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Day 1 – Reflect

Monday, February 20th, 2017

I knew all weekend I was going to be back on the mat today.  And I was.  At noon.  (After thinking I would be at 9:30.  But oh well.)

With a month long pass in hand, I walked into the studio, knowing the plan was to begin a 10 Day [in a row] Mini Challenge.

It has been a good long while since I’ve done any yoga.  And.  It’s been a good long while since I’ve done any running.

So today the goal was to kick start some yoga before hitting the pavement running in March with some body awareness (and mindfulness) practice jumpstarted too.  (The running will soon be ramping up in a big way, from zero again too, in preparation for a full late August across the country.)

It was sweet walking into the studio because it was so familiar and I was welcomed so warmly.  There’s an actual 40 Day Challenge going on today (today is Day 20 for them) and I was persuaded to track my Mini Challenge on the main board, which I’m now doing with one sticker up.

The goal was to reflect and see what it was like to be back.  It was rough at points.  Strange starting from such a hiatus.  Strange having to have so much humility.  But it was also awfully familiar.

Tomorrow and the next day are early classes because evenings are already booked.

So a beginning of sorts.  Reflecting, renewing, but most importantly…………

………..starting.

Sweet Sixteen

Friday, January 20th, 2017

How did that happen?  Made some progress since 2011.  Not sure how these work but now need to maybe add sixteen more.  And so I will.

Admittedly I don’t fully remember what some of the original ones entailed.  Others, though, are calling to me big time still.  Some are even part way together.

Some new:

Icelandic or Austrian Hot Springs | Show the family Hawaii | Attend U of C and/or UBC | Every. Disney. Park. (That’s 1 Californian one, 2 Japanese, and 2 Chinese ones to go although, let’s be real, some more will be built) | A second marathon | create a LinkedIn profile | finish a Margaret Atwood novel | try a morning exercise scheme for one month | spend more time in the Smithsonian | See the Do ré mi fa sol la si do version that is by the St. Lawrence that is also in Calgary | …
and now just six more.

The original “Brave 100”:

Speak on CBC Radio One | Order a meal in French in Paris | Visit Copenhagen and Jutlund | Attend a meditation retreat | Visit each province’s legislature grounds | Ride a rollercoaster with a current record | Throw an event | Apply to speak at a conference I barely or don’t qualify for | Run a half marathon | Compete in an international Masters-level sporting competition | Rent an apartment for a week | Stay in a luxury hotel and order room service | Take an undergraduate course connected to no program | Play a djembe at Tam Tams on Mount Royal (or unencountered drumming circle) | Take a multi-week French immersion class somewhere not Bilingual (Montreal) | Attend a weekend yoga retreat and/or practice yoga for 10 consecutive years with some consistency | Bungee in Oceana again and on one other continent | Write about Calgary as an insider | Discover five new things about Montreal | Discover Vancouver more authentically, connect with it | Attend a house party in Toronto | Visit three new American cities | Play a new song on piano with both hands | Complete a triathlon | Volunteer for a festival/charity event | swim 50m under 30 seconds unassisted | dance outside in a country I’ve never been to yet | make a case for a guided tour at a venue that doesn’t offer tours | A second Manhattan in Manhattan | Participate in a summer solstice celebration | Help organize a winter solstice celebration | a solar eclipse | bike 123 km | Discover San Fransisco | Write and send 100 thank you notes | Own this/a condo | Own land | Attain a Master’s degree | Teach an undergraduate class | Take a date to Waterton Park | Be on a Committee/Board | Do a diving board flip at an outdoor pool I’ve never been to… bonus points for a one-and-a-half | 5 10m Jumps at 5 different pools with 10m planks the public are allowed to use | Total 5 years of West African experience | Tour an modern art gallery… immediately afterwards, attempt modern art | Take a visual art Class | Send a postcard from Saint Pierre/Miquelon | Eat Lobster from East Coast | Start a topical blog | Play a full water polo game by the actual rules | Send a Christmas Card from the United Nations | Happy Baby pose on Eiffel Tower | Ride The Tube and mind the gap AND ride the Milleneum Ferris Wheel | spend an entire day on what’s displayed on a wall in my condo/house | Attend an Opening Ceremonies event | Take a behind the scenes tour | Lead a tour | Provide a Pecha Kucha/TedX/Reading/Story Telling experience | Perform headstand | Put $100 on black | Take a date to Butchart Gardens one evening | Zipline | Take a photograph at the Gopher Hole Museum | Sleep under a canopy | Waterslide at Tropical Islands near Berlin | Finish my Wreck this Journal | Finish the novel A Fine Balance | Attend a wine tasting | Visit a Pemberton in Vanuatu | Research a social science | Tent consecutive nights in the Rockies | Snowboard an entire weekend without breaking my elbow | Tube or Raft the Elbow with a lifejacket, of course | Wall/rock climb | Attend an Expo/World Fair | Throw a dinner party | Participate in a charity fundraiser | Find and walk 10 labyrinths | Organize a game of Slippery Watermelon with my friends | Become a season pass holder | Emcee an event | Learn to Whistle | Write a Letter to the Editor (maybe not the Red Deer Advocate, since I’m already published there) | Take a last-minute trip | Visit a city’s tower and take the stairs | spend a whole day (or most of one) at the spa | backpack | throw a successful[ly] surprise[-ing] party | attend a festival | make and give (a) friendship bracelet(s) | Give something difficult up for Lent | Participate in a collective demonstration | Rent an event venue | Give a toast | Contribute to Wikipedia | Attend Canada Day in Ottawa | Make a reservation for something with a minimum 6 month waiting-list | Experience La Tire d’érable (ou tire sur la neige) | find Stampede:Calgary::_________:x, where x = five other cities, attend then document | publish a book or equivalant

