Thursday, April 26, 2012

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

Paralyze resistance with persistence.
- Woody Hayes

There are times when the world can feel like a crazy place.  It can feel unpredictable, unstable and seemingly unfair.  Several people have been impacted by challenging conditions such as lay-offs, illnesses and other anomalies which have forced them to make choices they never anticipated.   

In the face of such adversity, there’s been no better time than now to seek the empowerment which can be found in our ability to choose.  It’s vital to push through “what is” if we’d like to catch a glimpse of “what is possible”.    Easier said than done, right?  No, not really.  I’m not immune to the tough times that have stopped some people dead in their tracks and left them at a crossroad.  While hiding under my duvet is a tempting option on some days, it won’t get me to where I want to go. In the words of Sean Combs, “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop”.

Conceding to “what is” can paralyze our ability to dream and to see the good that can be salvaged from the rubbles of hardship.  If tears are threatening to fall and you feel like your grip on life is a bit slipping,  remember that this is just a moment in time.  What you decide to do with the next one can make all the difference.

This post has been dedicated to those who are in the midst of a rather trying time.

I’m thinking of you.

Until next time, friends.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

CG Spotlight: Ladies on the Run

"Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."
- Lou Holtz

On the days when tying up my shoe laces, getting out the door and putting in a good workout is a challenge, I like to pump myself up with some inspiration.  For some people, inspiration can be found in a song, a quote or something seemingly random to anyone else.  In my case, inspiration can be found through my direct line to some pretty fabulous women who motivate me to “get my sweat on”.   

Last month I had the chance to chat with Nicole Blake about love, life and health.  As I prepare to run the 5K race in May I realized that I could use some insight from a few women that have made running a part of their lifestyle.  The result was a fun Q & A with a couple of women in my circle, Carlene and Laura.  Like so many of us, these beautiful, intelligent and funny ladies-on-the-go lead busy schedules but still make time to honour their health with some good ol’ cardio. 

Carlene Y.

Age: 34

Q: Why do you run?  
A: I started running because I wanted to be more fit.  I think that runners have really sexy fit bodies and I was hoping to achieve that as well.  Accepting that my body is the way that it is and isn't going to change (partly because of frozen yogurt, pizza and pasta)...  I run because it gives me time to completely clear my head.  While I'm running, I'm so focused on my form, my breathing and making it up that hill that all of the stress from work, school and life just disappears.

Q: What is your all time running goal?
A: For a long time, my all time running goal was to complete the Sporting Life 10km Race in Toronto.  My new goal is to complete the GoodLife Half Marathon in Toronto.  With that, it may be better to say that my ALL TIME running goal, is to not give up on my whatever it is I'm working towards.

Q: What’s your" must-have" running item?
A: My "must-have" running item is Burts Bees Chapstick!!  

Q: Which song pumps you up before a race?
A: The best song to pump me up before a race and when I'm starting to get tired is "Where Are You" by Our Lady Peace

Q: What has been your most rewarding running moment?
A: Finishing the Sporting Life 10km in May 2011.  I signed up for the race three times before I worked up the courage to run it.  I was really afraid of failing.  I actually cried a little when I finished.  I was exhausted and so overwhelmed with emotion.

Q: What is one of your favourite quotes of all time? 
A: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined”. -Thoreau

Laura S.

Age: 37

Q: Why do you run?
A: [I run to] clear my head, de-stress and wave at other runners!

Q: What is your all time running goal?
A: To keep running!

Q: What’s your" must-have" running item?
A: For a race, a Garmin watch but for everyday runs [it would be] music! [I] must also have clothes that don't drive me nuts when running.

Q: Which song pumps you up before a race?
A: Anything [kind of] dance music :)

Q: What is one of your favourite quotes of all time? 
A: "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened"- Dr. Seuss

I’m grateful for the thoughts and enthusiasm that these women shared with me and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to run with them in the future.  You know that I’ll be blogging about it!

Are you doing something fabulous that you’d like to share with me?  Drop me a line!  I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time, friends...

Monday, April 16, 2012

How Do You Like Your Eggs?

