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Fresh News

Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve

March 24, 2014
I’m currently in Mexico enjoying the last few days of a wonderful trip with my fiancée.  We started our adventure by spending some time with good friends in Cuernavaca – a picturesque city known for the filming of many Latin-American soap operas – and then Mexico City before heading down to the beautiful coast of the Mayan Riviera. After checking into our resort, ditching our bags and swapping out shorts and shoes for bathing suits and flip-flops, we headed down to the pool to soak up the balance of that days’ sunshine. We hadn’t been in the pool more than 5 minutes when we met some nice people from Michigan that asked how long we were there for.  It was to be the start of standard resort chit chat that was about to quickly remind me that not everyone thinks the same way. I explained that we were staying at that particular resort of 8 nights, however, we were in Mexico for a total of 3 weeks. “Three weeks!”  They exclaimed!  “Must be nice!  You guys are so lucky!”  I didn’t dare tell them that we’ve been basically travelling non-stop for the past 3 years. “I wouldn’t call it luck.” I said.  “I work every day of the year regardless of where I am.  I simply choose to work while traveling rather than in a static location.” That opened up the usual barrage of questions like, ‘what do you do for a living?’, ‘how did you get into that business?’, and the ever-so-popular, ‘where all have you traveled?’  Then, after a few more feeling around questions, the really weighted question: ‘how do you afford so much travel?’ I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that exact conversation over the past 5 years.  I probably had that conversation, or some variation of it, at least a dozen times just in that pool alone over those 8 days.  People love to chat while on holidays and especially when they think someone has a magic key to traveling more or breaking free from the typical confines of work. And, every single time I answer their questions and give them a glimpse at my view of that magic key, explaining that a life like ours isn’t that difficult to achieve nor is it expensive and especially compared to “the typical North American lifestyle”, I see their eyes start to drift and then they eventually go back to telling me that I’m lucky. Even those that dare to tell me that one day they would like to work for themselves, or retire early to travel, or, buy that boat they’ve been talking about for two decades to sail the world, it always comes back to the same:  One day… I’m here to tell you that I don’t buy into this business of ‘One day’.  I never have and I assure you that it will never come for the over-whelming majority of people.   And if they aren’t telling me about their One Day plans,

Getting Back In The Groove

January 22, 2014
For some runners, January can be a bit of a struggle to get back into our running routine. Colder weather, icy roads, fewer hours of sunlight, a few extra pounds from the holiday season and of course, re-runs of our favorite 80’s television programs all make it difficult to return to the glory days of running the previous fall.  And I’m not pointing fingers here…I’m actually looking in the mirror.  And while I’m here, what’s that soft lump covering my belt? Yes, we can all find a reason to stay in bed that extra thirty minutes, or, hit the sofa immediately after getting home from work.  Just thinking about going for a 5K or 6 mile run makes us shudder!  How did we ever run that Half or Full Marathon last fall?  I think the Friendship Run would do me in right now! One of the greatest hurdles that we face when returning to running or exercise in general is that we expect to be able to jump back in where we left off, regardless of how many months (or years) ago that was.  And if we can’t then we guilt ourselves. That’s an unfair expectation of anyone, so, why do we challenge ourselves with it? Getting back into the groove can be a very easy and rewarding experience if we tackle it from a slightly different angle.  Rather than guilting yourself into running 10K as punishment for all the eggnog you consumed at the in-laws place, lace up and head out for an easy 3K jog.  Yes, just 3K, like when you first started running.  Baby steps first, then build on that.  And when’s the best time to do that 3K jog?  Within the next 24 hours!  Putting it off any more means creating a larger mental obstacle to climb later. The only way to re-create a positive habit is by getting out there and as soon as possible. “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”  Aristotle may or may not have been a runner, however, he brings up a fantastic point!  And how long does it take to create habit?  Well, that’s pretty individual to be honest, but for the vast majority, two weeks or less.  That’s it!   Just think, you start running again today and by the end of the first week of February you will already be racking up the mileage and wondering what took you so long to re lace up those shoes! For those that need a firmer push out the door, register for a race that excites you and is outside of your comfort zone that’s scheduled in the next 4 to 6 months.  Knowing that you are committed to a race (and that you put your money on the line) is a great motivator to get out the door rather than waiting for re-runs of Alf to end.

