Money Shovel

Ach, crap!  I was just talking to my sister about how being responsible and getting out of debt and aggressively paying off debt/credit card sucks bobo.  BOBO.  It really does……but as she so cleverly pointed out, when in the past I have not been acting responsibly and paying off certain debt, I was spending money that didn’t belong to me.  And probably on random and unimportant crap. 

 

I am not currently debt free….I am debt managed (nice term, sister).  I am being responsible.  It is not fun; it’s painful and disheartening and sucky.  But it’s not forever…..for a few months of eliminating ALL unnecessary spending and reducing where possible any necessary spending, I will eventually get my money back.  Money I am paying out for poor decisions that I made in my Pre-Responsible-Shanny-Days.  Money I am paying out because I didn’t say no, because I wanted things I didn’t need, because I was sad or mad or happy or because I thought that whatever it was would make things better.

 

I have no shame about it though.  I have only determination and respect for myself and a plan going forward.  I have a newfound ability to say no, to decline plans and if pushed, to say “Sorry, I can’t afford to do/buy/go xyz right now.”  I feel zero shame when I say that.  I have a well-paying job and I should be able to afford to do whatever I want.  However…………35.5 years of having no financial education, no financial guidance, never having seen or used a budget, never being schooled on credit or debit cards, I’m in the only position a person could assume to find themselves in.  Add to that that I’m a member of an instant gratification generation, a generation that doesn’t save and a generation that is marketed to like never before in history, is it any surprise that I have debt? 

 

Fortunately I have managed to maintain a good credit record and do not have anyone inquiring about payments.  I’m probably lucky about that.  But the time came a couple months ago when I decided that enough was enough.  Spending stopped, aggressively paying off started and a new financial road map is being written.  While this financial “dig out” is only temporary and with rigid planning and stick-to-it-ness will be over by this time next year, it feels really shitty right now.  Mainly because I have never pulled in the reins on myself before and I don’t like it.

 

I’ve had to reduce my expectations on certain events, schedule in, delay or cancel things I would have just blindly gone ahead with and I’ve really had to rethink what my “must haves” are.  I’m creating a new relationship with my debit card, and my credit card and I barely ever hang out anymore.  I “use up” things I already have that are, in some cases, less desirable/tasty/effective but which don’t cost me money.  I throw out nothing and try to find things I already have that can fill a need before I go out and buy something.  And, in the cases where no substitution can be made, I have to ask myself, “Is this whatever really worth delaying my financial freedom?”.  Sometimes the answer is yes, especially if it’s a small ticket thing like a nice cup of tea or a fun $10 movie.  Sometimes I do answer “No, I can make do without.” and I usually feel good about those decisions….especially when three or four months ago I wouldn’t have thought twice about doing/buying it.  If I can make do without now, did I really need it back then?  Sometimes though, the answer is “No, but I’m doing it anyway” and those are the ones I need to run from like they are poison.  I am trying to switch myself over to cost over convenience; for example, Ziploc bags are more convenient than glass containers that have to be washed (usually by me) every day….but the glass containers last forever and the Ziploc bags are money thrown in the trash (not to mention the impact on the environment!).  Or the Keurig cups that are fast and disposable over the reusable K-cup that takes longer to set up but uses coffee that is a zillion times cheaper (again with the environment!). 

 

So that’s where I am.  Standing here with a big shovel, determined to set things right and refining the skills to do so.  It’s a work in progress.

Weekend of Nothingness

Happy Monday!  Well……it’s not that happy.  I had a terrible sleep last night, nightmare and then couldn’t fall back asleep.  And I really needed some good sleep because Saturday night I slept like crap also.  Gr.  I’m a champion sleeper so when it goes sideways, I haven’t got a clue how to deal.  But…I will “act as if” it is a Happy Monday and see if I can bring this day back from the brink.

Friday night Ray went for dinner with his mom and I stayed home and had Fridge Scrapings for dinner.  I sautéed a can of oysters, added an egg and scrambled it into the oysters and then dumped the last cup of zucchini soup in the pan until it was all heated through.  Had it with some leftover cut veggies.  I don’t often have to do Fridge Scrapings but when I do, I can get creative! It was actually really delicious and creamy and comforting.  That said, I’m not running out to make it again, LOL!

 

Zuke soup w/ a can of oysters and an egg scrambled into it. Oddly satisfying.

Zuke soup w/ a can of oysters and an egg scrambled into it. Oddly satisfying.