extra/curricular

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

All booked.  🙂

  1. A return to running at the end of September.  One of my favourites in the Rockies.  This run was my first half back in 2012.  33 days away.  I’m telling myself more than I’m telling you.
  2. A return to yoga with a yoga workshop Sunday to set some intentions for ’16/’17.  An eye on a regular (morning?) practice.
  3. A return to some dancing in a shiny new space.  I haven’t been since 2013.  These classes terrify me, but in a good way.

Back at it this week with a bit of professional reading to do and some growth plan thinking to do.

  1.  A return to this position rather than coming to a brand new one.

The school year awaits.

 

 

Heading Back

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

I have essentially no photos in photo albums.

But I do have one album.  It’s on the desk of my room growing up and is a chronological look at my time at the Forum for Young Canadians.  (NOTE: this is not what Calgary first thinks of when they think of Young Canadians, haha).

My album would have me in two suits on “The Hill” and would not involve any choreography, at least the dancing kind.

That trip would be a substantial one.  My first flight actually.  I remember it actually fairly well.  McDonald’s Pizza was still a thing.  I’d never really had much coffee beforehand. But there, had felt that I should.

Hearing from Herb Gray about affirmative action, from The Senate about why seats should exist there and why an unelected senate is okay too.  Hearing from Sheila Fraser and another day about an opposition right wanting to unite.  Many students feeling they should.

And getting to be Alberta’s premier at the premier’s meeting.

I hadn’t been to Montreal yet.  So I wasn’t defending French or bilingualism much.  I was defending public healthcare.  Heck, I’d already written a letter to The Advocate three years earlier–published, no less–supporting work I already saw as heroic.  A student from Vancouver challenged me that my political views weren’t necessarily ideologically consistent.

Pepper in some volleyball.  Learning the lyrics to “American Pie”.  A last night all-nighter of visiting (and a resulting returning flight sleepwalking).

Ottawa is an exciting place when you’ve never really been anywhere like it.  And from that excitement I’d come back to a full last semester of high school.

Federal politics would become extremely local ones before heading off to Red Deer College.  A drama production: Robin Hood.  My Ottawa-Calgary cohort would come watch, in fact.  I’d play the Sheriff of Nottingham. Days after returning, my student council would host a Students’ Choice Awards.  Then came a graduation ceremony.  (Then. Some lifeguarding.  And then a life of pre-service teaching.)

So if this was in 1999, why think about it in 2016?

Because on Friday I go back.   No, not to Forum.  But to the teacher version.

And it will be interesting, after returning, to see that album from Grade 12.  And compare it to the digital one I’ll inevitably post while I’m there.  Now a bit more grown up.

And MUCH more familiar with coffee.

And with flights.

And actually, with learning.

My first Marathon. Was with Mickey. As in Mouse.

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Oh the years and years of this blog.

But maybe here’s a round where some reflecting makes some sense.

And probably best before the memories become too hazy.  And who knows.  Maybe someone is weighing whether or not to do a marathon, or even a Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend event.

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So.  I still can’t believe I did it.  To the extent I have to think to myself, “Did it really happen?”  But it did. The medal and the zillions of Facebook posts prove that.

And in terms of any “Should I’s” the answer is simple: yes.  Do it!  And learn from those who already have.

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Without getting to deep, I’m proud: that I tried a first marathon, that I got some training in beforehand, and that I survived the whole endeavour. And that alone has made the whole adventure pretty cool.  It’s nice to do something difficult and then to feel good about it afterwards.  TBH, I’m not a super natural runner (nor am I especially fast) BUT I can enjoy it.  And for me, that’s enough.

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So.  The experience itself.  Maybe best split-up into: the goods, the bads, and the uglies.