A Special Kind of Victory

October 15, 2013
They say that everything can change in a moment: your plans, your priorities or your luck.   Normally it’s when you least expect it and therefore, for most, it’s unwanted change.  However, when we accept what is and go with the flow, sometimes that change brings us new opportunities. In my last blog I mentioned a current health struggle.  I just spent this past July and August in Edmonton undergoing some tests and procedures to deal with a tumor.  And, this tumor is what led to a fast decline in my energy levels over the past months and hence inability to continue running.  If nothing else I now know why I felt the way I did, and, I can now properly adjust my future plans. Part of those plans, I had thought, would be watching this year’s New York City Marathon from the sidelines rather than completing it myself.  However, following scopes, scalpels and um, diapers, I’m pleased to announce that the mass was successfully removed and all follow up tests thus far indicate that I am well on my way to a full recovery!  The NYC Marathon is back on!  It’ll just look a little different than the original plan, and that’s OK! I’ve made the temporary move back to Barcelona, Spain, and training like I have never trained before:  by walking. Today marks my second 22K walk around this beautiful city in less than a week.  Being a runner and an avid traveler I typically enjoy exploring foreign destinations by running them, not walking.  However, I’m going with the flow and so far loving it!  Besides, I find that walking takes way less out of a person than running which leaves energy enough to head over to La Rambla afterwards to sit on a patio, sip a sangria and watch the tourists saunter by!   So running is out for a while and walking is in.  It’ll be the same course, the same distance and the same medal at the end; it’ll just take me a few hours longer than the previous 7 times I completed it.  However, crossing that finish line will mark a new sort of victory for me and it will really have very little to do with the marathon at all.

Facing Fears

August 6, 2013
I’ve been told I need to blog more, and, it wasn’t the first time.  The truth is, my running in the past year has been more of an embarrassment than anything else.  Why would I want to talk about that, and, how can I get motivated to reach out to others looking for their own motivation when I can’t seem to run more than 5K these days? Well, I guess I could start by being honest with myself. I quit playing squash not long after I fell in love with the sport.  That was a long time ago…back in the days when I still needed a comb!  I had quit because running was so important to me that I feared not being able to run.  I feared an injury that I didn’t even have based on others falling victim to mixing the wrong sports together.  I felt that squash and running didn’t mix so I dropped it and shortly thereafter my fear of not being able to run solidified further. The fear became almost an obsession.  Go mountain biking for the weekend in the mountains?  No way, what if I hurt myself and can’t run my upcoming marathon?  Swimming? Are you kidding? I could pull something!  I had put all my eggs in the same basket as if I was some sort of front runner or future Olympian.  (I was not nor will be). So I ran and I ran and I had this love hate relationship that I believe most long-distance runners have.  I completed many marathons and shorter races, some fast, most not.  As I crossed each finish line I swore that would be the last marathon and then I’d be signed up for another within a week or so, hating myself as if I just indulged in a fast food meal.  I had running issues, what can I say. When I moved to Costa Rica for health and financial reasons my running changed drastically.  I was no longer teaching in-store clinics which meant I didn’t ‘have to’ show up for a run that day.  So the frequency that I ran changed considerably as did my distances. Living on the beach in Central America, although fantastic in many ways, meant having to get up at 4:30AM to run if I didn’t want to experience the ugly side of sunstroke trying to accomplish 5K.  Running more than 5K meant having to do so along the side of the highway where the concept of shoulders hadn’t be considered and the width of a vehicle was typically wider than that of the lane.  My running ability and consistency changed drastically. Eventually, when I was ready to get serious again, I moved to San Jose – the capital of Costa Rica – to train in a park where running 20+ KM was possible and at a more comfortable +22 each evening as the sun went down.  Flat, cooler and safe. Perfect! Training went well and then I took off to Ireland to

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