Recovery is not just for the body.

Surgery is considered a “controlled injury” and while I realized it would require downtime and rehab, I hadn’t given this part of the process much thought. The focus had been mostly on the big day where finally a surgeon would “fix” me. haha. What was I thinking?
“Recovery” mentally feels like you are being held back by a giant rubber band, trying to run forward but that band keeps you from going too far, too fast. Picturing a rubber band feels better than imagining being on a leash and believe me there are enough people who could be holding the other end. I wouldn’t stand a chance in breaking free and taking off and as an “A-type” this is hard to take. Week after week, the resistance will weaken giving a bit more distance, ah, another life lesson in patience.
It was around day seven things were starting to sink in, the reality of recovery was becoming more and more apparent. While looking for some inspiration online, this quote was among the first few results, “Focus on what you want your life to look like – not just your body.” OMG! That’s when it hit me. Coming across this quote was like finally finding the light switch in a dark room. I’d been feeling around in the dark, grasping for something to hold on to, but looking in all the wrong places. All these years, I spent consumed about my body size, shape and the number that appeared on the scale. I never sat back and thought about what shape I wanted my life to take; I was too busy being obsessed with my body weight!

Over the past few months, I’d been trying to focus on making better decisions rather than buy into another plan. Because I honestly can’t take the thought of worrying or talking about my weight ANYMORE. I AM DONE! I am sick and tired of this conversation, with the feelings that come with it. I want to talk about how to get out of it, rather than about being in it.

So while I’m laid up, the focus turns to strengthing this beautiful body that has already accomplished and given me so much! Now is the time to slow down and take care of it, nourish it, love it and help it come back stronger than ever while pondering about what the future holds.

Reflection & Repair, Rebuild, Return

It’s been a while since the last post and I feel like I have a lot to say about what’s been going on with me lately.

A week and a half ago my thirty-sixth birthday rolled around and with it, I spent a lot of time reflecting on how I now felt compared to last year. Grounded. Feeling grounded is the best way to explain it. Last year I felt anything but, filled with anxiety, anger and impatience for anything that wasn’t what I wanted.

The girl from five years ago.
The girl from five years ago.

The day before my birthday, Facebook also gave me a great reminder of the girl I use to be. The girl who five years ago nearly quit training for what would become a life-changing event. As I type this, I can recall exactly how it felt returning to the store after finishing the 3km run. Here’s a little peek into how that night went, the following is an excerpt from the post I wrote after returning home and having serious doubts about the race and a really big cry:

Week 1: Run 1 (if you can call it that)
Or What the %$&@ was I thinking?
Or “back of the pack”.
Or “Oh my god I am going to throw-up in the store”.

All of the above easily could have been the title for this blog but I thought I would keep it
short and sweet and to the point. (if you care the read the rest, feel free here.)

As cheesy as Facebook can be, that blast from the past was what I needed to see and remember. I’m the girl who set a few big ass goals and accomplished them, the girl who was terrified but didn’t quit!


If you’ve been following along, or you know me (in person) then you are probably bored of hearing about being benched while I’ve dealt with some injuries. Believe me, I’m bored talking about it! My knees have given me a hard time for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until I was in the midst of my triathlon experience that I got the low down. OA. I had OA in both knees, and it was bad. I had been doing injections with little to no relief for a year and half. After my left knee gave out on me last spring, the focus turned to finding a surgeon to see what could be done.

Long story short, I’m happy to say last Thursday had me at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto for a patella lateral release. The goal is to get my kneecap back to where it belongs to eliminate pain on a daily basis. My hope is that with some additional treatment, we can regenerate cartilage with the use of stem cell injections but I’m not ready to jump on that bandwagon without doing more homework. First things first, recovery AND find out if the right knee requires some surgical intervention too.

exerciseThese days, I feel like I’m standing at the starting line, but the gate is blocking my way. There’s no route or map defined, but I know there is a destination. This time, the journey will be different too. This time, I’m coming at it from a place of love, not loathing. I’m not doing this to punish my body, or to punish myself (except in a good way). I’m going to be active because I can, because it’s fun and because it’s good for me mentally as much as it is physically.

