Sunday, 21 August 2011

What A Girl Wants...

"I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.  That is clear.  Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion, or that religion, we all are  seeking something better in life.  So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness..." ~ H.H. Dalai Lama

I've been on a quest for some time now.  The quest for inner peace.  That quest has taken me on some very interesting journey's.  Although I have obtained a certain amount of inner peace, and I have learned many things about myself, the quest continues.  Not that that should be a shock.  Of course the quest continues - there is so much to learn!

Lately, I have come to the realization that I have no idea how to relax.  Wait.  That's a lie.  I have known for sometime that I don't know how to relax, but I THOUGHT I had figured it all out.  Definitely, when I had a daily meditation practice, I was much calmer.  A new job with a long commute seemed to put an end to that practice and since then I have kept saying I need to get it back.

A recent surgery and recovery period brought to light, once again, that I still haven't mastered the art of 'just being'.  The lack of a daily meditation practice certainly contributed to the realization.  Still, it was a hard pill to swallow.  These things tend to come to light when you spend three weeks mostly horizontal. As my body had nothing to do but heal, my mind took over in the 'keep busy' department.

Since this re-discovery, as shall we call it, I have tripped along trying to find ways to be more calm.  To reach that place of peace that I felt I once had.  Perhaps if I can obtain that place once again, I may actually be able to sleep.  See, for me, one of the downsides of not relaxing, or having inner peace, is that I don't get a good nights sleep.  Sure, I may appear to be sleeping, but really I am in that upper layer of sleep where even a bugs sneeze can awaken me.  I dream a lot too, which leads to waking up exhausted because I have been so busy in my sleep.

Part of the problem is I am a planner.  This can be a good quality and it can be a bad quality.  An example if you will - I am about to merge homes with my partner, M.  This will entail a move of my belongings from my current rental to a new rental a couple of blocks away, and his move from a city four hours away.  Phew.  Can you imagine how my mind is working like a gerbil on a wheel??  Sleep?Ha, not until the move I am sure!  (At which point my mind will find something else to glom onto.)

So the good quality of being a planner in a situation like this is I have formulated move times, gathered gracious friends to help, called the utilities, organized moving van, taken measurements of the new place, secured storage for extra items that won't fit and have, and, in my mind, determined where all of our merged items will go in the new place.

The bad quality of being a planner, all of the above has been done in advance of required and has reduced my sleep ability to almost non existent.   A lot of this planning, aside from calling around, has been done in my head as I sleep, or eat, or sit, etc.

To those who know me this whole planning thing will be of no surprise.  What may surprise them is I wish I didn't do this!  Okay, I do like having a plan.  But I really don't want to be thinking like this ALL THE TIME.  I want quiet in my head.  I want to sleep like a kitten in your lap.  I want to stop the monkey brain! You'd think it would be easy just to shut it off!

And of course what has helped, in the past, with this quieting of the monkeys?  Sitting meditation.  So why am I not doing it?  I don't know.

Perhaps it's because I am spending my time trying to find relaxing things to do.  As I write that I am giggling to myself. I am sure there is an oxymoron in there.  I have come to the realization that I want too many things.  I want it all.  I want to be fit and healthy so I used to run and participate in triathlon.  Then when I moved here I hit the trails hiking and running.  All until an unexpected trip to the emergency room, (aren't they all unexpected??) turned my life around.  I spent four months pretty much doing nothing except being frustrated at not being able to do anything physical.

Now that i can do something physical, I have decided to take up yoga again.  I figure this would be one way that I could tap into the meditation I love so much, but also to get my body started back on the path to total wellness.  In addition to this, I have started hiking again.  I am waffling on getting back into running, but seeing as I would like to start barefoot running, I have decided this is as good a time as any. Mainly because I will have to go back to square one of running.

In addition to this, I am learning more about food and it's relationship to health and the environment.  Which means reading a vast array of books on veganism and raw foods.  I've also signed up for a raw food chef class.  Again this is part of the total wellness quest.

Then there are all the other things I love to do:  being with M, kayaking, swimming, riding my Harley, visiting with friends, seeing family, volunteering, exploring, reading, writing, knitting, sitting....

Are you starting to see a pattern here?

I want to do everything and yet I want to relax.  How to fit it all in, without the aid of winning the lottery so I don't have to work full time ergo I would have more spare time??