 

Saturday morning I had my follow up bike training (finally!) with my new bike (now named “Captain Jack” instead of “Jezebel”).  I did alright with the training; uturns and tight circles and uturns up and down a steep hill.  It was pretty good and I feel a lot more confident riding. But when it was over and I was riding home I felt really awful…..like my head was all fogged up and I felt sick and achy and exhausted.  I think it was probably a result of a lot of mental and physical effort and a big adrenaline hangover.  It’s hard work manipulating 950# around at slow speeds in technical maneuvers!  When I got home Ray took me for lunch and then I went for a nap….which is totally abnormal for me these days but sorely needed right then!  The rest of Saturday I spent in my pajamas watching PVR and baking banana bread while Ray went riding with his son.

Speaking of banana bread, I tried Civilized Caveman’s banana bread because I’d heard awesome things about it.  It’s…….a bit wet…….and not very banana-y.  As it’s getting older it’s getting better….but I’ll stick with my recipe that I love.  Anyway….when the loaf didn’t come out of the pan all the way (didn’t let it cool long enough), I scraped up the bits, threw some raspberries on top and then a drizzle of coconut milk.  THAT was amazing!

 

Now THIS was delicious!

Now THIS was delicious!

 

I think we watched a movie Saturday night and then went to bed at 10.  Sunday morning I tried to sleep in but Gracie had other plans and sat on my head, pawed at my face and swatted me in the ass until I got up.  I stayed in pajamas and did my weekly food prep while Ray and his daughter took the dogs for a walk.  While I was cooking chicken bewbs, slicing veggies and baking yams, I also undertook to stuff a pork loin with Apple Walnut Cranberry stuffing…………..so easy, so delicious and rather impressive looking!

 

Here's the trussed up meat package.  Regular sized pork loin STUFFED with apples, walnuts and cranberries!

Here’s the trussed up meat package. Regular sized pork loin STUFFED with apples, walnuts and cranberries!

See?  STUFFED!

See? STUFFED!

Held together awesome and tasted amazing!

Held together awesome and tasted amazing!

 

And now…..here we are on Monday morning.  The hubby is working a bunch of overtime this week so I’ll have some alone time.  It’s also the first official week of my Night Run training. I did a route on Friday with Gracie but it was too warm for her and she was suffering halfway through so it became a walk home.  To be honest I was suffering a little more than I thought I would also!  Today I’ll take her for a walk after work, get a snack and then go for the prescribed session.

It’s 12 days until I get 9 whole days off and I cannot wait!

Oil Cleansing Method

oilcleansingmethod.com

http://purifiedskincare.com/oil-cleansing-method/

http://www.crunchybetty.com/nitty-gritty-on-the-oil-cleansing-method

http://wellnessmama.com/7569/skin-oil-cleansing/

 

SELF DIAGNOSIS – I have long thought I had rosacea on my cheeks and then, for a time, thought it was eczema which I get quasi regularly. But my sister helped me figure out that I more than likely had keratosis pilaris on my cheeks.  Basically it’s an excess of keratin that is trapped under the skin.  Keratin is made of skin cells, fat and sebum (skin oil).  So it made complete sense to me that an oil cleansing method (like dissolves like) would work…which it has.  Exfoliating is critical as well in order to reduce any buildup.  Additionally, ensuring that the skin is as moisturized as possible helps considerably because those patches tend towards dryness and that can make it worse

 

I will say that almost all of the online recommendations start with Castor Oil mixed with something else more common like olive oil or sunflower oil.  I also started that way, Castor & Avocado….but I didn’t feel that it was the right combination for me and I decided to experiment with higher quality products.  I found the Castor oil extremely drying and I found the Avocado too heavy…but it was a good intro to the process, definitely and I did see results in the first week, even with that basic formulation.  In the second week I moved to a combo of Sweet Almond Oil and Jojoba for cleansing and Jojoba for moisturizing, both mixed with different essential oils.  My current recipes are still being tweaked as I work out what is right for my skin.  If you are wanting to try the Oil Cleansing Method, you definitely do not need to work in the essential oils, I just chose to give my skin a little extra boost.

W3 Right Side

ESSENTIAL OILS

Lavender: for everything. Oily, dry, flaky, sensitive, promotes hair growth, reduces hair loss, calming.  If you have it, lavender helps/fixes it.  Seriously.  Everything.

