I ran another little race.

Last weekend, I ran a little race in my hometown along with 25,000 other people.  I ran this one before, back in 2015.  It was a half-marathon.

My training cycle took a huge nosedive in August when I ran too much while on vacation at the cottage.  When I returned to running in the city, my legs were very mad at me.  The nagging shin splints returned and I had to take a big break. I ran only once a week for the last month before the race.  I was petrified that I wouldn’t be able to finish, let alone finish it standing up.

The longest training run was 16 km and I did that 3 weeks before the big day. My friend who is a triathlete told me that it was better to be 10% under-trained than 1% overt-rained. She ended up being right.

Race day arrived and I was a nervous wreck.  I arrive on course early to support a new friend of mine as he completed his 5th (of 6) marathons of the weekend (that story is for another post).  See, I joined this running team last spring, supporting someone who raises money and awareness for childhood survivors of sexual abuse and trauma.  Through this team I have met a group of remarkable people all who like to run.  Most of them run a hell of a lot faster than me, but they are an inspiring group of people and I am lucky to have found them.

I ran with one of these new friends for my half marathon.  He was running the marathon and didn’t want to go out too fast, so I asked him if he wanted to run my pace with me and he did.  We had a fantastic time. It was so nice to run with someone and be distracted from the fact I was trying to run 21.1 km.

In the end, I ran a good race and I felt great. Sure, my hips started getting tight at 9 km and the balls of my feet starting aching around 17 km.  All of that was expected.  Nothing actually hurt too badly, so I knew I could finish it.

I ran it for me – to challenge my mind, body and spirit.  I didn’t beat my previous time but I knew I wouldn’t.

I was almost in tears when I finished.  I just wanted to cross the finish line standing up and I did.

I ran for my dad.  He has prostate cancer, and the previous week we got word that his radiation treatment worked and he was cancer free.  I raised $500 for Prostate Cancer Canada prior to the race.

I ran for my classmate, colleague and friend who was murdered last year by her husband.   I wear the purple armband that I wore at her funeral.  I will wear it for every race until her murderer is convicted.  My friend was a runner.  She always supported my running on social media. I ran for her because she can’t run anymore.


 

 

 

Of the Heart and Mind.

I had a dream last night which has deeply unsettled me. It was about someone I knew for decades but we had a falling out a few years ago and haven’t spoken since. In this dream we were talking and putting things back together and it felt good. My friend was different. I was different. Our conversation was open, honest, without any egos. In my dream state I felt whole again, not realizing that I had an emptiness to fill.

I woke up early this morning to run with a girlfriend. It was 6:10am and I surprisingly felt quite refreshed and eager to start the day. I could feel the cool morning breeze coming through the window and my world seemed right.

As I searched in the dark for my running clothes, the memories of the dream flooded my consciousness.  Suddenly, reality set in and I remembered that nothing had changed.  In that moment I realized it had all been a dream. None of it was real.

I felt profoundly sad and instantly defeated.

Damn the heart.

Damn the mind.

Sometimes I wish I had done things differently.

Eighteen.

She walked outside all alone, thinking. It was a foggy evening; you couldn’t see the sky except for clouds of white. It was damp. The air had a musty smell. At times she found it hard to breathe yet the air had a refreshing quality. She was out here to think and to reflect. That’s what they told her to do. Think about yourself, who you are, who you want to be. Now if that wasn’t a killer question, she didn’t know what was. What a crazy thing to ask of an eighteen year old. Think about yourself?  For eighteen years she was told to think of others first, not of herself, so wasn’t this now being selfish? Maybe. This was a time to reflect on one’s self. And what a perfect time – away from home, school pressures and friends. Ha! What friends? She wasn’t social with anyone from this group she was with. Anyone else she hung out with was at another place. Although this was an opportune time to think alone and to be alone, she couldn’t help but feel alone.   Oh, she could have switched and gone with the others but something held her back. She didn’t want to be part of a group; she wanted time to think on her own. But yet she hated being alone and not with the group. Confusing, eh? She wanted to be alone but felt lonely being alone. She thought about this while leaning against a dead oak tree. She shifted her feet, leaning on the right, and then leaning on the left, kicking branches and leaves around, all the while thinking.

But thinking about what? Oh, nothing in particular – her life, school, friends (or lack thereof), mom, dad, family and God. God. Wasn’t that what she was supposed to focus on? Is God in her life? Does she want God in her life?

Questions, questions, questions. Where were the answers? What were the answers? Who knew? Certainly not this young girl with her leather jacket done up and hands shoved into her pockets.

“It’s awful cold out here”, she muttered to herself.

“Duh, it’s the beginning of November. You expect it to be 90 degrees?”

“You be quiet,” she chastised her other self. She’d been hearing from this other eighteen-year-old girl in her head. Who was this person? Was she God? Was it God talking in her own voice? If so, why didn’t she say something more productive?