That I will have to discover I guess...  Today I made an honest effort to relax.  I drank tea in bed and read.  At least till 8 am.   I read in my livingroom after that.  I did make some buckwheat crispies in the dehydrator and started the tomato wraps going, but that was pretty relaxing.  The dehydrator does all the work.  And I sat and read in between that.  Oh, and I attempted a nap!  I managed to stay horizontal for 30 minutes...too bad I didn't fall asleep.  My mind was busy with the thought of whether or not I should put together the new IKEA dresser I got.  I looked at the box.  I put the box flat on the floor.  Then I said to myself, 'Susi, just walk away.  Leave it be....'  Likely a good thing as M said he wanted to do it.  He is a blessing to me!!

Okay, so maybe it wasn't a total relaxation day, but it was a start.  Every new day is a start come to think of it.

As I write this I see my meditation cushion and it's calling to me.  Perhaps I will go have a good sit.  That sounds pretty relaxing....

Peace out my lovelies...

Sunday, 15 May 2011

What A Long, Strange Trip...

"Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been." ~ Grateful Dead 

Well now that was an intersting little journey.  The past eight weeks that is.  The journey will continue, of course, but hopefully with less drama.  And pain.

I had certain expectations of my time off after surgery.  I was going to knit, catch up on reading (technical reading even), and learn the German language.  What I spent most of the time doing was hanging on for dear life the positive attitude that I thought would get me through anything and everything.  I did learn a lot from this experience - the biggest lessons being that I don't know how to relax and that a positive attitude can be harder to hang on to than one thinks...

The beginning of all this started with the emergency hopsital visit and the subsequent surgery.  Things looked bright just before I went under the knife.  My surgeon, bless him over and over again, was going to proceed with the surgery in a way that was going to be difficult for him, because of the size of the fibroid and utereus, but in the long run would be good for me and my active lifestyle.  I will forever be grateful for him putting his patients needs first!

As I am still breathing, it is obvious the surgery went well; however as they were wheeling me out of the surgery room, or somewhere, the first challenge hit - a severe asthma attack.  I was just coming out of my drug induced fog so I have no idea how I got into the seated position, but I do know that I couldn't take a breath without some rattling happening in my lungs, non stop coughing, and severe pain in my abdomen where I had just had my girly bits removed.  Coughing was really something I didn't want to do for a long time, and this type was especially painful.  I think they put oxygen on me or something, but finally it the attack was calmed.  I rememeber my doctor looking at me with very wide eyes.  I must say, this was not comforting. 

It turns out my exercise induced asthma can also be triggered by stress and, as I was told after, I will have to be careful about this from now on because of the severity of this attack.  Ugh.

The week in the hospital was the worst part of this whole journey.  First the attack, then air bubbles in my I.V. tube and a nurse who said 'Oh don't worry it won't hurt you!'  It took me having a complete 'insane patient' crying, yelling, and if I could have moved I would have been jumping up and down meltdown to get her to take the IV out of me.  I'm sure any medical people reading this may say, 'Ah, it was nothing to worry about really.'  However, I was terrified like I had never been in my life and when the I.V. machine kept alarming even with her telling me not to worry - it was time to have the meltdown.  I'm sure it didn't help that I was coming off my morphine induced coma.

Speaking of the morphine, it turns out I get one of the side effects - itchiness.  Seriously, having itching on your legs when you can't move because your abdomen is all stiched up and you have inflatable compression thingys on them making you sweat is like slow torture. 

I must say one thing about morphine though.  Apparantly even though I felt completely out of it, to the point that it seemed like my eyes would roll backwards into my head everytime I tried to open them, I was told I appeared coherent.  I recall my parents being in the room, and Julie calling on my Dad's mobile and me talking to her; however, I do not recall helping my parents plan their move and explaining what should be done, nor do I remember my conversation with Julie, which she had to remind me of.  Very interesting....  The parental unit told me later that I appeared to know what I was talking about...hmmm....I actually still have no idea what I said to them!  Giggle. At least it seems everything I suggested worked out!

I did manage to have some fun while in the hospital.  Part of the recovery was to try and walk.  Oh how easy that sounds.  Afterall, I had been walking for at least 40 years now!  Alas, there was the pain factor.  I must say, all that Ironman training came in handy when dealing with the pain factor.  I was now off the morphine so really had to rely on just breathing.  Deeply.  I tried to walk around the ward, but part way through I would want to keel over.  My Mom or Dad would be walking with me and being my support and could tell when I would start to restrict the blood flow in their arm that I was done walking.  