So for now, I’m in recovery but in the grander scheme, this is the first phase of my new motto: Repair, Rebuild, Return.

Making Space

Hope. Denial. Struggle. Conceding. These four words sum up nicely the conflict that was happening within my mind for quite some time. The more I fought against my reality, the more painful it became.

Hope. Hope is necessary for a happy life. It gives you the opportunity to dream and to remain positive in the face of adversity. Hope allows you to believe in something bigger than yourself.

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”– Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)

When faced with stressful or challenging situations, hope might be what keeps you going, feeding the optimising engine within. We might cling to hope in the face of sorrow, sadness and grief because facing the truth may be too painful to accept. Is this hope, or is this denial?

Denial will masquerade as hope, and it’s dangerous to live this way. It’s misleading, and in the end, you are left with the same (if not worse). Denial is closing your eyes and sticking your fingers in your ears. Now, you can’t hear it, and you can’t see it, but the truth is, the “bad news” is still there. No matter how hard you try to ignore it, to fight it, your reality is your reality.

Letting Go

Heartbroken and scared. Holding onto what I thought was hope, for a long time kept me angry and stuck. Ha, holding. That’s funny. It was more like a death grip where my arms and legs were wrapped so tight they went completely numb. Clinging on to the past, terrified that I wouldn’t be able to do the same things I was use to doing. Wishing, hoping, pretending that I’ll wake up one day and everything will be okay. Visit after visit, doctor after doctor, they all said the same thing. I’m sure some of them thought I was crazy when I pushed back, fighting what they said. Not wanting to believe it, not able to. If I couldn’t participate in my sport, what was I? What would I become? What would come undone?

Sure, to some this sounds stupid and insignificant. To some people, I should just shut up and “get over it”. It’s. Not. That. Simple.

Creating Space

When you find a passion, sport or “thing” that lights your fire, it is devasting to lose it, even the fear of losing it. You feel as though you’ve lost a part of yourself, part of your identity. This “thing”, this thing is what I sacrificed so much for, I learned so much from, the very thing that saved my life. Without running I would never have gone on meeting some of the most amazing people in my life, had some of the most incredible and life-changing experiences a person could have, nor would I have found what’s within me, the magical essence that makes me who I am.

So, while this is not news that running is something that may not be in my future, at least likely not long distances, I’m finally letting go, realizing accepting this is my truth, my reality. The more this happens, the more space that’s created to try something new. Sure I can continue to hope and do the work that goes with it, and maybe one day in the future things will be different. But what I can’t keep doing, is living with my eyes closed tight and my fingers shoved in my ears. Now that I’ve unplugged my ears, I can hear. With my hands-free, I can cover my eyes because yes there’s still apprehension for what the future holds but now I can peek through my fingers. And I’m starting to see that everything is going to be okay.

The Three P’s of Progress

progress. Progress occurs when we are living mindfully, practicing patience, keeping things in perspective, and persevering when life throws you a curveball. When we get wrapped up in always moving forward, not acknowledging where we’ve come from and how much changed has taken place, we tend to rob ourselves of the joy and satisfaction earned along the way! I recently had a conversation about progress and when asked how I would picture what progress looks like this image came to mind.


This picture, to me, represents life. It’s not always going to go according to plan but with patience, perspective and perseverance, you’ll get to where you want to go.

Over the past few months, life continued to present me with a lesson, well, it was yet another opportunity to learn the same lesson I’ve struggled with for quite some time; this wasn’t new by any means. Time and time again, I’ve failed to appreciate the journey and failed to acknowledge my accomplishments; I neglected to maintain perspective. Perspective helps us keep the bigger picture in mind, and this is especially important at times when we are struggling, those times when we are at a dip in the road and the way out seems so steep.

By losing perspective, I looked at every setback, every flare-up as a step backward; since when did progress mean we would only move forward? Well, what I’ve learned is that unless we take that step back or, at least, pause for a moment to reflect on our starting point, we can’t appreciate all the work we’ve done between then and now.

We’ve all heard the saying “anything worthwhile never comes easy” and this is where patience and perseverance come into play.


