It’s A Promising Day

“It’s a promising day” – this comes from the last line of an email I received this morning from my mom. This email and this sentence came at the perfect moment – I was feeling a bit moody and in a funk. I have no idea why – I woke up like this and I simply couldn’t shake this for-no-good-reason mood.

As is typical for me, a bike ride, some sunshine, some good podcasts and a bit of sweat contributed to turning me around. I kept on repeating “it’s a promising day” in my head as I was pedaling and soon enough I could feel myself feeling better and happier.

I’ll leave you with this video that features an ultrarunner named Anton Krupicka who I think is a very interesting fellow. He sums up nicely in this short video what it is that makes for a promising day (and life).

(I tried to embed the video but for some reason the Vimeo iframe code simply wasn’t working…)

The Scoop

Time flies… guess it’s been a while since my last post, update, rambling words.

Hmm, well what to tell you?

I’ve been riding a bunch. Thanks to the super guidance from coach Steve Weller, I can feel my legs getting sharper and my confidence growing. I must say it is super duper fantastic to be outside again. I knew I’d get a comfortable outdoor ride in before my birthday – and it happened on April 11. Cut it close this year, but close is better than nothing.

It’s so refreshing to be back out riding with a little bit of fitness and strength – it really does make the pedaling so much more enjoyable. My favourite ride so far was my birthday ride. I took a round-about way to get through Richmond and Munster Hamlet, finally arriving at Quitters Coffee in Stittsville for a birthday treat (best chocolate muffin and chai latte ever) and then it was just a short pedal down Shea Road to get home.

Speaking of birthdays… mine was pretty fantastic. Enjoyed a great Sunday night dinner with friends and a relaxing day on the 13th – the highlights being my ride, hanging out with Marc and most delicious cake at Oh So Good. Today a couple of colleagues surprised me with a birthday cake – so super thoughtful. (I like that they tried to get the healthiest cake possible – they chose a fruit flan. Good choice!)

In between the riding and cake eating, I’ve discovered a most excellent way to unwind and destress… Colouring. Yes, colouring. This is so darn relaxing and dare I say it, meditative. While I don’t have the famous Secret Garden colouring book by Johanna Bassford, I do have the second best thing – a book of 20 postcards excerpted from the Secret Garden colouring book. These postcards are a great way to break back into colouring (I think it’s been at least 30 years since I last coloured) because they are not very big and there is a range of detail in the cards.

Admittedly, this beautiful weather has brought with it some tough moments. I’m really missing our Murphy right now. He loved being outside during the spring – patrolling his backyard, hunting earthworms, smelling the grass, and keeping an eye on the neighbourhood. Normally we’ve been out enjoying our deck and the front porch – hasn’t happened yet this year… I plan to get out there this weekend and enjoy it. It won’t be the same without our Murphy.

(I am now trying really hard to think of something positive and uplifting to write. But frankly, I’m at a loss and have nothing to tell you.)

Go hug your cat. Give your dog a treat. Go kiss your kids. Hold onto your favourite people and pets.

An End to Rushing

Last night before I went to bed I wrote a rather long and itemized “to do” list for the weekend…. I thought writing everything down would help me relax and chill out. Nope. The opposite happened.

I was in bed planning out the next four days. Trying to figure out how to cram in everything I “wanted” to do: yoga, bike riding, cooking, grocery shopping, laundry, hanging out with friends, freelance writing, newspaper reading, taking a long bath, book reading, Remicade appointment, blog writing…

Needless to say, I ended up staying later than I had planned and had a rather fitful sleep.

On Thursday I had planned my Friday to be: early morning ride, freelance writing, yoga, lunch, meet up with friends in the afternoon, and more freelance writing.

Well, it’s Friday and this plan is not happening. Something clicked in my brain when I woke up this morning. I decided to figure out what on my list of “to do’s” was most important in enabling me to have a relaxing and fruitful four days. Freelance writing. Get this all done this morning and then the weekend is mine.

So, as much as I wanted to go to yoga today. I know that I can go tomorrow and Monday morning (especially if I get this writing done). I will ride my bike but instead I’ll ride my Barrhaven bike outside – I can enjoy the fresh air and get some easy relaxation into my heart and soul. I can enjoy my meet-up with friends without obsessing over what I have to do in the afternoon.

Sigh of relief. For too long I’ve lived my life with “to do” lists and things I had “to do”. Not anymore. There I things I want to do. There is nothing that I absolutely need to do. (Okay, working, sleeping, eating are things I need to do – but you know what I mean.) If the laundry doesn’t get done – oh well – I can do it tomorrow. There is no point in rushing to get to yoga and getting home afterwards – kind of defeats the purpose of yoga… Same goes for the bike riding – this is my priority since I’m in training mode but when it’s a recovery/rest day – I should respect this and not get up at the crack of dawn to ride for 45 minutes on the trainer.