Oh, right, the fun part.  Well that was in the form of a little ol' dear that I would see walking past my hopsital room.  She had a pretty good pace and I was determined to match it!  I started with a mere shuffling of my froggy slippers.  I kept scheming as to how I could get faster and beat her.  In fact, my sole purpose was to leave her in my dust.  None of my plans panned out however, and she left me in her dust.  And she lapped me.  Oh the humiliation....  I still have thoughts of going back there, dressing up in hospital clothes and beating her!  Assuming she is still there of course, which really, I hope she isn't. 

After the stay at the hospital it was all about recovery at home.  Home being wherever I was with my parents or Marco looking after me.  The first few weeks I was with my folks while Marco finished his work up North.  I want it written for the record that I really do have the best parents in the world.  Now I know you may think you do, but I'm sorry, you don't.  My folks win hands down because when the doctor and nurse told them I had to be treated like a Princess while I recovered, they did.   Well, at least until I felt well enough to be cheeky and say 'The Princess would like a cup of tea please...'  That's when Mom gave me the finger and dad just laughed at me.  Priceless!

After the stay with the parental unit, Marco took over 'Princess Duty' and did a wonderful job!  He was my rock through this - as cheesy as that may sound!  As you read on, you will understand that his job was not as easy as it may sound...

I will spare every little detail of the last eight weeks.  Suffice it to say that my emotions would get the better of me most times, and I never know how much I treasured the ability to walk, heck just move on my own, so much!  I hurt.  A lot.  I thought I could deal with the pain.  Some days I could.  I would be positive about it all and tell myself that this is all just short term stuff.  Then I would set about whatever task it was I was trying to do, get out of bed, use the washroom, shower, and I would just take it one breath at a time.  These tasks took double the usual amount of time, but I dealt with it. 

Some days though, the pain got to me, the inability to walk got to me, the stress and guilt of having people look after me, Miss Independent, got to me, and that's when I would cry and have a wee pity party for myself.  Mom, Dad and Marco were the witnesses to all of this.  Of course, I would get even more ticked when I would cry or feel negative.  I saw some of the people in the hospital.  I was lucky!  This WAS a short period in my life and I would heal from it.  Others aren't so lucky.  The mind is a strange and powerful thing though and when I would get upset...I would get upset!  Even though I knew I should stay positive about all the little accomplishments and all the good things that were happening.

I seemed to somehow place myself on some sort of healing schedule.  I figured because I was young, relatively speaking, in good health and quite fit, that I should be running up and down stairs in no time.  So when I still couldn't walk for more than a little while after 5 weeks, and it was only supposed to take 6 weeks healing, the frustration bubbled up.  I was to see my doctor for my scheduled check up and as soon as I saw him he said those words that men should never say to a woman on the edge....'How are you doing?' 

That's when I burst into tears.  I mumbled incoherently about not being able to walk, the pain, not having paid sick time from work, cancelling vacation, blah blah blah.   Again I will point out how wonderful my doctor is.  First off he explained the pain - it turns out that my ovary was adhered to my abdominal wall. So in addition to having my internal girly bits removed the doctor also had to try and detach this. It couldn't be totally detached, so they did what they could. This was causing me all the pain and why it felt like something it was tearing and burning on my right side when I would try and walk!

Next he said I needed to relax.  Really relax.  I made it my goal to do so for the next two weeks I was off on leave.  I am happy to report, I think I have a better hang of relaxing then I did before.  Granted, I still keep thinking, I need to knit! I need to study German! I need to read up on failure analysis techniques! I need to organize things!  But I catch myself thinking that and say, I need to sit and have a cup of tea. 

I am a firm believer that if you are open to it, you can learn lessons with every challenge or obstacle you are given.  I learned a lot these last eight weeks.  I hope I keep remembering them, but I know if I don't, the Universe will remind me some way.  The biggest thing I hope to do is stay more positive in times of trouble.  I really thought I would through all this, but it was harder than I expected!  I have a new appreciation for, and truly admire, people who face unending illness or other challenges and who maintain a positive outlook.