Patience isn’t something that comes easy for me. I’m serious. If you don’t believe me, ask my husband. I even tattooed “Patience” on me as a constant reminder. When it comes to others, no problem! But when it comes to something I want for myself, for my life…well that’s a whole different story. Without patience, life becomes more and more difficult as we don’t wish to wait for results, for answers, for anything. We become short sighted without patience; we become reactive, and we lose sight of our intentions. Patience is the key to building our endurance. Patience is believing, and trusting that our efforts will pay off in the long run and that our dreams will come true.

Perseverance is what keeps us going. It’s the driving force behind our goals and dreams. Without perseverance, we will never realize our full potential. Perseverance is the fire in your belly, the butterflies you feel when you picture your desired outcome. It’s the fuel that keeps you going when life puts another obstacle in your path, forcing you to change gears, change tactics or even make a whole new plan.

Without patience, perspective and perseverance, there can be no progress and without progress, we are merely spinning our wheels, getting nowhere.

All it takes, is work.

To some work is a “four letter word”, it’s what some of us do to earn a paycheque. In some cases you enjoy it and in others, you don’t. What we do “for work” and what we “work at” can be as different as night is to day. It’s nothing to be afraid of, and it’s nothing to shy away from, not if you want something bad enough.

I listened to two very different podcasts on Friday last week, but both had the same message. I have to do the work for the changes I seek. Regardless of what you want to achieve, a new mindset, a new physic or a particular finish time at a race, it all takes work.

The first podcast was an Eat To Perform production, Getting Off Of the Fence – here is the link should you want to to have a listen. Paul Nobles gets right down to it; you have to DO THE WORK. That is the only way to see and feel the changes you desire. As with anything, if you half-ass your efforts then you are going to see half-ass results if you’re lucky. The second podcast was from a very different genre, but again, the message was the same. It’s time to do the work.

Post swim selfie.
Post swim selfie.
Whatever it is you want to achieve, accomplish or take part in, you have to commit and give it all you’ve got. Commit to whatever it is you heart desires, have the belief you are worthy and do whatever it takes to make it a reality.

Is it going to be easy? No, not likely. Are you going to have to do things you never dreamed or would have considered in the past? Probably! Is it going to change who you are? Yes, without a doubt. Is it going to be worthwhile? Absolutely!

Work isn’t something I’m afraid of; I don’t mind putting in the effort when it’s for something I want to achieve or do. So it boils to this, get up every day and just do the work! Remembering I’m worth it, remembering why I’m doing it and remembering what I’ve already accomplished will help me achieve all my goals. It’s about dedication and accountability. Work isn’t always fun, or what we want to do but sometimes it’s necessary in order to do what we want to do. It’s about remembering what the long term goals and doing whatever it takes to make them a reality, no matter how long it takes.

When you think about it, doing the work is simple. It’s everything else that requires a whole lot of effort; you know the stuff like planning, scheduling, and executing, never mind the tracking and meal prepping. That is if your goals are fitness or sport related.

No goal is too big or too small, but I hope it’s big enough to scare the crap out of you. Those huge, terrifying goals are the ones that push you out of the comfort zone and teach you more than you can imagine.

So, what are you goals? What is going to drive you out of bed early in the mornings, keep you up at night and push you beyond your limits?

The little things and the clarity cardio brings

The little things are what’s important in life and yesterday was a big reminder of just that. It was a morning like so many I had in the past, times I took for granted but with being sidelined for so long, it felt like such a treat. It’s almost funny how something as regular as going for a spin gave me such satisfaction. For a couple of hours, I felt like the old me. The girl who was always on the go training for a race, that me. I’ve missed that girl.

It felt so healthy and right, the simple act of getting up early on the weekend, having a pre-workout meal (and coffee, of course, come on who are we kidding) to picking out my bike shorts and packing a gym bag, it felt like old times. As I was climbing on the bike, with my water bottle, and music in hand it almost seemed surreal. I wasn’t there to do anything except ride.

It was an easy but amazing ride that I didn’t want to end. As I was getting ready to leave, my face flush from exertion and my gym bag hanging from my shoulder, it was then I realized it. It was times like these, which made me an athlete. It was that feeling! I stood taller, prouder, and felt good about myself. Any sense of inadequacy, insecurities, self-doubt, shame or loathing, were nowhere to be seen or felt.