Suddenly just by writing all this down I feel taller and lighter. I’m also writing this down so I can be held accountable. If you sense that I’m sliding into my life-long habits – hit me on the head with this blog post. I’m serious. It’s easy to slip back into old habits and I know that my health and well-being will be so much better if I can just let go of the constant “to do’s”.

Still Here, Waiting Patiently

It’s been a while since I posted. When I last posted I was high on my recent trip to Mexico. Well, I guess I should warn you that I’m still riding that same Mexican high. I guess this is a true sign of a good vacation if weeks later I’m still thinking about the good times I had and the people I got to meet and know better.

As for what’s happening right now… Well, I’m patiently waiting for spring to arrive so I can get out and ride. I know that lots of people in Ottawa have already been out riding – but I haven’t been out yet. Either I’m working during the really nice warm days or my work-out is one that is not well suited to the not-really-that-warm spring temperatures. There is nothing worse than doing intervals and then getting cold afterwards.

So, instead I’m getting comfortable with Zwift Island. I must admit when Marc first showed me Zwift, I was a bit skeptical. But now I’m full-on hooked. The time rips by and I find the course to be ideal for all types of work-outs. This morning I had to do a steady 90 minute endurance ride and normally this would drag on and feel a bit endless – not with Zwift – in fact, I had to make myself stop riding at the 90 minute mark. (But don’t get me wrong – I wont to get outside….)

Hmm, what else? Well, I’m busy with lots of freelance writing – so this is a good thing. I really appreciate the variety that my freelance writing clients offer me – it’s super important to me that I can develop both my technical writing skills as well as my general online communication skills with ghost blogging, online columns, and newsletter content.

Most of you know that I recently started volunteering at the Parkdale Food Centre and now you can read all about my experiences there, in the latest blog post up on the site. This is a tremendously valuable organization in our city and my Tuesday nights have become super fulfilling and rewarding.

Really, that’s about all that’s going on. We did book our accommodation and flights for our summer vacation. Let’s just say I’m very happy I have a compact crank on my bike now. I think I’ll need it for two weeks of riding split between the Alps and Provence!

Well, this has really been a mishmash of a blog post. But that’s just the way life is sometimes. A mishmash of stuff that when it is all summed up it equals a pretty darn fortunate life.

Happy Easter to you and your family. Hopefully there will be a Mr. Solid (eat the ears first) in your Easter basket on Sunday morning. And if you’re looking for the footprints that the Easter Bunny leaves – good luck – I was never able to spot them. Maybe it’s the kind of Easter Bunny that flies – this would explain the egg laying…

Rested and Recharged

Mexico trip-DSC01791-March 10

I’ve been home from my trip to Puerto Morelos, Mexico for a week now… and I have to say it was super fantastic trip. It was just what I needed to really hit the reset button in what has been a rather tough 2015.

Sometimes a complete departure from reality is really needed to realize how fortunate you are. This is what this trip gave me. A week-long yoga retreat on the coast of Mexico, surrounded by palm trees, sand, the ocean and lots of smiling faces – can’t get much better.

I did things on this vacation that I’ve never done before. In fact this was my first time travelling south. I swam in the ocean everyday (hadn’t swam in about 10 years). I went snorkelling and swimming at a cenote. Visited a Mayan village in Coba. I also disconnected more than I’ve had from the Internet.

Our days were spent doing yoga, swimming in the ocean, exploring the town, going on excursions, eating amazing food, sitting around and chatting, and simply relaxing. It was a busy but relaxing busy trip. I got out for some early morning runs on the beach – it’s very meditative to run in the dark with only the sounds of the waves to keep you company.

I went on this yoga retreat to Casa OM with my mom – this was super special. We try and do a trip together every couple of years and this like the others was a brand new location for both of us. Previously we’ve visited San Francisco and New York City. I think this one ranks pretty close to the top when it comes to new experiences and discoveries. (The super hot habanero sauce experience likely won’t ever be repeated!)

I’ve pretty much been talking about my trip non-stop. Poor Marc, I think he is tiring of hearing about Mexico (maybe he’ll be convinced to come next time…). It was that good.

I feel ready and recharged to focus on my 2015 goals and to start working on some real positive change.

So Long February!

I for one, am very happy that is February is gone and behind us. I know that this is likely not an “enlightened” way of thinking – but seriously I didn’t enjoy February all that much. It was simply a month of bad stuff happening.