Thankfully, I have the most amazing support from my family and friends!!!  They helped me discover that laughter truly is the best medicine, and that it's okay to lean on others.  Every day I give thanks for all of you and mentally shower you with peace, love and hugs!!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Now it's on to baby steps in getting back to my 'normal' life.  Tomorrow is my first day back at work.  I will also attempt to get back into the gym.  I promise, I will go SLOW.  Oh, and there is swimming... And of course making sure I continue to RELAX!  Granted, that wasn't part of my 'normal' life before, but will be from now on.  I can see now how much I need it. 

Peace out my lovely friends and may you continue to be blessed with good health!


Monday, 28 March 2011

The Best Laid Plans...

"The best laid schemes of mice and men, oft go awry." ~ Robert Burns

Well after the last post you may, or may not, be wondering how training is going.  Well as the saying above indicates, things didn't quite go as planned.

To be honest, I wondered if I would blog about this, because it's quite personal.  But hey, I've blogged about getting a colonoscopy and a colposcopy, so why not what's going on now?!  Besides, I'm hoping this may help someone out there.

I had planned to train for the race.  In fact, I was getting pretty excited about my training program.  Then I was struck with some migraines.  So I followed the advice of my acupuncturist and put my training off for a week or so.  The race was far enough away that I wasn't worried.  

It was Friday, a couple of weeks ago and I was driving out to the parental units home.  Training was to start next Monday, but before that I wanted to help them prepare for the big house move.  I felt totally normal that day, but for some reason when I was about 20 minutes from their place I started to feel some pain low down in my abdomen.  It felt like menstrual cramps, but I wasn't expecting anything for a week and a bit.  So then I thought, huh, maybe my seatbelt is bugging me?  As the pain increased I thought maybe I have to use the loo??

I called my Mom and asked if her and Dad wanted to meet me outside their place and I'd drive them to dinner.  By now I thought maybe I was just hungry for dinner.  Really hungry.  The pains were intensifying.  We got to the restaurant, a sushi place of course, but it was really busy so I suggested we do take away.  By now I wasn't sure if I would be able to stand for a while.  The wait was going to be about 20 minutes so we left Dad there and we walked over to the grocery store to pick up dessert.

In the store I started to feel nauseous.  And clammy. And dizzy.  Then the pain went up a notch.  I said to Mom that something wasn't right and I was going to sit back in the car till Dad got the food.  We finally got our dinner and I drove the folks back home, by now having my breathe sucked in now and then because of these shots of pain going through my abdomen.  Thankfully it was a really short drive to the house.  When we walked in I folded over and headed to the couch.  Mom said I should maybe lay down upstairs so I crawled up there.

I was starting to get scared.  I have a really high tolerance for pain.  Mom knows this.  So when she came to check on me a few minutes after I went upstairs and found my crying and curled in the fetal position, her worry level went up a few notches.  She called one of her friends, who is a retired nurse, that lives down the street.  She knew the I was in good health and told my Mom to get me in the car and to swing by and pick her up...we were off to the hospital.

I sat in the waiting room for about 4 hours - not bad considering.  I was folded in half in the chair most of that time.  The only thing that stifled my crying was hearing a very high pitched, hysterical male voice say 'I need help NOW! I just had surgery yesterday and I have blown a stitch, my testicle is bleeding!! I am bleeding like a stuck pig!  You need to get me a doctor NOW!!!'

Sorry boys, but I couldn't help but laugh.  It was the level of hysterics in his voice that got me.  I looked up at my mom, I was still folded in half at this point, and said, 'I bet he is in and out of here within the hour.  Heaven forbid we ignore a bleeding testicle...'.   She and her friend were also giggling at this point.  Let's face it, all the women were.   Heck, I had stabbing pains that sucked my breath in and had me in tears, but I still managed to keep my voice low as I gave my information.   For the record, he was in and out of there within an hour.   He, and his girlfriend that had accompanied him and who was also yelling, were in a much calmer state.  Although his track pants had a much larger 'package' in the front.  Ice pack??

But back to the story at hand.  I was admitted into the emergency room about midnight.  The doctor said he suspected appendicitis and told my Mom that I would be there all night.  I sent her and her friend home.  No need for them not to get some sleep.

I somehow lucked out and had my own room in the emergency.  I'm sure I wasn't being whiny, but for some reason I got the 'baby room'.  Hmmm, did this mean I was a big baby, or is that just the room?? It's a small hospital so they didn't have a lot of beds in emergency, so I'll go with the fact that I just lucked out and got that room because they had no other areas for me.  My room had some very funky paintings on the wall....a googly eyed giraffe that stared down at me all night.  And a bright purple hippopotamus that I loved.