Years ago I rented and watched a romantic comedy movie starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere called “Runaway Bride” (please reserve any judgments that you may have regarding my taste in movies until after reading this post).  Over half of the movie seems to be spent watching Julia’s character, Maggie Carpenter, elude a series of her own wedding ceremonies due to her fear of commitment but that is not what this post is about.  Instead, I’m writing about a small part of the movie where Richard Gere’s character Ike Fisher (in a moment of frustration) turns around and screams at Maggie, “You don’t even know how you like your eggs!”
For those who haven’t seen this movie, Ike was referring to Maggie’s inability to be true to who she really is.  She was completely consumed with being every man’s “ideal woman” that she quickly forgets who she is and what she wants for herself.
Years later in moments of reflection, I still find myself asking,  “How do you like your eggs?”
Stepping away from the crowd and doing your own thing often requires courage. 
·         It can take courage to dress a certain way.
·         It can take courage to move far from home.
·         It can take courage to love someone “different”
·         It can take courage to speak your truth
·         It can take courage to show your pain
·         It can take courage to step outside the lines of cultural norms.
Courage resides within us all but only a few will rise to its call.
For some people, living by a code of authenticity is second nature.  Their confidence regarding who they are is unwavering and evident to anyone that crosses their path.  There are other people (such as myself) that have taken more of a “late-bloomer” approach along the path of self-discovery.  Looking back at my youth I now see so many areas where I let my life be influenced and modified by the preferences of other people. Music that I listened to, clothes that I wore, events that I went to and occasionally groups that I joined.  It was all in the pursuit of acceptance and a sense of belonging.
A big part of life’s beauty can be found in our personal evolution.  Since moving through my 30’s I’ve began to wonder how I liked my eggs now and so the sampling began!  The lessons that I’ve learned about myself to date have been rewarding,   painful, surprising, and funny but the best part is that these lessons belong to me.  It’s liberating to unload the burden of living for everyone else when faced with the payoff of living for yourself – on your own terms.
Take some time out this week to find out how you like your eggs.  I hope you enjoy exploring the endless possibilities.
Until next time, friends!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Toddler, His Tantrum and Precious Moments Captured In Time

A few months ago a very dear friend of mine, Samantha, gave me a gift certificate for a professional photo session with the very talented Alice Beaudoin.  After I thanked her profusely, I quickly tucked the present away in a safe place and quietly plotted an opportune time to use it.

This past March my son, Tyson, turned eighteen months old and that seemed to mark the perfect occasion for a portrait.  I contacted Alice, arranged the logistics and all that I needed to do was bring a toddler to the set that was:

·         Well rested
·         Clean
·         Fed and
·         Smiling

I wish it had been that easy.  An error in judgment (actually, in scheduling) on my part resulted in Tyson having his eighteen month immunizations the day before the picture were to be taken. Consequently, on the morning of picture day he was:

·         Overtired
·         Ticked off
·         Lacking an appetite
·         Mildly irritable

(On the upside, I was still able to present a clean child!)

We arrived at our scheduled time and Alice graciously welcomed us.  She gave Tyson time to walk around and become familiar with her and the new environment.  He slowly started to relax but as soon as he caught a glimpse of the camera equipment and the props, all bets were off.   His charming grin quickly turned into a mischievous smirk and his two little hands moved with the speed of eight.  Before Alice could take the first shot, Tyson was off running and showed no signs of slowing down.  He took particular interest in items that were expensive and fragile.   To top things off, he occasionally stopped to crumble to the ground and start screaming for what appeared to be no reason.  He was a HOT MESS! I repeated the phrase, “NO TYSON!” about a thousand times and tried to bribe him with fruit snacks, crackers, hugs and kisses... all to no avail.

Even though the scene unfolding before her had all the makings of an Advil commercial (or perhaps birth control), Alice was patient, professional and supportive.  Her husband popped in to say hello during all of the commotion and he generously offered to entertain Tyson in a way that the toys I brought couldn’t.  He made funny faces, jumped up around and made Tyson smile.  Quite a bit of hard work was put in by everyone and it paid off.  Alice captured some beautiful shots but don’t take my word for it, you can be the judge....

Courtesy of Alice Beaudoin Photography

Courtesy of Alice Beaudoin Photography

Courtesy of Alice Beaudoin Photography

Courtesy of Alice Beaudoin Photography

Courtesy of Alice Beaudoin Photography

I’m very happy with the results of that fateful afternoon.  Considering the circumstances surrounding his demeanour, Tyson was a trooper and I now have tangible evidence of a few precious moments captured in time.  Alice was nothing short of a true professional and I would recommend her work to anyone seeking a talented photographer who can capture the essence of a personality in one shot.
I leave you with one piece of advice. Spontaneity every now and again can be great but I don’t endorse it when it comes to preparing a toddler for a photo shoot.  Do a bit of research to get ready for it or if you don’t have time, just click here for some helpful tips.