Litsea Cubeba: mildly astringent so suitable for acne/oily, uplifting, relieves fatigue, reduces anxiety (can be drying, use in moderation)

Sandalwood 10%: moisturizing & soothing so suitable for dry skin, calming,

Basil: anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, brightens skin & hair, calming, increases blood circulation

Geranium: astringent, reduces inflammation & irritation, improves circulation, speeds healing, cicatrizing (helps scars & spots fade & vanish), promotes hair growth, reduces hair loss

Helichrysum **: antiseptic, anti-microbial, cicatrizing, anti-inflammatory, stimulates new skin tissue growth, calming, soothing to skin, fades redness, soothes dryness

** helichrysum is considered a “precious oil” and as such it is extremely expensive (ranging from $125-$350 for 5ml depending on where you look).  The aromatherapy place in my local mall sells it to me by the drop, $0.68 per drop.

Witch Hazel: not an essential oil but distilled from plants; anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, decreases oil, gently astringent, reduces eye puffiness, constricts blood vessels thereby reducing redness, tightens pores, locks in moisture and very importantly to me, eases eczema!

 

There are a jillion essential oils out there, some brands are better than others and the cost varies.  Not being an expert, I basically researched various oils and made a combination that I felt could work for my skin issues. Basically I figured, “can’t hurt”.  I have a couple different anti-inflammatories and anti-bacterials, a couple that work for oily skin and a couple that are more for dry skin.  Fortunately for me, my particular combinations also happen to smell quite lovely!

W3 Left Side

COST

Truth be told, this was a little pricey to start out, I’m going to estimate approximately $75-$100.  But I will also estimate that all the separate ingredients will last anywhere from 6 – 8 months or longer and in the case of the bottles/pots, they’ll basically last forever or until I break them.

 

  • Jojoba oil, 125ml, $20
  • Sweet Almond Oil, 125ml, $15
  • Essential Oils, 5ml, $5-$8 (litsea, basil, geranium, sandalwood, lavender, helichrysum ($0.68/drop)
  • Bentonite Clay, 2oz, $4
  • Witch Hazel Distillate, 125ml, $8
  • 2 4oz glass bottles w/ droppers, 1 2oz pot, 1 4oz spray bottle $10
  • WHAT ELSE IS HELPING? I haven’t worn makeup since July 11th which I feel can only have helped and I’m starting to feel more confident and accepting of my makeup-free face, especially now that my skin is evening out.  I use a bentonite clay mask once a week for deep detox (bentonite clay mixed with ACV until it’s spreadable, left to dry for 20-30 minutes and then rinsed off) and I very lightly brush baking soda mixed with water or my cleansing oil over my face one morning a week (as far from bentonite day as possible) to help slough off any dead or drying skin.  I try very hard not to touch my face…which is much easier now that my skin is less itchy and irritated.
  • THE PROCESS Every other day before bed (or every day if I’m noticing increased redness or irritation), I do a complete oil cleanse.  Massage the cleansing oil into dry skin for two minutes.  You need to open your pores to let the cleansing oil in to adhere with the “pore gunk” so you can get rid of it, but a hot cloth (as per most of the internet directions) against my face seemed like a bad idea.  So I run a sinkful of very hot tap water, put a towel over my head and, after the first 2 minute oil massage, I steam my face for 2 minutes.  Then I repeat the massage for 2 more minutes and then remove the oil gently with a warm, wet face cloth.  This is followed up by a very cold face cloth right against my skin which feels SO good!  Once the cold cloth is done I gently wipe on Witch Hazel with a little cotton pad and then pat on a good amount of my moisturizing oil and then go to bed.  In the morning I run my wet hands over my face, pat my face dry, repeat the Witch Hazel and then pat on a teensy bit of the moisturizing oil.  That’s it!  As above, there
Bentonite has amazing toxin-drawing properties!

Bentonite has amazing toxin-drawing properties!

  • BENEFITS So far I’ve noticed that my skin feels….more normal and even.  Regular. Not oily.  Not particularly dry.  It looks clearer and the redness and bumps on my cheeks are steadily decreasing.  I didn’t have a huge “detox” reaction which some people notice, I got around 7-10 pimples over the course of a month that I would not normally get in spots that I would not normally see them so I assume that was my detox.  I noticed that by the end of the day I do not have oily patches at my temples or around my nose like I normally would, my whole face is uniform and balanced looking.  I have noticed that my periods of angry-redness are much fewer and further between and the redness in my cheeks seems less and less disturbed by contact with anything.  Before, I would barely brush my cheek and it would flare up and now, nothing.