It was awful cold out there. She decided to go back inside into the warmth. As she walked back to the building she could hear muffled giggles from other areas of the grounds and silently wished she were laughing too. This was supposed to be a time to be with your buddies and laugh and have a good time. And she also knew it was a time to reflect, but who really and honestly did that? Only one person it seemed – herself. Everyone else giggled and talked about their boyfriends and stuff that was important to them. What did she have to giggle about?

How she hated feeling sorry for herself. It wasn’t worth it and it was counter-productive. She tried to think happy thoughts. She tried to recall happy memories and there were many but memories are different from reality. Oh sure, they were once reality but no one ever thinks that while reality is happening. It doesn’t matter how strong a memory is; you can never recall the original feelings. Somehow it just doesn’t come close.

So as she was trying to think happy thoughts, these memories came back but proceeded to depress her. She missed those days she recalled. She missed the person that she saw when she saw herself. She wondered where that person went. What happened to her? Where did she go? Had she ever really left? That was the big question. Had this happy-go-lucky girl just vanished? Or was she still there somewhere, only buried deep inside?

Questions. Questions. Questions. She wanted to find that girl again – the girl from her memories. Was it possible? Or did someone like that only come around once in a lifetime? She hoped not. It wouldn’t have been fair.

She wanted to be happy again. At that particular moment, she wasn’t. She wanted re-affirmation that she was special and worth knowing. But does anyone ever get to really know that? She doubted it, because then everyone would have high opinions of themselves and the last thing the world needed was another stuck up and snobby individual.

Why wasn’t life simple anymore? Had it ever been?

She thought of a song just then, it was called “Keep The Faith”. She guessed that the whole point to this retreat was just that – keeping the faith, or finding it.

Full Steam Ahead to 2015.

Is it just me or did the last 365 days fly by?

Seriously! I blinked and it’s December 31st.  Where has the time gone?

It was an eventful year.  I started the year on maternity leave.  I struggled with one running injury after another and worried I might never run again.  Then I ran 10 km for the first time and managed to repeat that feat at least three more times thereafter. I shaved off almost a minute from my average running speed and ran almost 630 km this year.  WOW!

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I lost two patients to cancer, discovered another area of medicine I’d like to do more of in the future and welcomed 15 new babies to the practice.

I turned 40 and celebrated in style.

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I watched my daughter lose her first tooth and wiped away brave tears as she got her first cast.

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Our family lost a beloved pet (on the left) but we have another beauty amongst us (on the right) who still needs our love and affection more than ever now.

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I am blessed with beautiful friends and family who have consistently been there for me and have supported me this year. I am grateful to them (you know who you are) and am so very fortunate to have you in my life.

My husband is my knight in shining armor. We had so many amazing adventures this year; I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for us.

IMG_9920 IMG_9830 IMG_9697 IMG_1408 IMG_2961 IMG_3292IMG_3126IMG_1409 And finally to my readers and followers:  thank you for reading and contributing.  I look forward to another great year in the blogosphere!

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Thursday Thirty.

Thirty things I love.

1. Myself.
2. My husband
3. My children
4. My parents and brother
5. My friends
6. My cat
7. Running
8. Chocolate
9. Cross stitching
10. Coffee
11. Wine
12. Bailey’s
13. Martinis – preferably chocolate-y and sweet
14. Steak
15. Being a doctor
16. Being respected
17. Being someone to count on
18. Being my own boss
19. My bed.
20. Chips and dip
21. Ice cold water
22. The sun
23. Baklava
24. The smell of my kids right out of the bath
25. The scale 😉
26. My Guess jeans
27. My boots
28. My nails (they are the longest now they have ever been … ever!)
29. My house
30. My life

10 minutes.

I’ve decided to spend the next ten minutes writing.  It’s part of WordPress’ Daily Post Challenge. I have to write anything I want, but I have to do it for ten minutes.

Nine minutes to go. I’ve just finished my lunch, reflecting on the afternoon ahead of me.  There are a few interesting folks coming to see me.  I called one young woman in because she has an STI (sexually transmitted infection).  It’s the second one she’s had in 6 months.  She admits she’s not using condoms (really? I would never have guessed!), and I really hope this time she’ll take my advice more seriously.

Seven minutes left. Ten minutes is a long time.  I’ve started running 10:1 (run:walk) intervals and it can sometimes feel like an eternity.  I am finding though that it’s getting easier and easier.  I am working my way towards being able to run for a solid 30-45 minutes and to do this I am introducing something called the fartlek.  It’s a Swedish term for “speed play”.  By running, or sprinting, for a specific time (say, 30 seconds) or distance (say, to that hydrant, or 100 m), it trains muscles to work harder and lung capacity to increase.  After a few runs this week where I have incorporated fartleks, I can already feel my stamina improving.

Five minutes left.  That’s how long it took for me to realize that she was going to be a friend for life. We had only ever met as acquaintances but one day, I invited her over for drinks with her husband, and we hit it off immensely.  That was a few years ago, and today she has reached a birthday milestone.  I think she’ll be reading this later, so I wanted to wish her, again, a most wonderful birthday.  The best, my friend, is yet to come.

