They're even MORE flexible - the classes are on 3 different days during the week, at different times. And lets face it, it's a FIVE MINUTE walk from my house.

I expected to stretch my muscles out a bit, help build some strength for my half marathon (support me here!!) and just generally have an excuse to get out of the house.

What I didn't expect was the healing of a very tiny body part that has been ailing me for over 3 years now.



Some of you may remember that I broke my foot while living in Korea. If you don't remember, it's probably because it wasn't even a cool story, although I should have just made something up but there were too many English speaking witnesses to blow that out of the water.

And since that break, I would say my foot was mediocre at best. Certainly over the course of 3 years it managed to heal somewhat - I DID run a half marathon on it so obviously it wasn't THAT out of sorts. But there was always something just not right. Just not exactly .. well .. healed.

Whenever I would exercise, it would always just ache a little bit afterwards, especially if I hadn't exercised in awhile. It was almost like the muscles would forget how to work. 

And it wasn't just my foot that was suffering. During the peak of my training, I was icing my knee every day. And just the ONE knee, the one that clearly was somehow compensating for that niggling little metatarsal that just didn't want to fully get back to normal.

So, I knew something with my foot had to be fixed. And I went to reflexology, massage therapists even just asked my doctor what the heck to do. Nothing seemed to really work.

Until one day in yoga. The teacher - who is amazingly focused and meticulously observant - looked down at my right foot as we were preparing our mountain pose and asked me to adjust it, ever so slightly INWARDS.

It was literally a quarter of an inch. A shift so tiny, I would not have seen it. And in an instant my mind was blown. Suddenly, my foot felt hot and tingly, like there were 100 different parts that had not been used in ..well..over 3 years. 

I just stared out for the rest of class in amazement at the sensation in my right foot. It was like a good morning stretch, an awakening of an asleep limb even the ache of a tired muscle. But I could at least FEEL it. And for the first time in over 3 years, I really felt the achy foot was finally going to be a thing of the past.

I excitedly told the yoga teacher that she, in an instant, had literally changed my life. And, as she backed away slowly, she cautioned me to 'be patient with that muscle'. Be patient with myself.

And so, over the course of about 3 weeks, I have seen a dramatic change. I started just standing on my right foot, engaging all those muscles that had been discovered again. I could feel it getting stronger, just the way you do with weight training a particular muscle. I just knew THIS was going to finally be the change that would make the difference.

I can now run without icing my knee. I can now wiggle my toes and feel the same flexibility as I do in my left foot. I can walk over the course of a full day and not feel the tired ache and pain in what D had begun to refer to as my 'old lady foot'. 

I am a new person with this foot. 

And I learned, once again, it's never to late to change the situation, to make it different, to find a way to just ever so slightly shift perspective.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Whadabaoucha?

In honour of St. Patrick's Day, I thought I would walk myself down memory lane from the first time we spent the holiday in Europe.We were living in Leeds and took off for a long weekend, not to Dublin, but to Belfast.

We had no idea that the 4 days we spent there would inspire us to want to move there.

Regardless of the political and religious undertones of the holiday and the city we spent it in, it became more for us our next beginning.

We stayed in a youth hostel right near the city centre area. We even got our own beds:

We were taken up the coast by my lovely cousins:


Saw beautiful scenery

Including the Giant's Causeway
Found a cute little pub (that quite quickly became on of our locals after we arrived)
Joined the crowds outside city hall
And of course, waved an Irish flag

And in all of this, somewhere amongst the revelry and finding of old relatives, we decided this would be a great place to continue our adventure abroad.

In the years that followed, I spent many a St. Paddy's day NOT working and drinking with friends at pubs, a bit  more lowkey then our first year in Belfast but all the same, just as social.

And so today, D and I will attempt to find a few folks who would like to be social with us today over a couple of of pints of Guinness. Hoping that conversation and great craic will be had.

Happy Happy to all.

Monday, March 15, 2010

What I'm learning the second time around

Training for a half marathon? Challenging.

Training for your SECOND half marathon? Harder then you thought.