W3 Front

WHAT SUCKS? Err…nothing?  The number of washcloths that I go through? Seriously though, it’s a really simple and uncomplicated procedure with no chemicals and no obligation towards huge pharmaceutical companies that may or may not be ethically led and which spend millions on advertising to tell you that you aren’t good enough as you are, you NEED their products to live a full and enriched life (sorry, stepping off soap box).

Long post, sorry.

Hot, Sunny Weekend, Packed with People and Food

It seems that this weekend was all about food and visitors for us….some invited/wanted guests and others not so much.

Friday night I got home from work, put on a pot and a crock for bone broth (one chicken, one pork), roasted a chicken, boiled some eggs, made my dinner, made zucchini soup and weeded the front garden. I had so much energy, it was fantastic!  Saturday morning the excess energy continued and I got up at 6am and took Gracie on a 4.5km walk and then made breakfast and we went to our chiropractor appointment.

Zoodles, green beans, sweet onion, cilantro and cooked chicken, all sautéed together.

Zoodles, green beans, sweet onion, cilantro and cooked chicken, all sautéed together.

Since Ray was on call this weekend we couldn’t ride bikes or go anywhere so we headed home after the appointment and cleaned up the house for our (invited) visitors.  We had lunch (zuke soup w/ gluten free sausages and garden tomatoes) and then my mom, my sister and my mom’s cousin came over and spent a few hours chatting and hanging out.  When they left we wandered over to our neighbor’s house to check out their new boat and then came home and made The Best Dinner Ever.

 

Zucchini soup, peri-peri gluten free pork sausages that I bbq'd along with cherry tomatoes.

Zucchini soup, peri-peri gluten free pork sausages that I bbq’d along with cherry tomatoes.

 

FISH TACOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Honestly, they were so easy to make and if you were slightly more prepared than I was, they don’t take very long either.  The most time consuming aspect (15 minutes total) was making all the little tortillas to wrap them in…but those can be made well in advance and then you have about 15 minutes of prep for a tastebud extravaganza!

 

Fish Taco

 

I used this recipe for the actual fish: http://againstallgrain.com/2012/05/03/paleo-fish-tacos/

I used this recipe for the tortillas: http://stupideasypaleo.com/2013/08/23/simple-paleo-tortillas/

I made my own pico de gallo: chopped cherry tomatoes, small diced half a red onion, a handful of cilantro, garlic powder, salt and lime juice.  We used shredded purple cabbage as well.

For the Avocado Cream Sauce I used an Instagram post from ages ago (buzz all in magic bullet….use extra coconut milk if required to loosen it up…also, I used tonnes of cilantro!):

Buzz the ingredients in your magic bullet.  If no bullet, you can mash with a fork for a chunkier "sauce"

Buzz the ingredients in your magic bullet. If no bullet, you can mash with a fork for a chunkier “sauce”

               For the tortillas, I actually quadrupled the recipe to get 20 6” tortillas.  I used a shy quarter cup of batter and “rolled” it in the pan until the tortillas were 5-6” in diameter.  The tortillas hold up PERFECTLY, they don’t tear, they don’t seep, they aren’t eggy or soggy, they don’t stick together, they come out of the pan easily, they are easy to make and if you have leftovers, you can put in a Ziploc bag and the next day they are just as good as the first day!

I highly recommend making this…it’s easy, relatively fast, crazy fresh and flavourful.  It was a huge departure from what we normally eat and we’d never had fish tacos before so it’s possible that we are just ridiculously excited about something that other people eat all the time.  However, I have always been intimidated by making them and it turns out, unfounded!

