What’s that Smell

On her way to Las Vegas to meet up with me, my sister suffered a major essential oil mishap. An almost full bottle of Geranium broke in her carry-on. And so began the best-smelling hotel experience of my life. See, my sister and I shared a room and our bathroom contained the remains of her Geranium, sealed in a Ziplock baggie. So, I did what any normal(ish) person would do, I wished that I too had whichever ailment one treats with this heavenly smelling liquid. Then I did some reading.

It seems that Geranium is used for anything from stress and anxiety to acne. It is anti-bacterial, makes your skin look healthy and radiant, reduces blackheads, tones muscles, improves circulation and many more. (Here’s a good article.)

I have been using it exclusively post-wax. No more coconut oils or whatever that little blue vial is that comes in the wax box. Just this Geranium Essential Oil. It has reduced my ingrowns and other wax-related owies (TMI?) by tons! And seriously, I get told “you smell nice” without fail, EVERY time. I’ve been using it religiously in my hair too! I added a few drops to my conditioner and also massage a few drops into my ends while it’s still wet. I don’t even care if it helps with anything, I just know my pillow smells amazing!

Ava

There’s this girl I know…

She is awesome. She is kind, funny, smart, sweet and beautiful. Oh, and she’s five. I met her in a prenatal yoga class, back when she was still baking in her mama’s belly, and since we live in a small community, we’d see each other around town occasionally. Last September, she started Kindergarten, and now Ava and my daughter, Alice are classmates and great friends.

Here’s the thing about Ava though. I’m sure she has her moments of being tired or grumpy, but for the most part, Ava always makes me smile because Ava is always smiling. She oozes kindness and generosity, loves her friends and loves to chat. When I think of Ava, I think about a happy, well-balanced girl who loves life, is loved fiercely by MANY, and whose number one mission, is having fun. (I’m also sensing that she will grow up to be a champion for women’s rights and equality which makes me love her even more! Yay for strong women!)

Wouldn’t that be a great way to be thought about? To not care about social constructs and expectations, but rather about doing what makes your soul dance?

My challenge to you is to be the Ava you want to see in the world. Be wild, be free, be kind. Dance when your song comes on. Sing, even when you don’t know the lyrics. And host a fancy dress-up party for your friends on a random Friday, just because you feel like it! Five-year-olds have the right idea. I’m not sure when the rest of us forgot it, because we were all five at some point. Go out today and find your inner Kindergartener.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go help my own five-year-old decide which princess dress she is wearing today. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll let her pick out mine too!

Resolutions

April! That’s when I wrote my last entry. So much has happened since then – good, bad and ugly – but between all the eating (so. much. eating.), living and running, I haven’t been finding time for writing. And boy, have I missed it! (Fun fact: in high school, I was the school paper nerd and my dream job was freelance journalism.)

This year has been an interesting ride. One of self-discovery and hard lessons, but also one filled with new, amazing friendships, travelling and, as always, laundry. I set out to complete 6 half marathons in 2018, and since I have no plans for running 21.1km in the next 22 hours, it is safe to say that I fell short by ONE. But I’m okay with that. I ran in Vancouver, Victoria and Vegas this year, as well as some races (and virtual races) at home. All in all, I’m proud of my accomplishments and have no ragrets – not even one letter. 😉

This post is both the last one of the year, but also the first one of my return to blogging. It should include my goals and hopes and dreams for 2019, but I don’t really have a set list of those. It’s more like a living document – a growing list. Resolutions get a bad reputation since 84% of resolutions end up being abandoned by February, but I still like the idea of sitting down and reflecting on what was in order to grow. And if that “reflection and goal setting” happens on December 31st, then so be it. A friend of mine recently hosted a Solstice Party where they did just that! They wrote down what was holding you back and weighing you down, in order to make room in your heart and life for better things to come.

I do have a few wishes for the next year. I hope to get back into a better routine of making time for myself – running, lifting weights and blogging being the three main self-care activities I want to focus on. I hope to relearn waking up early since an earlier start in the day really does help me accomplish MUCH more. I hope to make many more memories with our amazing group of friends. I hope to be a good, strong role model for my girls. I hope to continue reading amazing, inspired books. I hope 2019 is amazing!

When it just doesn’t work…

In recipes, as in life, things sometimes just don’t work out. Backyard parties get rained out, alarms don’t go off when they should, boxed eggwhites just can’t get stiff enough, or you know, you were sick for the last two weeks of your training cycle. Sometimes bad things happen to (mostly) good people. And then what?

I have learned to embrace plan B. When you live in a place that gets wet more than the front two rows of the Dolphin Exhibit at Sea World, you actually have to, since it will quite litterally be a sink or swim situation if you don’t. But it is amazing what a positive attitude and a bit of perspective can bring to the table.