 This little guy watched over me during the night.  

My purple hippopotamus, and lovely IV bag. 

I was given a hospital gown that, of course, did not cover the back end, some fanatastically heated flannel blankets, an IV and a shot of morphine, then pretty much left alone after the Doc made his initial diagnosis.  The morphine didn't help, but being able to lie down as heavenly.

At about 2:30 am I was wheeled down the hall to get a CT scan. Okay, here we go.  Maybe my appendix is ready to go?  Still, the pain seemed lower down then that.  My suspicions were confirmed at about 3:30 am.  It's a good thing I wasn't able to sleep that night cause I'd be ticked being woken up so often!

The doctor came in looking quite serious.  He said to me, 'The good news is your appendix is fine.'  Uhm, ok, then what the heck is going on??  Then he said, 'You have a fibroid in your uterus, and it's the size of a grapefruit.'

My mind started to work.  I said 'Well, I was told about 14 years ago that I had a fibroid, but they told me it was something I didn't have to worry about....  Why is it so big?  Why did it start to hurt so intensely out of the blue??'   He explained that the fibroid had grown so big it was unable to get blood so it was bleeding into itself and that was what caused the pain.  My first thought at this point was of the film 'Alien' and how that guy ended up having the spidery thing come out of him.  Ugh.  I focused on Mr. Giraffe at this point.

The doctor then asked me if I planned on having kids.  I knew at this point that things were pretty serious and that this wasn't going to just go away.  I explained that I wasn't planning on kids, that I loved my role as 'Favourite Auntie' to some of my friends kids.  He said that I would be there till the morning and then the Ob/Gyn doctor would come in and talk to me.  They weren't going to give me any food in case I got rushed into surgery.  I hadn't eaten since 2:00 pm the day before so was really craving the sushi we got for take away.

The morning came and with it my Mom returned.  My Dad was with my cousins helping clear some of the things out of the house.  This is what I was supposed to be helping with and I felt guilty I wasn't there.  About noon the Ob/Gyn came in.  He said that I must have been important because they don't always do CT scans in the middle of the night.  He'd reviewed my file and confirmed what the emergency room doctor said.  Then he asked me about the kid thing.  A few times.

He said although the fibroid had been there for some time, we didn't know when it chose to grow.  And if had grown rapidly in the last while, that would be a bad sign.  Another bad sign was that it was bleeding into itself and it needed to be removed.  He said there were three options....the first two I through out immediately because a) the complications that could happen, b) the pain that would be incurred, and c) one didn't remove the fibroid but tried to shrink it.

That left the last option, a total hysterectomy.  This would involve removing my uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes.  My ovaries would be left so I wouldn't be tossed into full blown menopause, which would have it's own complications.  Because my uterus was the size of a woman's 4.5 months pregnant, they would have to go in through my abdomen.  This is where I started to get scared.

How long would I need for recovery?  Could I work out?  I have a race?  What about my job?  He explained that I would need six weeks recovery, that I couldn't work out, and my race was not an option.  My job he said, I would have to explain to my boss and he would provide a letter explaining things.

I was to see him the following week with my decision.  Not that there was much to decide.  I mean I friggin hurt - I had to do something.  Not having kids wasn't a huge problem, but I did let it sink in that if for some strange reason I changed my mind, there would be no possibility.  I was okay with that.  The recovery period and my future ability to exercise was what scared me the most.  For a period longer than six weeks I would have to be concerned about an incisional hernia, not to mention I may never be able to regain the core strength that I had worked so hard for.  When would I be able to run again??  What about hiking? Snowshoeing?  Ugh.

I went to visit the doctor the following week and discussed the surgery.  I was booked into the hospital for surgery the following week.  In between that time I started to make arrangements. I cancelled my race.  I told my work. I made sure my diet was super clean so I could prepare my body for the trauma and healing that was to follow,  I cried and was scared.  The funny thing is I really couldn't pinpoint why I was so scared.  Was it being 'put to sleep'?  Having someone slice into me and removing bits and pieces of my body??

Last week I had the surgery, it was successful and I'm now in recovery mode.  It's been a rough adjustment, but that's a story for another day.