Anyway, moving on.  Sunday we buzzed over to Ray’s work for a minute and then got an iced coffee for $1 and then came home to (our plan) hang out in the warm, just the two of us.  Ray popped over to our neighbor to drop something off for a minute and I was left alone in the shade with my feet up and my cold kombucha and my book…for about 3 minutes.  Just logn enough to take a deep relaxing breath and wish that a very distant friend lived closer so we could hang out.  As it was, 3 minutes into my relaxing, Ray came back home, pulled his bike out and the entire driveway was covered in bike parts, tools, rags and cardboard.  And then about 2 minutes later Kyle came over, dumped all his helmet, gloves, jacket, riding boots, backpack right on top of my little patio table, knocked over my rose plant that was sitting there and plonked his large sweaty self down beside me on my barely-big-enough-for-me rocking bench.  And then stayed….and stayed…..and stayed…….and I secretly texted Ray and told him not to offer him beer or a snack……but he just kept staying.  When he FINALLY left, I cleaned up my little retreat area to enjoy the last 45 minutes before it was time to go make dinner, turn around and there was our loud, chatty, never-leaves neighbor who stood in our driveway for an hour talking about who-knows-what.  After he’d stolen an hour, I decided that asking Ray to help bath Gracie in the front yard would be enough deterrent and sure enough, off he went.  At least Gracie got a bath out of the deal….and is now soft and smells like coconut!  No sooner did I have her dried off and Chatty Neighbor’s Chatty Wife is standing in our driveway. Honestly, 30 minutes in, I just said it was time to make dinner and went inside and she was STILL standing there talking.  From 2pm until 5pm….no peace, no quiet, no privacy, no relaxation.  Gr.

After dinner (bbq prime rib w/ bbq baked potato and bbq roasted carrots) we sat down for our nightly bone broth and I did my weekly bentonite clay mask.

Bentonite has amazing toxin-drawing properties!

Bentonite has amazing toxin-drawing properties!

I’ve been working very hard on clearing up my skin (keratosis pilaris) and the bentonite clay mask is just one small part of the equation.  I’ll put up a post on the rest of my routine a little later this week…..with before and after pictures that are decently impressive.

I’ll leave you with Super Yum Breakfast, sautéed red cabbage-cilantro-lime-juice topped w/ leftover fish-taco-fish, pico de gallo and avocado cream sauce.  It’s all gone now…..but we’ll be having the whole works again before the summer is over!  Excellent way to jazz up white fish!

 

Leftover taco-fish on sautéed purple cabbage with pico de gallo and leftover avocado sauce

Leftover taco-fish on sautéed purple cabbage with pico de gallo and leftover avocado sauce

August Long Weekend

Shannon:

We enjoyed the hell out of our long weekend away! The weather was fantastic, the wine was delicious (especially so since I have not had any alcohol in months…just haven’t wanted it so it was a lovely treat) and we enjoyed each other’s company immensely. It was a really nice recharge weekend for us and our togetherness. ;)

My riding was excellent and not anxiety-laden at all…which has a bit to do with carbs. I have found that if I am eating more high carb foods, I am more settled and confident in my riding. So…gluten free almond cookies, apples, potato salad, peaches etc. I took one for “the team” and ate more carbs than I’m used to and I felt pretty decent the entire time. Back home now I’m going to hit the veggies hard and try to shake off some of my new love of gluten free cookies.

Enjoy the post!

Originally posted on Half a Pear = A Whole Lotta Nuts!:

For the last 6 years, when the August long weekend rolls around, we pack up and hit the road.  This year with new jobs and no vacation time to speak of, we decided that we would not miss out on our weekend away so in January Ray booked us a room at a little motel that we love in a town about 8 hours riding away.  The weather was gorgeous when we headed out and even though our CB mysteriously stopped working 10 minutes into the trip, we had an awesome ride and seemed to be about 10 minutes behind a rain cloud so the roads were a bit wet but it cooled the air down quite a bit so that was nice.  30km (18 miles) from our destination our luck ran out and we got hailed on.  Well….I got hailed on….Ray was 100 feet ahead of me and he…

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July 28, 2014: Wake The *&##@ Up!

We had a beautiful weekend here, unfortunately I was feeling kind of crappy all weekend.  When I was laying on the bench outside yesterday afternoon and Ray’s son came over and asked why I wasn’t feeling good, I said “sometimes women feel like shit once a month, it’s best to just leave us alone” and he didn’t get it, LOL!  He’s single.

Friday night I jarred all the bone broth (15L, thanks very much!), went to Costco, Liquor Store, Grocery Store and then came home and made potato salad and packed up picnic ingredients for Saturday morning.  I wasn’t feeling too awful on Saturday morning so I got up at 5:30am and took Gracie for a 4.4km walk (2.75 miles) and then went home, finished putting together the picnic, showered and we headed out on a day ride.  My first ride out of the area with Jezebel (who is now actually nameless since Ray buffed her name off the fender last night).  We were both really, REALLY looking forward to it, the weather was gorgeous and we were more than ready to get our cruise on.  We got about 90 minutes from home and stopped for gas and we should have just called it a day and gone home.  I’d gotten hit with a wicked headache and cramps and instead of listening to my inner self beg to go home and go to bed, I sucked it up, took an Advil and we pushed on….for another 3 hours.  When we were at our turnaround spot for lunch I realized what  huge mistake I’d made.  Now I was easily 5 hours from home in the heat with a borderline migraine and killer cramps…and no way to get back home but to ride.  Not cool.  Along our route there are 7 tunnels and every time we went into one, going from light to dark and back to light was like a hot poker in my brain.  Nice, right?