Something as simple as a 45 min ride on a stationary bike gave me so much more than I could have imagined. On a day to day basis, it’s the little things. Don’t get me wrong, life is exhilarating and amazing with big things too, but if we don’t stop to smell the flowers once in a while we are missing out on the wonder, beauty and enjoyment the little things provide. A fresh cup of coffee made just right, a big hug from those you love, biking outdoors on a sunny day, or standing under the stars as they shine so bright. These are but a few of my favourite little things.

After being sidelined for weeks now from continuous flare-ups, the simple act of spinning my legs on a stationary spin bike and getting my heart rate up for a while made all the difference. It’s like a mental itch you can’t scratch. Relentless, twitchy, nervous, anxious energy brewing and bubbling within like an overflowing bottle of kombucha, this is how I describe what it feels like to go without regular exercise. Ah cardio, a wonder drug. The satisfaction and contentment cardio provides like nothing else. I was joking with my doctors this week how for me, cardio keeps the crazy away, but really, it’s no joke.

What little things will you do today to enjoy life’s simple pleasures?


We grow through what we go through.

It seems like everywhere I turn on social media and in-person these days, I keep seeing examples of how our pain, challenges, and life’s adversity can change us at the very root of who we are.


“We grow through, what we go through.” (unknown)

These words, these seven everyday words, said in such a way means so very much, and hold such a strong message. They are a simple truth.

When I look back over the last few years, I realize more and more it was those hardships, the times of struggle, pain, and difficulty that pushed me to my limits and beyond. That is where growth happens. It was during those times where I experienced the biggest changes or shifts in perspective and my outlook on what it is to live this thing call life.


I don’t know about you, but my new year begins in September. Maybe it’s from the conditioning of growing up and starting a new school year in September. As I write this and look back to September 2014 to September 2015, I’m not the same person. I was angry, in pain and exhausted both physically and emotionally. Looking in the mirror hurt as much as the tear in my hip and bulged disc in my back. My acne covered face, left me feeling ashamed and embarrassed to the point I didn’t want to leave my house. I felt like a freak of nature. I was depressed, and hurting in every way possible. I wasn’t sleeping. I was cranky and sad all the time, and really, just completely worn out. I hated myself. I was no fun.


Those 12 months were, without a doubt, the toughest time of my life. I was looking everywhere externally for relief from the pain in my hip and back and the pain I felt when I looked in the mirror. I went from doctor to doctor, looking for remedies while I threw handfuls of Advil in my mouth. I was trying everything to “fix” my skin from diet changes to Chinese acupuncture and herbal remedies to strong antibiotics. What I wasn’t doing was listening to my body, and I wasn’t paying attention to myself talk. I just kept beating myself up time and time again. Of course, it was my fault for having OA, my fault for the torn hip and sore back. I was ugly and hated myself more and more with every new outbreak of acne.

Nearly eight months had passed; I had spent that time spiraling deeper into a state of self-hate. It was around this time I stumbled across the body image movement; this was the wake-up call I needed. Ever so slowly I began to grasp the connection between our self-image, self-talk and self-esteem and our overall health. How we think, feel and talk to ourselves directly affects how our bodies and mind thrive, or how they wither and decay. More and more pictures were popping up on social media about self-love. You know pictures like the one below, they were everywhere in my news feeds. I had even come across an article posted by Eat To Perform, were Paul Nobles Jr. said, “You have to strip down in front of a mirror and have a good cry if necessary…You can’t hate yourself thin.” Hmm, you can’t hate yourself thin? You can’t hate yourself happy, pretty, skinny? Well, Paul was right. I know, I tried that approach for 30 years! You can’t hate yourself and expect to have success, whatever success means to you. What you can do, is hate yourself into a broken, depressed and unhappy state of mind and body.

I starting paying more attention to how I talked to myself and that was when things began to click. That emotional pain I’d been caring around was the source of so much physical pain. You may recall, that little self-loathing body-hating monkey on my back? That monkey was a weight on my shoulders, constantly reaffirming the self-hatred, shame, and worthlessness I felt and he had to go! The only way to get him off my back was through the pain. I couldn’t hate him away; I had to look within and understand why he had been hanging around all these years. I had to learn to love myself as I am right now, not conditionally when I lost x number of pounds or was size x, and not when the acne went away. It was only then when I was able to begin love myself, would his grip loosen enough to let go.