Now that March is here, I’ve decided to hit the 2015 reset button. The new year starts today: March 2. Good-bye to the crappy stuff that consumed February (losing Murphy, injury, never-ending flu/cough/migraine).

Hello to the greatness and optimism of March.

I’m kicking things off in style with a six-day yoga retreat at Casa Om in Mexico. I’m so looking forward to six days in a new-to-me place – the yoga, the relaxing, the hanging out with my mom, meeting new people, the water – all of it is going to be great.

I might be putting a lot of pressure on March but the thing is that March leads into my favourite month… April. I love April – bike riding outside, birthday cake, sunshine, flowers, birthday cake. Can’t go wrong with April!

I just finished reading an interesting article about Buddhism and lessons we can take from Buddhist wisdom… you don’t need to be a Buddhist (I’m not) to read and appreciate this article. Even if you take one thing from it, I think you’ll feel a bit different.

(I promise to eventually write about bikes and bike stuff – but really there is nothing happening right now. Haven’t touched my bike in over two weeks (damn February), but soon enough it will be time to pedal outside, so expect many long-winded ruminations on balancing on two wheels.)

Oh, and if you’re looking for something to do on Wednesday night… Come on out to Sir Robert Borden High School for the 2015 Waterwalker Film Festival – this event is organized by the Brazil Bound team (five Ottawa-area canoe slalom athletes who will represent Canada at the 2015 Junior/U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships in Brazil). If you can’t come out on Wednesday, check out the fundraising page and help these teens out.

And one more thing… my friend is looking for a cyclo-cross bike. Do you have a size 52 or 50 ‘cross bike that you want to sell? Let me know….

The Stuff of Life

To say the last couple of weeks have been challenging would be an understatement. We miss our guy. We miss him so much. Many thanks to all of you who took the time to phone, email, text, comment and just listen to us talk about our Murphy. Marc and I truly do appreciate it.

Some people don’t understand how we can feel the way we do. Murphy was a cat – yes – but he was also a member of our family. Marc and I have been together for almost 21 years and we had Murphy for 19.5 (and our other cat Minou for 13 years). So there is a big hole in our lives right now. It’s amazing really how quiet and empty our house feels now. I guess an elderly 4.0 kilogram cat did make more noise than we realized!

This weekend we’ve been treated with looking after our neighbour’s cat. Wow – it’s so awesome to pet a cat and to hear good ‘ol Edwin purr away. He and Murphy weren’t the best of friends but together they did a good job of keeping close tabs on the happenings on our street.

The last couple of weeks have been a bit uneventful really. Lots of bike riding in the basement. A good mix of trail and bike path running. Some excellent meals out with friends. And lots of just being thankful for what we have.

One new and pretty awesome thing is my involvement with the Parkdale Food Centre. I started volunteering at this local food centre three weeks ago. I do have to say that Tuesday evenings are very special to me now. There is nothing quite like helping others and really experiencing first-hand what it means to be appreciative and thankful. There is so much good stuff happening at the Parkdale Food Centre and I really feel so lucky to be involved.

Speaking of being lucky, in a few weeks I’ll be in Mexico! This will be my first time going “down south” and somewhere “hot”. I’m going on a six-day yoga retreat at Casa Om – this retreat is organized by two yoga instructors from Mountaingoat Yoga studio here in Barrhaven. I’m really looking forward to this trip. Even more so because my mom is coming as well. It will be a great chance to relax, unwind, do some great yoga, explore, and simply chillax.

Marc and I are also in the midst of planning a summer vacation. We’ve tossed around a lot of destinations but are now thinking of the French Alps. Amazing riding. Great trail running. Good hiking. Awesome food. Spectacular scenery. So, if you’ve been on a similar vacation in the Alps – let me know the scoop! Where did you stay? Any suggestions?

A lot of people have asked me how I “pass” the time on the trainer day-after-day… Well, here’s my secret: Netflix and The Good Wife. Perfect program for riding, regardless of the type of workout – you can get the gist of the story even if you’re staring down at your power meter and can’t focus on the television screen… Interesting story lines. Good actors. (Yes, I know television pollutes the brain – but really – isn’t life about balance?)

Speaking of training – I couldn’t be happier to be back riding under the guidance of coach Steve Weller of Bell Lap Coaching. It’s so refreshing to have a plan and a purpose for each ride. It’s only been a little over a month but I can feel a difference already. I really can’t wait for the spring and getting out there for some road rides. Oh, and of course – I’m looking forward to ‘cross season…

Well, that’s about it. We had a rough and horrible start to 2015 but I’m confident we’ve got the sad stuff out of the way and the rest of year will be a good one.