Three minutes left.  This morning, my baby woke up happy and talking up a storm.  Most of it is still gibberish, but he has started saying “Momma” and “Mommy” a lot more and is even pointing at me when he says it.  It isn’t the first time a child has called me Mommy, but damn if it doesn’t still feel so utterly special and thrilling to hear it again from this little boy.

One minute left.  Wow, that wasn’t hard to do at all.  Thank you, Daily Post!

One Question

Litmus, Litmus on the Wall

If you had to come up with one question, the answer to which would determine whether or not you could be friends with a person you’ve just met, what would it be? What would the right answer be?

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At first this seems pretty straight forward, right?  I thought so too, which is why I decided to give it a shot.  But it’s actually a lot harder than I thought.  What would the question be? I’ve learned so much about friendship in the last few years; I’ve learned that you can’t will someone to be happy for you, to want to spend time with you. You can’t expect someone to do for you what you’d do for them. I’ve learned that you need to actually communicate with someone face to face to really know them.  I’ve learned that if you can’t be honest with yourself, you can’t expect others to be honest with you.

So, what would my one question be?

It would be this:  “Can you let go of your ego if you had to?”

And the right answer would be: “What ego?”

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com//dp_prompt/litmus-test/

 

Fabulous and ….

This is the final week of my thirties.

Yikes!

I’m getting old.

Or am I?

I remember turning 30 and thinking that was a big deal.  I was a newly-minted doctor, in the first year of my residency and just a little bit terrified. Terrified of suddenly being an adult.  Working full-time, saving money for a house, trying to pay down my debt. I moved three more times before settling in my home. I paid some debt off while incurring a bit more. Yet, the decade that followed surpassed all of my wildest expectations.  I started my career, I married the love of my life, I bought a house, had three beautiful children, met some wonderful people who became my closest friends.

So, it’s a bit strange to say goodbye to that decade. When I look back on who I was at 30, while I do recognize that young woman, I have grown and experienced so much.  I am starting this new decade with much more confidence than I’ve ever had and I truly believe the best is yet to come.

The birthday celebrations have already begun. Last weekend, husband and I had a wonderful night out with one of his closest friends. We experienced a night on the town unlike any we’ve had in quite some time.  It started off with a vodka bar and ended with a ping-pong game at a local club.  Ping pong!  In between there was a fabulous dinner, lively conversation and a couple of sore feet.

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You see, I rarely wear heels.  My poor little feet were aching by the end of the night and I had to take off my shoes. In the middle of downtown, I took off my shoes and walked the streets.  It was exhilarating!

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I think I’m going to like 40.

Sulkeminen

Day 27 – January Daily Blog Posting Month

Sulkeminen

It’s hard to say goodbye in this age
Out of sight yet not out of mind
Our footprints echo for eternity
And I continue to feel watched.
 
I cause my own discomfort
News filters from the grapevine
Cigarette burns continue to smolder
They hurt and bleed still.
 
The time has come and gone
Words not spoken, more thoughts are written
Today I turn the page
And close the door for good.

On Princesses and Friendships.

Day 24. National Blog Posting Month.

Yesterday we had the Princess’s 5th birthday party.  It was a family/friends event (that means there were no school friends) and it was wonderful.

Friends of ours who had moved out east recently returned (they live an hour away now) and brought their two boys.  The kids had a wonderful time running around the house playing tag.  The Princess was showered with lovely gifts, not surprisingly, all “Princess” themed.  She received a glitter-covered box of makeup and nail polish from my best friend; her grandparents gave her an Ariel doll and suitcase; another friend brought her a Belle doll; my brother and his wife gave her a Rapunzel doll.  My house is full of princesses!!!  Even her cake followed the same theme (her dad painted the cake, which I made).

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She slept with all of her new dolls last night.  This morning her fingernails and toenails have more glitter on them than I’ve ever had in my entire life.  All morning she’s been walking around in Ariel’s dress-up costume and carrying her make-up box.  As I write this she is sitting next to me putting lip gloss on me (as well as herself).

I know I’ve written about this before, but I really do have an amazing group of friends. I am so very fortunate for the people in my life and I love each of them dearly.  Since having children we have all gotten even closer and its so wonderful to see the kids growing up together and having fun with each other.

One of my closest friends from medical school texted me a few days ago saying he was going to be in town this weekend and asked if we could get together.  I see him maybe twice a year, and we are not ones to pick up the phone to talk, though we do text each other sometimes.  But when I need him, or vice versa, we are there for each other as if no time has passed.  It’s like that with my best friend as well.  Anyway, he came over near the end of the birthday party and stayed late along with my bestie while husband went to a concert.  Despite fighting a flu-like illness (I’ve body aches and a sore throat for 2 days), the three of us polished off almost two bottles of white wine and a ton of Thai food.  We talked about medicine, psychology, pharmacology,  (my bestie is a pharmacy tech), friendships, children, all manner of topics under the sun.  I could have stayed up all night talking with them but I’m not 25 anymore.  The chills set in around midnight so we had to call it a night. I fell asleep feeling fulfilled and content.

I have my friends to thank for that.