The Good:

  • I’m a theme park fan.  And a Disney one too.  That’s no secret.  This was my 4th trip to WDW.  I’ve also been to Disneyland once (as a kid) and to Disneyland Paris not so long ago.  For me, a RunDisney event was probably inevitable. While I’d kind of been-there-done-that with much of the park, this was a good chance to get a bit of the park in and see some of what is new with a bit of a bigger goal in mind.  Our big run was Sunday morning and we arrived late Thursday night.  This gave us a few days of adventures prior to the run, while cautious to not overdo it with any walking around or eating, etc.
  • The course was SUPER thoughtfully designed.  No crazy hills.  More excitement as the 26.2 miles went along.  Through 4 parks (Magic Kingdom first with the castle all light up for the night… I was thrilled I made it there by sunrise to see it that way, then Animal Kingdom at the 1/2 point where I hit a wee bit of an early wall., then Wide World of Sports where we could grab a photo with Mickey! where the crowds remained pretty much alongside some entertainment to Disney Studios–chocolate bar!–and then the Boardwalk to Epcot.  Water was generally after a park so that once things were less distracting, there was still something to look forward to.
  • Crowds. Were. Amazing.  I don’t know what came over me but I high-fived probably every single person in the crowd.  haha.  I’m not really that sort of person normally.  But it took my mind of the monotony of running.  The volunteers were all super amazing too!  Big smiles!  Filled with encouragement.  Awesome!  I want to cheer and volunteer now too.  No lie.
  • Running with a partner-in-crime.  In this case, my cousin Layla.  I had never really done that before.  But it was so great to have some one to talk to, and scheme with, and to not feel so isolated because of.  We had a ton of fun.  I was the slower one in our duo, so I had to really confirm she was good with coaching me along but she was, and the coaching and the “push” was super appreciated.
  • The people were super cool.  Costumes.  Friendly faces to take a pic.  Quick little exchanges of exhausted faces or smiles or comments.  The track was PACKED but it really made the experience feel more exciting than frustrating.  Everyone there was there to have fun and get. it. done.
  • A gospel choir??!  I mean come on!  Right at Mile 26 before that little 0.2!  Awesome!  And a few other neat surprises.
  • How fun was wearing the medal afterwards?!  haha, we were like mini-celebrities!  Was great!  Now I need to figure out where to park mine.  It’s pretty bulky and impressively designed, too!

The Bad:

  • No word of a lie.  The run starts at 5:30 and the complications of getting 20,000 people to the start on time meant that we’d have to be ON our bus at 4:00am to know we’d get there.  While this was no-lie nuts, it actually meant that 1/4 of the marathon was in the dark which was nice.
  • Training in the dead of winter and then going to a tropical place.  Really, just the training in winter.  We actually ended up doing most of our December training on tracks (the Olympic Oval and West Side rec).  This meant NO hills and NO excitement.  We lucked out because our run was actually cool.  Sun came out for the last bit but there was really no heat-shock, especially after adjusting to the humidity for a few days prior.
  • Shaking any pressures can be tough.  But I did it right away.  My one goal was to run the first half and go from there.  So I did.  After that half I did take walking breaks.  Obviously.  My time was 1.25h slower than double my half time.  I also took photo breaks the second half with characters and at landmarks.  At no point did I think I would not finish.  At some points I wished I could have gone faster or with more consistent running.  BUT.  That would have meant more consistent training.

The Ugly:

  • Honestly, no ugly.  haha, we did get scolded twice.  Once for running and visiting with two strangers for a bit (i.e. 30 seconds) as some ladies felt we were taking up too much space.  And one for posing for a photo our own way rather than the photographers way.

So.

I actually had a blast.  I was FILLED with adrenaline the whole day afterwards!  I couldn’t walk but I was pumped (and by couldn’t walk, I wasn’t sore really but ULTRA stiff-muscled).

I actually think I have another marathon in me.   Maybe one late-summer to mid-fall so that training is more possible.  The first 1/3 I felt GREAT so how amazing would it be to train and sustain that.  Prior to this, I didn’t really know if this would be a one-and-only or not.

I also kind of realized a bit what works for me.  I don’t need my own water.  I can just count on the stations.  I know which little gels and jellies make me happy.  I learned where I crash a bit and what I can do to get past it all.

Two big blisters but nothing debilitating.  Prevented any other damage by planning ahead.

And so two halves in April!  Within a week!  But no Disney characters at them, because they’re right here in Calgary.

Lifelist item box, checked!!  And a vacation surrounding the whole adventure.  5:15.28.  I’ll take it.

And now want to get that down a little.  🙂

Full

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

July 30th, 2011 was the sort-of beginning.  That was my first 10k.  In Vancouver.  An Australian and Canadian venture.  I had never done an any k really, and survived.