This, for instance, is a pavlova I made today. I asked myself this morning: “Self, can one make pavlova out of boxed eggwhites?” As it turns out, one cannot. Well, not perfect pavlova. But cut it in squares, add cream and strawberries, layer and voila! Plan B Pavlova!

I try to view everything in my life as a learning opportunity. A chance for growth and knowledge. This doesn’t make me immune to heartache or disappointment, but it definitely helps me move through the hard times. Keep in mind, I did say that I “try” to be all enlightened and mindful of the unplanned crap. It’s not always easy! Here are a few strategies that work for me:

Plan: Use the calendar on your phone or fridge, but write your intentions down! If you want to run, schedule it in! Writing goals down make you 83% more likely to achieve them. (Totally made that statistic up, but it could very well be true.

Prepare: Make sure you have everything you need to achieve your goal. The running gear, the childcare, the rain jacket that you left in the truck – go fetch it! So that when it’s time to move, you aren’t using your unpreparedness as an excuse.

Be accountable: People who use apps like Runkeeper or Garmin or Nike+ often get made fun of for posting every run. People might get annoyed, but they are free to unfollow you if it bothers them that much. I know for me, having a few friends kinda get used to my running posts when I just started up, made them ask me “what’s up” when I don’t run for a while. I personally don’t post every run on Social Media anymore, but I do talk about my plans and goals in person and on my blog. Feel free to ask me about them! It makes me accountable to more than just myself.

Reward: This one works for me, but not everyone would be quite this juvenile in their motivators, but boy, do I love a prize! Haha. A participant medal, a race shirt, a cold, free beer at the finish line… Hmmmm! Or sometimes, a promise to myself, like a massage (although I’m a little nervous about tomorrow’s hip/glute massage – ouch), a pedicure or a new running gadget. Try to avoid food rewards though. Beer isn’t food.

Sometimes it’s not the Pavlova you wanted, but it teaches you something you didn’t know. Sometimes it’s not a Sub2 Half Marathon, but you made a friend along the way. Sometimes it’s not exactly a “good meal” but it contains eggs and fruit and tomorrow is your birthday, so you eat it anyway. Life has a way of working itself out if we stop focusing on how we thought it was going to be.

Running and Mandarin

Yesterday was my first half marathon of the year. 2016/2017 Karin would tell you it was awful! My left hip/butt pain was severe, I have a huge blister on my foot and for some reason, I was SO incredibly dehydrated that I considered filling my water bottles in the garbage infused stream next to the highway. But that chick has LEFT the building. 2018 Karin LOVED it!

I had goals going in: Finish it and beat my previous time for a half. And even though it was hard because, you know, hills and bronchitis, I did both of those! I viewed this race as a teaching opportunity for the other halves this year anyway. And OH MY did I ever learn lots. I learned EXACTLY where my weaknesses are and am super pumped about working on them in the months to come.

See, what I learned was that I am as skilled in speaking Mandarin and french braiding my own hair as I am in running up killer hills. (Spoiler alert: I can’t braid my own hair at all!) But the great thing about it is that it’s not impossible to learn! And as intimidated as I am by the thought of flying up hills like the amazing Adrienne Kaul who won the woman’s race in 1:30:05 – I can at least learn to shuffle a little faster! And shuffle I will! The other area I need to work on is pacing. I have two modes apparently – sloth or rabbit. So in the next few months, I’ll be working on installing the other settings in my speed control: turtle, labrador, feral cat and backyard chicken. Wish me luck!

The three things that I will remember about yesterday’s run (apart from the running lessons) are the moments that made my tired body almost tear up:

Thing 1: I was recognised! 🙂 An amazing runner from Prince Rupert (who I ran with for a little while before she KILLED it on the kills and crossed the finish line about a month before me) said “You’re Karin, right? I follow you on IG and read your blog!” I was so happy to hear that she enjoys my posts and it definitely reminded me to GO, to run and to experience the moment. My husband took some photos yesterday and looking through them now, I see Bailey smiling and chatting away in almost every shot. She is a happy runner. A kind and friendly mother runner! What a great feeling to know that I can inspire such an amazing girl!

Thing 2: Jamie Freaking Komadina. This girl! She is an actual rock star. Jamie is one of Prince Ruperts strongest runners. She is a marathoner and currently training for a full. She shares so much wisdom and realness about her training on her blog and is just an all-around awesome person. But Jamie had a sh*t run yesterday. Literally. She had so many goals for the race, and the stars just weren’t aligning. She got sick but persevered. Then she stopped (I passed her at the 12km mark, standing by the side of the road) but in classic Jamie fashion, she started again. And here’s the moment I would have cried if I wasn’t so dehydrated: At about 18km, there was another hill. And I was walking again. And suddenly, who would appear behind me, but Jamie. And not running for herself – coaching another runner. Motivating, pep-talking and helping with tips on posture and breathing. So while in agonising pain, physically and emotionally, Jamie helped. She smiled and encouraged and crossed the finish line with her friend. THAT is a great runner!