I can't deny it - some strange section of my brain was taking for granted the fact that since I had already run a half marathon, the training for the SECOND half marathon was going to be a breeze.

Needless to say, I've been humbled - er well that part of my brain that was being so cocky has been humbled.

And even saying it or writing it down makes it so so obviously true that I'm wondering how that part of my brain actually got control of my thoughts anyway - how were all the other smarter brain cells not strong enough to overpower them? What? Too much red wine you say? Ok well when you put it like that...

Regardless, I'm all caught up now - yes, it IS actually just as hard, if not harder to 'get back on the horse' so to speak and go out there and train for something.

After a dismal 14km 2 weeks ago, I was a bit nervous about the 16km this past Saturday. But this, people, is clearly what my the smug part of my brain needed - a little reminder that IF THIS WAS EASY people would be running half marathons to work.

And as I was treking along this Saturday - with bit more focus, a little more fear and a lot more hydration - my thoughts suddenly went out to people who do sporty things for a living - or even not a living, but lets say ohh I dunno THOSE OLYMPIANS WHO WERE JUST IN TOWN.

I couldn't imagine training your whole life to attend your first Olympics. The rush, the buzz, the exhilaration of being there. All of these potentially in the back of your mind when you go there the first time.

The second? Well, you're expected to perform. And think about the language we used when we talk about the Olympians that have already won medals in previous competitions when they appear to be fading a bit the second time around, what's happened to them?, what's wrong with them?, they appear to be blowing it big time.

I am in no way shape or form comparing my amazing 'athletic prowess' (insert guffaw here) to an Olympian. I get the massive gap between their skill and my skill.

It's simply that I've been given a little insight into how much more difficult it is to try and do something the second time, especially if you have little portions of your brain that need a swift kick off some sort of neuro-pedestal.

My training is back on track, thanks to some proper preparation on Friday for a Saturday run. And I don't know that I'll be taking for granted the fact that I'm working towards doing something a second time.

Actually, the opposite. I feel that crossing the finish line for this half will be just as rewarding as the first. And, that's something I wasn't sure I'd get to feel again. So hey, sometimes the hardest lessons to learn come with the best rewards.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Fantabulous Flashback Fridays

I'm not sure I'm going to run out and patent that but I am going to get myself writing here a bit more regularly.

Good friends of mine are headed off on a 3 month trek around Asia and combine that with D's desire for me to GO THROUGH THAT SCRAPBOOKING BOX that I have forced him to move around the world and you get me wanting to write about travel again.

Since I'm not currently in a position to GO travelling, I thought I would venture back in time, piece by piece, through some of the stories - good and bad - that have happened to the two of us along the way.

And in the process, I might actually get to DOING something with all of those momentos that doesn't involve resealing them in ziplock baggies.

Stay tuned .... 

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Fresh Space = Fresh Start

After being happily swallowed up by the Olympics over the past 2 weeks, I'm getting myself back to normal here in our new home.

There had been some anticipation and 'wait until after the Olympics' type actions here since we arrived in January. Now that we've lived through that spectacular chapter, it's time to get down to the business of really digging into some of the things I've been wanting to do for a couple of years now.

Running


I've commited myself to another half marathon here in Vancouver at the beginning of May. I'm hoping for a personal best and am continuing to raise funds for a great cause - you can read more about it here:

http://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPages/GivingPage.aspx?gpID=6777

The weather has helped with my training immensely - as have the yoga and spin classes I'm able to attend. The serotonin is doing wonders for my mind and the physical aspects are allowing me to fit into my pants again.

Reading


I've started to keep two books on the go - one fiction and one non. I find that if I carve out some time right after dinner before I settle in for a couple of hours of TV, I can get through a good chunk of my non fiction and then save my fiction for just before bedtime.

Writing



Working from home has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me, especially because you tend to set up a specific work space if you're going to be there all day. It's done wonders for my creativity as well. I'm finding I can chunk out my time - work at my desk, personal at my desk - over the course of 10 hours in a day. The window view helps me regroup. And of course, the flowers always make me feel sunny.