The monkey still hangs around my ankles these days, but I don’t feel his weight on my back anymore and that, is a relief. Eventually, he’ll be gone for good.

So I wonder, how has the last year changed you? What are those things you say to yourself? Is there love and compassion when looking in the mirror or when you make a mistake? I hope so, but if there isn’t, know you aren’t alone, but you can start to change the conversation with time and practice.

Learning to let go, dangling by a rope.

In September, my department at work had a team-building event where we went tree top trekking. There was some nervous energy in the group, as this is not a typical activity for a group of IT professionals. We were all fitted with a harness and helmet and made our way to the introduction course. We learned how to clip and out as well as had to practice a safety fall. After that, we were on our way through the treetop obstacles.

The courses were made up of different types of “games” as they referred to them. They had cable and plank bridges, swinging logs, cargo nets and single track cables we climbed and slid across like ninjas. Ok, so maybe some of us weren’t that graceful but we were in our minds. I was nervous at times, especially after looking down and realizing the only thing under my feet was a half inch thick cable. Or when I was walking along suspended log bridges with logs that swung further apart as I stretched my leg out in front of me reaching for the next step. I had a few moments where I thought “what the heck am I doing up here!?” My coworkers reminded me that I was an Ironman. Somehow in their minds that meant I should be fearless when it comes to being thirty to forty feet in the air among the leaves in the trees held in place by a harness and a couple clips. I reminded them that swimming bike and running all happen to take place on the ground but they weren’t buying it.

I lost sight of the group ahead of me; I knew there were people behind me, but I didn’t want to slow down so kept pushing forward. I had to as there was no other way down from the obstacles. I made my way to the first zip line, clipped myself and got set. I was pretty nervous to let take my feet off the platform. It took me a few tries, but I finally sat in the harness and off I went.

We were out there for about three hours, climbing, crawling and swinging through the trees like Ewoks. As we advanced, the games were becoming more and more challenging preparing us for the next one. The zip lines were getting higher and longer; some lines stretching so far off into the distance you couldn’t see platform through the trees ahead. There was a group of us making our way through the final course. My colleague Andy and I were standing on a platform getting ready to zip into unknown, and it was then that it occurred to me how this was activity was all about “letting go”.


When you are zip lining, there are aspects in which you have control and those in which you don’t. You have control over how you clip in, and how you stop and steer. But the best part, is the part where you have zero control when you are sailing along the wire, enjoying the ride.

Learning to let go of what you can’t control isn’t easy but life gives us all sorts of opportunities to keep trying. At IMMT they reminded the athletes that their attitude was the only thing they had control over that day. If we lived by that on a daily basis, how different would our experience be?


Walking the Walk

I love talking-the-talk and can stand up here on my soapbox and say whatever’s on my mind and go on and on about how my “mindset” is changing and that’s great. But unless I start putting action behind my words, then what’s the point? How am I motivating anyone, let alone myself, if I don’t put my money where my mouth is and get down to work? Sure it’s my blog, and I can say what I want, but that’s not the point of this, not the point of this post, this site, this life.

During the past two months, my body slapped me sober with a flare up. Yes, it’s nasty Osteoarthritis letting me know that some things need to change. This experience has given me a better understanding of what this disease is all about and how it affects me and as they say “shit just got real.” Thank you Martin Lawrence!

I can sit around feeling sorry for myself, or I can pick myself up, dust myself off and get down to bid’ness and start doing something to help myself.

So, again, more words, but what’s changing you ask? Well, for starters, my diet. The Arthritis Society has a website with lots of useful information and that along with some other random Google searches I decided to modify my diet accordingly. Ok, great, what does that even mean? Well, it means I’ll be dining on more colourful fruits like raspberries, blueberries and pineapple. Vegetables such as peppers, kale, sweet potatoes, white potatoes and broccoli and don’t forget spices like cinnamon, turmeric and cumin. I took a bunch of what I just mentioned, chucked it in my blender and drank it the other day and the results were, well they were interesting to say the least. I’ll keep tweaking the ratio’s to find a combination that’s a bit more palatable.