Thing 3: As I was running into the finish line, my husband and daughters were standing by a lamp post, cheering me on. Their little faces (well, Adam’s is regular sized) were just SO amazing to see. But that’s not the best part! As I ran past, Alice yells: “Can we run with you?” There weren’t any other runners right behind me at that point, so I said YES! And there, 21km into my race, I was joined by the cutest two runners I ever did see. They ran the last 100m, crossing the finish line behind me. I was SO happy! To be done and to take off my shoes, yes, but to see that I inspire THEM. Because isn’t that the ultimate goal. 🙂

 

Curveballs and Snowballs

BOOM! In a matter of two days, we went from “Phew, it’s finally spring!” to “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”. Sunday we spent a wonderful, sunny morning at the lake, finding easter eggs and being merry. Yesterday was mildly grey, but not terribly cold – we even got outside and did some weeding in the afternoon. But today, we woke up to snow. And the longer you stay awake, the snowier it got.

Naturally, everybody’s Facebook walls were instantly bombarded with more photos of the snow. But a plan is a plan, and I planned on running a slow 5k after dropping my kids at school, so away I went. Slow, snowy, but SO pretty! (I was NOT pretty after my run, but the accumulated snow in my mom-bun was pretty impressive.)

As I have learned in life, relationships and running – $&@# happens! You trust someone and BAM, they let you down. You responsibly use the hand free texting on your phone while driving and BAM, the policeman sees you pick up the phone to see if it sent. And this morning, you planned on a fun springtime run in preparation for Sunday’s race and BAM, 8cm of snow and a full-on blizzard in your face. BAM! BAM! BAM!

But life (and relationships and running) is all about choices. YOU choose your path. YOU choose your attitude. YOU choose your actions. So for me this morning, I chose to yell “plot twist” and go with it. I came home, iced my legs, had a shower and put on my favourite sweater that I had almost retired for the season.

All dried off, feeling good after running despite the change in weather plans and the Big Guy upstairs pelting me with snowballs.

It’s SO easy to give up. It’s SO easy to find an excuse. I know! I spent October 2016 – September 2017 finding every excuse not to run. And it’s not just true about running. Start small, but reach your goals. Curveballs are just an opportunity to grab your bat and HIT THEM OUT OF THE PARK.

Run Happy

Today was BEAUTIFUL! It started with an amazingly fun egg hunt and hot dog roast at the Lake, followed by another egg hunt in our backyard. And then when my family went to go swim at the pool, I cleaned the house, did the laundry and then couldn’t contain myself anymore, so I got dressed, and went for a stunning little run.

It’s amazing how nice a happy run feels. Compared to the “I’m not feeling it today”-runs. And I’ve had some of those lately. In the grey, cold, slushy season. Don’t get me wrong, once I get running and at the end of a run, I’m always happy, but sometimes, my mood at the start can make or break it.

I’m a week away from running my first half marathon of 2018. My first since October 2016. I’m not nearly as prepared as I would have liked to be, on account of having been sick. But here’s the thing: I can choose to be all sad and angry about it, knowing that I’ll likely not beat my previous time OR I can run happy! Because I run for the enjoyment of it. I run because my body CAN. Because it keeps me fit and makes me feel alive. So that’s what I’m going to do. Come April 8th, I am running HAPPY. Pacing myself, not chasing any records, just plain old running. Because running is freaking awesome!

When the Stars Align

Um, spoiler alert: They rarely do! Correction. They never do!

There is actually NEVER a perfect time for things to happen. Because, as everybody over the age of 14 is well aware, there is no true “perfect”. I still choose to live my life finding perfection, it’s just my perception that has shifted.

The perfect day is a regular old day that starts out with messy hair and morning breath and ends with your eyebrows washed off when you exhaustedly flop onto your bed. What makes it perfect, is all the mundane moments in between that you soak up and enjoy, because it’s YOUR mundane moments. It’s about letting go of how things “should” be, and just laughing at how they turn out. It’s YOUR life. It’s YOUR happiness. And as I have learned this, I have learned to translate perfection into my running.

Is there a perfect run? Maybe? Maybe there is a day that the weather is JUST right, your activewear is on point, you had wonderful sleep and just the right amount of nutritionally balanced breakfast. You tie up your amazingly comfortable running shoes, listen to the best ever playlist and go. Running pain-free and as fast as the wind, you are able to go past your previous furthest distance, break your previous fastest time and come home to a clean house, happy children and a husband holding some freshly squeezed orange juice and post-run muffins he made from scratch. All I know is today is NOT that day.