With around 2 hours left to go before we got home, all of a sudden I heard a voice in my head say, “Wake the Fuck Up! Sit up Straight, Pay Attention And Look Where You Want To Go!”.  If you don’t happen to ride a motorcycle you may not know…but it’s something you can’t really be lazy with.  It’s not like driving a car and zoning out or relaxing back in the seat.  Not at all.  It’s push, pull, lean, look, assessing each corner, your speed, your gear, the road condition, the oncoming traffic (especially around a left hand corner, you’d be shocked how many people cross the centre line).  It’s watching for rocks, wildlife, the person in front of you and the one behind you.  The only thing protecting you from disaster is your own skill and the clothes you’re wearing.  I’m not trying to be alarmist, not at all….but zoning out and not engaging in the process is a recipe for disaster. So anyway, once I sat up straight and took charge, things improved a lot. I still felt like shit and still just wanted to be at home…but I felt more in control and my riding performance definitely showed that.

Since I was all alone on my bike with nothing but my thoughts to keep me company I thought about how that relates to the rest of life.  Wake the Fuck Up, Sit Up Straight, Pay Attention and Look Where You Want To Go.  Engage with what you’re doing, give the right inputs so you get the right results.  Don’t just coast along, hoping.  Don’t look at the pavement right in front of you; at 100km/h (or the speed of life, whichever), what is 10 feet ahead is already happening and there is nothing you can do to change it.  Look AHEAD, as far up the road as you can, plan for what you can see, anticipate what you cannot.  There is no point in making panicky, last second alterations to your path because it’s ultimately a wasted effort. Better off, less energy and less potential for disaster if you can look way ahead, see what’s coming and have plenty of time to plan for it.  And so it goes in life, too, right?

Anyway….my bike-musings aside, after we got home on Saturday I was basically done.  DONE.  I went to bed at 8:30 after having a bbq hamburger patty, some broth and another Advil.  Slept until 9:30 on Sunday and called off a visit with my sister. As I texted to her, I loved the idea of having her come over and hang out but I really just wanted to be left alone.  Really, really alone.  Not ideal visiting situation.  Fortunately, she completely understood!  After a long coffee on Sunday morning we went out and picked up the new suspension for my bike to lower it and then came home and I did some cooking and otherwise sitting about while Ray worked on it.  Around 7:30 I was feeling a bit better so we went for a quick ride to ice cream and so I could test out the changes he’d made.  I love it!  The kit lowered it by almost 2 full inches which is fantastic and hopefully makes it a bit more manageable for me.  I’m no tiny woman but I’m not a 6’6” man either and having the bike lowered is only going to make it nicer for me.

This week the weather is supposed to be beautiful so my early am dog walk/jogs are still holding strong (another 4.5km this am) and in the evenings we’ll be tidying up the house and getting ready to spend a long weekend away…travelling on our bikes.  It’s just for three days but we’re very looking forward to it!

Do It!

What the….?  I had at least 1000 words in my head every day last week and now this week….nothing.  Blank.  I checked my phone to see if I’d taken pictures of anything in the last few days…..nothing.  What the heck has been going on?  Just….hanging out.  Early morning dog walks, morning coffee with the husband, working (sort of), sitting in the sun (except today in the bucketing rain), making and bottling kombucha, taking the dog to the vet, cooking.  All the things that make up a life….that are dead dull to write about!

The weather has been a bit spotty this past week, overcast, on and off cold, on and off rain, darker in the mornings that it was even 2 weeks ago.  It got me thinking about fall and winter (I KNOW, we’re not even to August yet, there’s still LOTS of summer to go) and what I might want to do in the fall/winter.  I thought maybe I would get back to cross stitching, I used to really like that.  Or maybe reading more regularly?  Maybe my sister could teach me how to knit?  Or quilt? None of those really spoke to me though.  I kept trying to drown it out but over the last week a little voice that I’ve been beating into submission for years, somehow gained some strength and started getting a little louder. 