If you are interested in being connected with Alice to discuss her work or to book an appointment, just drop me a line.  Thanks for sharing in yet another epic adventure....

Until next time, friends!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Counting Down!

Time waits for no one.  I don’t know where the last couple of weeks and months have gone!  I’m still training for the Ottawa 5K run coming up in forty days.  That’s right, people, 40 days!  I’m riding the fine line between excited and anxious about this race.  Luckily I’ve armed myself with a few must haves to get me to the starting line (ideally past the finish line) in fine form:

1)      A new title – Joining the Learn to Run Clinic at the Running Room was great for getting me prepped for the race but I still wasn’t convinced that I would show up consistently.  So many excuses creep in when you’re looking for reasons to creep out of something such as a sick child, bad weather, PMS, and the list goes on and on.  To ensure that I could not back out of even one run, I recently volunteered to be one of two Group Leaders!  Every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday until May 26th, I’m helping to get (and keep) people moving while also shouting out the times to start and stop.  It’s an exhilarating, fun way to meet new people and this which makes a great segue for item number 2....

2)      Running Partners – A lot of people enjoy the peace and solitude of the morning run.  While I include myself in that group on occasion, nothing beats the camaraderie that can be found within a duo or a pack of runners.  I’m quickly learning that there’s a motivation for me to push a bit harder and smile a bit more when I run with other people.  The running community is an open and welcoming one that I keep encouraging people to join.  I’m finding more and more reasons to escape to it at least every other day.

3)      Brand new kicks – I no longer make it a priority to try and “look” like a runner.  As far as I’m concerned, anyone that’s spotted moving at a pace higher than a brisk walker can be deemed a runner of some calibre.  With that being said, I’ve had to upgrade from these:

      to these......
      The fact that stylishness came along with comfort and safety was just a plus.  If you’re in the market for new shoes,   I highly recommend visiting a reputable store specializing in running to be fitted correctly.  Anything you can do to avoid potential injuries while training is beneficial!

4)       A Timer – I’ve started training based on a walk/run philosophy and the increments of time running versus walking have been steadily increasing.  Training with a watch that has a timer helps to keep me (and my running group) on top of each completed interval.

There are some other additional imperative things that I’ll be bringing with me on Race Day that weren't mentioned above such as water, a good sports bra, sunscreen, and appropriate seasonal gear for whatever Mother Nature offers up in May.  I just wanted to include a few of my favourites.

I‘m looking forward to writing more posts as the big day closes in about where this journey has taken me.  Please feel free to leave any questions, ideas or feedback and I’ll be happy to respond.
Until next time, friends!

By the way, I’ve been listening to the Noisettes’ track called “Don’t Give Up” to get me primed for my workout.  Warning:  Don’t press play if you like “Easy Listening” J

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Run Your Own Race

"I raised you to be a thoroughbred. When thoroughbreds run they wear blinders to keep their eyes focused straight ahead with no distractions, no other horses. They hear the crowd but they don't listen. They just run their own race. That's what you have to do. Don't listen to anyone comparing you to me or to anyone else. You just run your own race."

Excerpted from The Right Words at the Right Time (Atria Books, January 2004) by Marlo Thomas.

Last week I found myself a bit pre-occupied with what other people were doing and as a result, unnecessary attention was paid to how much better (or worse) their lives seemed to be.  This trivial analysis had the power to stroke my ego or send me into a fit of paranoia over how I've fallen short of where I “should be”.

I'm happy to report that thanks to a bit of rational thinking, I came through the week unscathed by either choice.

I recognized that it does nothing for personal morale to lament about things that really don’t matter in the long run such as how much money someone else is making, how much weight someone else is losing or how much happier someone became after you parted ways.   When I compare elements of my life to those of others, it discredits a significant amount of the work that I’ve put into creating my own experiences.  In the aforementioned context, drawing comparisons can often send out an inaccurate message that someone else’s progression is more important than your own. 

Being “one of a kind” in a world plagued by conformity may be challenging but I can’t help but wonder, “What would it feel like to run my own race?”

On your mark, get set....Go!

Until next time, friends.