Today is my first run in a WEEK. I feel anxious, 4lb heavier (turns out I replaced running with snacking), my right knee is super sore for some unexplained reason and low and behold, we woke up to fresh snow. But here is why it will be perfect. Because I can run! Not amazingly fast or effortless. My activewear is not on point. I’m wearing last night’s mascara as today’s eyeliner. And coming home, my kids will likely still be running around in their underwear. But it will be perfect because it is my first run in a long time. It is my first run after being sick and I’m celebrating being better. I’m happy that the 4lb I’m carrying with me is a testament to the fun nights I’ve had this week with friends. I am happy that my sore knee will feel better once the endorphins kick in. I’m excited to listen to my awesome audiobook again – something I only ever have time for when I run.

Today’s run will likely be an embarrassingly slow and short Strava entry, but it will be MINE. My perfectly imperfect run. Take it, own it and be happy that you CAN.

Far North

Firstly, yes I am aware that there are many, many communities further north than ours, so spare me the geography lesson. For the most part, I enjoy small town living. I love the mountains, the trails, the fresh air. I love being able to afford a decent-sized house, a backyard and you know, still have money for food. But there are a few things about city life that really appeals to me. Not even living IN a city, but just being closer than an $800 flight or a 14-hour drive.

  1. Anonymity: Date night or going out dancing is less freeing when you know every other person in the restaurant. Sometimes you just want to dance like no-one’s watching or wear that inappropriately short dress, but knowing that your mail lady, the cashier from Safeway and your daughter’s preschool teacher is sitting at the table in the corner really puts a damper on things.
  2. Movie Night: We have two cinemas in town. So two featured movies. Also, the theatre’s bathrooms have carpeted walls. I’ll leave it at that.
  3. Races: City runners have options! There are regularly well-organized races from 5K’s to ultra marathons. MEC has amazing race series that gradually builds, so you start the season with a couple 5’s and then build up to 10, 15 and 21.1. For us in the north, competing in big city races means flights, accommodation and race entry, so by the end of the weekend, you’re looking at probably over $1000.

Since I’m all about finding solutions to my problems and overcoming obstacles, this is what I’ve found helps. For anonymity, might I suggest a disguise?

Or, alternatively, you can just learn to OWN IT. As my friend Brian tells me, “you do you”. If you want to dance like a maniac to your 90’s jam at your husband’s Christmas party – DO IT. If you want to wear the dress that is too short, just wear the damn thing. Who really cares if your underwear shows? (Maybe don’t wear it to parent-teacher night, but by all means, the DJ at the bar won’t judge.)

As for movie night… Ya, I got nothing. Maybe find a friend with a big TV? The nice thing about watching movies at home is:

a) you can pause when you have to pee

b) popcorn is cheaper

c) no annoying pre-teens talking in the row behind you

d) wine

And this brings me to races! There are a few things you can do to optimize your racing opportunities in the north. Firstly, sign up for EVERYTHING your local running club organizes. The more people run, the better the races, generally speaking. Secondly, budget for a few away-runs. Maybe make a girls trip or a family vacation out of it. Use Airmiles, Hotwire or Airbnb and sign up! Away runs are fun and worth it! And thirdly, and I’m new to this one – virtual races! I recently signed up for Virtual Strides. It syncs with your Strava account and a portion of every race entry goes toward a charity. I did a 10K race with proceeds going toward Doctors without Borders. As soon as I finished the run, I uploaded my results and they mailed me a freaking cool medal.

My goal for this year was to run six half marathons. I have signed up to run 3 away races, but might find a few friends to run the other three locally with me, using the Virtual Strides app! If you want to join me from wherever in the world you are, send me a message.

Getting Real

On Saturday, I ran my first race of 2018. Just a 5km, BUT I finished in my own personal best time for a 5km, of 25:09! Pretty proud of that but, here I sit, eighteen days to go before the first half marathon of the year and my training has screeched to a stop. I have bronchitis. And as everybody knows, ain’t nobody got time for that! This is MEGA inconvenient (and mega painful and depressing). Taking this long a break, this shortly before a race is running suicide, but pushing my heart rate up for extended periods of time while sick, could be actual suicide. So I rest.

That means I am left with two choices – neither of which I am particularly excited about making. a) I withdraw from the race or b) I forget about actually running it well, and just go run it.

In my mind, I wanted to improve on my previous (and only) half marathon time, but at this point, my goal has shifted to “just finish it”. So, apart from a week of rest, antibiotics and self-pity, there isn’t much I can do to change my current predicament. So I reluctantly roll with it. I’ll walk bits if I need to, but come April 8th, I will run 21.1km and I don’t care about my finishing time. I’m seeing it as a long run practice for the other half marathons I will run this year.

Happy thoughts and lung-healing remedies are always welcomed! Until next time!