Since then, 2 more 10k’s.  A 17k (odd, non?), and 4 halfs (of those halfs, two not-so-bad, two brutal).   I think.  And an airport runway run in there somewhere, too.

Then April 26, 2015 the other sort-of beginning.  That was when discussion began to take real form.  During a half actually for registration on April 28, 2015 for this.  The real deal.  A marathon.  Full stop.

Without mincing words, I’m undertrained.  I’m not not-at-all trained.  But typically trained.  My first half, I had never done more than 10k.  And now, my first full, I’ve never done much more than half.  BUT.  I’m more trained than I ever have been.  I’ve been chipping away at fairly consistent runs and know my pace and abilities.

All my runs lately have been indoor tracks.  This full allegedly doesn’t have much for hills, so I’m banking on the fact I have have done, oh, none.

The good news?  Whatever I do, it will be a Personal Best.  The bad news? There isn’t really any.  I’m not worried about not finishing.  I’m not worried about time.  I’m nervous.  But I’m more excited than nervous.  And the whole thing will be an adventure.  With thousands of other people.

So now.

Shoes packed.  Gels too.  Double layered socks ready.

19 water stops.  5 of them with food.

3 x 14k.  And then a little bit.  Thinking of it in thirds makes it easier for me somehow.  Maybe because those thirds present a distance I can actually picture.

So let’s see how this goes!  Have rounded up some amazing people.  The surroundings will be pretty fun.

Ready [I think] to run my [Mickey] ears off.

front row

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

I like k.d. lang.  Enough to notice that I wanted to get to see Balletlujah.  Enough maybe even to remember her on The Muppets growing up.

I saw k.d. live in Summer 2006, discovering the world.  So naturally, I thought about that a bit.  It was a big summer.  A Montreal summer.  So as I sat in one of Alberta’s two Jubilee’s I thought about the Olympic O.  And all of that.  There was a moment before k.d. sang then when people stomped their feet to stop a Member of Parliament from speaking, and I had never experienced anything like that before.  Ever.

But, what I didn’t know ballet or music could do, the song before the final song (spoiler: Hallelujah), was really bring me back in time.

k.d. lang’s cover of Jane Siberry’s “Love is Everything” put me in 2004–not so long before 2006.  Smack dab in the middle of it.  Pretty instantly.   In winter.  Freezing cold winter.  Hymns of the 49th Parallel was out and I wouldn’t have discovered it on my own.  Listening to the song and the narrative of the ballet, I was on Whyte Ave in the freezing cold winter, hearing all the rest of it, in the Grand Am that didn’t always start, and at the legislature skating, and smelling Thierry Mugler pear green cologne no idea at all Calgary life lie ahead.  Behind on everything.  Serving tables, and that’s actually probably why.  Trying mussels.   A favourite zip up sweater.

And she was there in the audience watching, too.  Probably not thinking about Montreal.  Or Radio-Canada.  Or breaking up or mussels. Well.  Actually she probably was a bit, the breaking up part, that theme was pretty prevalent.

But interesting to grieve a bit and give gratitude a bit for what was and what wasn’t in an art form mostly unfamiliar to me alongside ms. lang.  With that unfamiliar, some unexpected.  So I’m glad.

Courage

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Bright and early this morning I provided a really short reflection on the idea of courage.  I looked towards Dr. Brené Brown and to my basic understanding of French and framed courage as moving forward, maybe fearlessly but maybe fearfully too, but with a passionate heart (Coeur.  See what Brené taught me to do there?).

The point wasn’t to say to colleagues, “Ah, gee! Look at me with so much courage!”

It was to give sincere thanks to colleagues for the work I’d seen so far: really important and heart-felt work and an invitation to continue in that spirit.

My work, though, has invoked courage.  Courage to join a new team and context.  Courage to learn.  But courage, too, to leave somewhere for change: where I was more than happy and more than challenged, surrounded by incredible and inspiring people.

This week was a strange one.

I started work last week getting to know my sites, coordinators, working with teachers and schools participating in our program.  But it was this week when I didn’t have a first day.  I didn’t have a bell.  Not the harsh usual one or the pleasant magic wand one I had most recently.  I didn’t have a usual, normal, familiar anything.

This week was also, though, a really satisfying one.

I’m loving what I do.  I’m doing work I feel is essential to our city (and world).  I’m challenged.  Days fly by.  And I’m doing something new.  In fact, I’m doing something I couldn’t have known I wanted to do growing up because I didn’t know it existed.

I’m getting much better at telling people what I do.  And gauging if they care before I get into details.  Maybe I’ll have to post the synopsis.

But I’m getting settled.  I’m learning more. My heart is in it.  And I’m grateful.

Not a bad place to be to take on the new adventure.