Why I wanted to write about this is because I'm a healthy person, I'm a veggie girl who eats whole foods.  I work out.  I look after myself.  I was told that I had a uterine fibroid and that it was nothing to worry about.  That it may cause problems if I wanted to conceive, but that's all.  I wasn't told to monitor it.  I have had a few doctors over the years and I always went in for my annual physicals.  No one said anything about it.

Within an hour I went from feeling peachy keen to being folded over, crying and dealing with severe pain.  Within a day I would learn I had to have surgery to remove this thing and because it was so large, they would have to go through my abdomen.  I would then have to do nothing for six weeks.  

I wanted other women to know that they should follow up if they find out they have a fibroid, don't just ignore it.  Ask the doctor how often you should follow up with it.  They can do ultrasound to monitor it. They don't always grow, and they don't always need to be removed, so you don't have to panic, but you don't want to get caught like I was.  I am thankful I didn't have dreams of becoming a Mom, because then hearing I couldn't because of this would have been one tough blow.

Be proactive. Ask questions.

Peace out my wonderful healthy.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Oops, I Did It Again...Or Did I???

Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness. ~ George Santanyana

I thought I had bid racing adieu in 2009...but I guess I may just have one last race left in me.  Well, let's put it this way, I've committed to it so I'm going to do my best to fulfill that commitment.

2009 was not a great year.  Or was it?  On one hand it was not a great year for participating in triathlons.  I signed up for one half Ironman and two Ironman races.  Part way through I realized that mentally, emotionally and physically I was done - for many reasons that I will not dwell on because they are in the past.  But because I'm a stubborn girl, I continued on and finished the races.  Or did they finish me??  I don't think I realized the toll they took on me until I stopped doing them.  Boy, had they ever taken their toll.

And that brings us to the thought that maybe 2009 was a great year.  I learned a lot about myself.  One thing I realized was that I no longer wanted to be a slave to the grind of training.  Afterall, it's not like I was some uber athlete.  Nope, I'm just your average Jill out there doing something for fun.  So when it stopped being fun, it was time to reflect and learn, which is what I spent most of 2010 doing.

Instead of spending all my time training, I spent it moving back to my hometown where my family was, figuring out how to simplify my life, and getting back into nature doing the things I love to do.  The result of that was finding inner peace.  I guess it was always there.  It was just a matter of quieting my life so I could tap into it.

Somewhere along the line in 2010 some friends and I talked about Sinister 7.  It's a trail race in Crownest Pass, AB.  At that point I was still in my race haze I think because I agreed to be a part of a relay team.  I hadn't given it much thought after that, but in December I was asked to contribute to the race fee.  Now at this point racing was FAR from my mind.  But I had committed to it...and it would give me a chance to see my friends from my old town...not to mention I could hang with my buddy Julie who lives there.  I decided I was still in and sent my fee.  Then I forgot about it.

Sometime in late January or early February I remembered I signed up for this race.  Granted it's not until July, but I decided I better start looking into getting a coach.  True, I do run through the forest all the time - it is one of my ultimate happy places.  Also true, I run up hills and stairs in my forest run.  But I only run for about an hour, and part of that hour is running back down hill.  So I wasn't quite sure how I should go about training for my 16 km portion of a 148 km trail run.  It didn't help that adjectives of the climb used in the description of my relay portion were 'gruelling' and 'punishing'.  Yikes.

Enter Jen Segger from Challenge by Choice.  I had found her on the MOMAR site and liked what I read about her.  One thing I didn't count on was the anxiety I felt after contacting her!  I realized I had some residual mental and emotional attachment to training and racing.  I didn't' want to go back to that dark place of training.  I love trail running and just want to do it because I love it, even if I did have a race to prepare for.   I talked to Jen about that during our initial meet and greet and I really appreciated that she understood where I was coming from.  I've also spent some time thinking about what training was going to look like for me this time around.

Some things I was sure of, I would like to do this race because it will be a challenge, I want to be on a team with my friends, this will be the last race I do for a long while, I want to complete my leg of the run and not spend the next few days in pain, I want to be prepared for what it has to offer.  I also know that I will not be devoting my entire life to training for this race, as was the way of the past.

I will officially start training in March and I'm looking forward to the adventure that it will be.  At least with this type of training I can continue to spend time being the long haired leaping gnome who frolics on the trails through the trees of the North Shore.  Oh and training or no, while out on the trails I will still continue my habit of stopping to pet dogs and to hug trees, because really, if you can't make time to give a little love, then what's the point of being out there?

Peace out all you beautiful people!