I’m moving away from gluten again; it was fun while it lasted, but we just aren’t meant to be together. Going “gluten free” means using alternative flours like almond meal, coconut flour, tapioca and grains like amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat. Yes, buckwheat is not wheat, nor a grain, it’s actually a seed.

This list isn’t the whole list, but what it doesn’t include is food that wreaks havoc on my system by causing more and more inflammation. I love my steak topped with blue cheese, but this along with chicken and pork will take a back seat on my plate, you know for rare occasions (LOL I couldn’t resist). Cutting back on the meat leaves more room for fish, shellfish, eggs, beans and tofu. This isn’t Paleo or some other random “diet”. This isn’t about right and wrong food, it’s about having what’s best for me and my body.

I’m still unlearning all the bad nutrition practices I acquired over my lifetime; this is a big part of Eat To Perform. ETP is NOT another “diet” this program is about learning how to eat properly. I honestly can’t say I have been “doing ETP” up to this point. Doing ETP means following the nutritionist’s recommendations for my daily Calories based on my activity levels. It’s a mindset change, and it requires patience, persistence and some faith in the process. It boils down to the number of calories made up of X number of Carbs, Protein and Fat per day. For me, if it’s a workout day, then my Carbs will be a little higher than if it isn’t. I read their posts and articles and it makes a difference in my understanding of how our bodies process the fuel we give and when it uses the most. They also have a private Facebook group and have been spending a little bit more time in the forums lately, trying to keep me accountable and active in the community. It makes a difference when you interact with like-minded folk.

Today's lunch brought to you by ETP!   This was a fraction of my marros today (55g Carbs, 31 g Protein, 6g Fat).
Today’s lunch brought to you by ETP! This was a fraction of my macros today (55g Carbs, 31 g Protein, 6g Fat).
Gluten free, ended up being Vegan after all...Blueberry Banana Almond Flour Muffins.
Gluten free, ended up being Vegan after all…Blueberry Banana Almond Flour Muffins.

As they say, you got to start somewhere, and this is my starting point. I’m still embracing the fight, doing this because I love my body and want to help it be as healthy as possible. It’s going to take baby steps for now as I work to shed the weight and get my knee and the rest of me in better shape.

Today’s recipes are courtesy of the Minimalist Baker and All Recipes

Embracing The Fight

Yesterday morning as I was getting dressed, struggling to find something “comfortable”, I was thinking to myself, why do I have to “fight this fight”? I’m tired of battling the excess weight, and maybe even more so, tired of talking about it. Then I saw this post from ETP and laughed out loud. I commented on it telling Paul Nobles Jr. to get out of my head, but his timing couldn’t have been better.


“Fight the fight,” what does this even mean? To me, I’m learning that this is what life is about, “the fight” is working for your goals, it’s your mission, it’s whatever is worth fighting for, to you. Some days, the fight is just putting your head down and getting through the day. Other times, it’s about doing what it takes to make your dreams a reality.

Yesterday, I had a chat with a dear friend of mine. I love our talks as I always hang up feeling inspired in one way or another and yesterday was no different. We were discussing this concept of “fighting the fight” and it reminded me of this quote “Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” What we achieve in life, is based on the amount of fight we want to put into the situation. There are so many obstacles and distractions in life that can pull us away from our goals if we aren’t careful. Whether it’s finding a new job, going back to school, starting a business or completing a race or dealing with an illness, everything in life requires us to “fight the fight”.


I had a similar conversation with someone else this week, and we were discussing how maybe sometimes in life you HAVE to FEEL the sting of discomfort get to the next place. Is it feeling that struggle, is that what pushes you to the next place? Maybe it’s that uncomfortable feeling that’s the catalyst to you move forward. As they say, get comfortable with being uncomfortable, if you want to see change.

Maybe life would be a little easier, maybe we would feel a little less resistance if instead of fighting the fight, we embraced the fight and gave it all we got. What are you fighing for?

Embracing the fight, might as well match my toes to the tape!
Embracing the fight, might as well match my toes to the tape!