“Do it.  You know you want to.  Do it.  You can totally do it.  You have always wanted to do it.  There is no reason you can’t do it.  Other people do it all the time.  Stop being scared and just DO IT!”

What is “it”?  [Seriously….cannot believe I’m about to put this out into the world]…………the “it” that I have always wanted to do and have always been too scared to try….is a triathlon.  A sprint distance triathlon; 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run. 

SBR

It’s terrifying to contemplate; swimming in open water with tonnes of other people, the transitions, the training, fueling, what to wear, swimming, the cost, the swimming….all terrifying.  I’m totally going to do it though and I’ve already picked out my triathlon and my “support crew” for it.  The one I want to do is in mid July in Penticton, about a 3 hour drive away.  My support crew is my sister and as I said to her, being my support team involves travelling there, checking out the venue/package pickup the day before, helping to calm my nerves, standing around for 2.5 hours waiting for me to finish, taking pictures and then celebrating afterwards.  Pretty easy job, if you ask me!

So the things that are freaking me out?

SWIMMING – I know how to swim.  Errr….I knew how to swim?  Once?  A really long time ago?  Errr….I won’t drown immediately if tossed into deep water?  Ya.  There’s that.  I have no background in swimming for sport or exercise.  But I have basically a year to figure it out and practice.  And, I’m very lucky because we have a huge aquatic centre about a 5 minute walk (or 2 minute drive) from our house. 

Pool Map

I’m a tad unlucky thought because right now their schedule permits lane swimming between 6am – 7am and 9pm – 10pm daily.  Not the best hours and I’m hoping in the fall the schedule changes a bit…but even if it doesn’t, I could actually make this work.  There’s also the problem of open water training, learning to swim in a straight line, sighting so you don’t get lost, not panicking.  Again, I may be lucking out in this, there is an open water triathlon drop in coaching group at a lake about 20 minutes away who have coaches in the water and on paddleboards giving assistance and training. 

TRANSITIONS – these are where you change gear between swim and bike and between bike and run.  From what I can tell there is a bit of an art to doing it and since I have no frame of reference, it freaks me the hell out.  Fortunately there are thousands of blogs and articles on the internet that give tips and tricks and training on how to set yourself up.

TRAINING – this doesn’t really scare me like swimming and transitions do…but it’s always been a hold up to committing to doing it.  Where would I find the time? And the commitment?  How long would I have to train for? Am I going to die?  There aren’t enough (daylight) hours in the day, do I really want to make this sort of time commitment against my evenings and weekends?  Because while I want to do a triathlon which would take up a weekend of my life and, acutely, 2-3 hours, “doing a triathlon” actually involves “doing it” for several months.  Right now I’m planning to learn the swimming over the winter months (October – March), and then focus on practice/training the bicycle March and April and focus on training the run in May and June.  Since I’ve basically given myself an entire year to get prepared for this I feel more comfortable with being able to have a more relaxed “training schedule” rather than trying to cram it all into three months, 6 days/week.  Not cool, I already know I would be unlikely to succeed at that.

FUELING/WHAT TO WEAR – again, because I have no frame of reference, it’s all a bit of an unknown…but not enough to make me not do it.

COST – this is going to be pricey.  A swimming pass for 4 months is going to run me $175.  The drop-in cost for the open water coaching group is $15/visit and I anticipate going 6 times at least ($90).  The race fee itself is around $100, the fuel, hotel, food is going to be around $300 and I anticipate about $200 in “stuff” that comes up, swim goggles, bike shorts etc.  So…..fulfilling a life goal is going to cost me a year in preparation and close to $1000 in cost.  Once again, good thing I have a year to sort myself out!

The last thing that concerns me now (which never bothered me before….because I was much more insane back then) is the MENTAL ASPECT.  Can I train and commit and fuel for a year in a manner that is respectful of my body and mind and not get sucked into an obsessive spiral of weight, fitness, appearance and perfection?  Can I knock down the angry voice that tells me “why bother”, “you can’t”, “don’t waste your time” and the scared voice that tells me to sit on the couch and self-medicate my fear with chocolate?

I’m going to do it.  I’ve been visualizing doing it, visualizing swimming 2-3 days a week in the winter, visualizing a healthy mental state, visualizing being excited about it and visualizing finishing it strong.  I’m going to do it.