Current Happenings

Plains & Pastures Bike Tour (2013)

I'm so proud to live here! Fredericton folks are just AMAZING!!!  Thank you one and all!!  My team raised over $2000.  The support was humbling.  What a great place to be!!!

Mind you, the journey isn't about me - it's about people who fight this horrible disease on a daily basis.  If you're reading this now, I hope you'll come back and sponsor me in the ride next time. 


Bike for Breath

Many thanks to everyone and their generosity.  The amazing people in my life supported me to the tune of $377.  Some days it is just great to be here!   (Fall 2012)


Entries in Accomplishments (17)


700 Kilometres in the pool

A friend of mine called me today.  “I’ve checked your blog.  NOTHING NEW!!”  Ummm yeah.  Busted.  “Why not?”  Well, it’s a long list of excuses....

In truth, there wasn’t anything to write home about.  Weight loss is on a plateau.  So is strength training.  Well, strength training more like “fell off" the plateau.  

Time has been a scarce commodity lately.  I had a major project at work that actually came into being on October 8th.  (Three years on the file and it’s finally a public item.  Wahoo!)  

I actually thought I’d do a bit of personal improvement so I signed up for an online course in Statistics.  One of those newfangled MOOC’s:  Massive Open Online Courses.  The price is right: free.  Taught by a bonafide stats professor and delivered by Princeton University.  That’s right.... I’m taking a course FROM PRINCETON!!! 

The only possible thing that follows an announcement like that would be “What were you thinking?!?#?@?”  Well I was thinking that a course in statistics would really help me with projects at work right now.  “Are you crazy?  You have time to take a course in anything, never mind Statistics?”  Actually I don’t, but never let the truth interfere with your dreams.  “You’re dreams are taking statistics courses?”  Nightmares actually, but the price was right and it will come in handy....... (Probably the least lame excuse I've got going on this list.)

September means my daughter goes back to school and the after-school taxi service reappears in my portfolio.  September also means that the dog club I belong to starts our public obedience classes again for the fall & winter season.  Speaking of dogs, I do continue to volunteer regularly (taking my Therapy Dog into a local facility to visit patients.)  While TDog activity hums, training of my dog is in “a lull”.  I’ve got loads of new ideas to test on him after a couple really good seminars this summer...... gotta put it into action before I forget it all!!!

There’s this whole winter thing coming on, so there’s a garden to shut down and a woodpile to build up.  Not to mention that giant storage bin that’s actually meant to cover cars and currently chock full of crap.  I did manage to haul several bags of recycling away and I’ve got a willing recipient for a pile of shoes that are too small and a bigger pile of clothes that are too big.  Getting shoes & clothes into cardboard boxes appears to be a major hurdle.  I really must do that “soon”........

Sleep and Stress both start with “S”.  I wonder if there’s a reason for that?  Can’t honestly say that Stress is under control yet but I’m working on that with a series of appointments for Therapeutic Massage.  I did treat myself to a relaxation massage at one point in the height of insanity this summer, but to tell you the truth it really didn’t do much.  It felt great while it lasted but I was just as wired the next day.  Clearly I need more serious interventions.  

I’ve taken a snippet of time in the past week to sit down at the piano and to pick up the guitar.  It’s really quite pathetic when you have to literally dust off your musical instruments.  Actually I had to dig out the piano bench from under a mountain of clothes that are too big now...... a small sampling of those same clothes that are supposed to go into those cardboard boxes.... sigh.

As I filled out my swim log I realized I finally had something to write about.  I can at least hold my head up and say I kept swimming every available lunch hour.  Work schedules interfered with a few, but only a few.  My major milestone was 700 kilometres in the pool. THAT is something to write home about.  That’s the same as Fredericton to Halifax and back to Moncton!!!  Wahoo!!!!  That’s 548 sessions in the pool.  Maybe I should’ve highlighted the 500th swim session?   It was July 17th by the way.....


Another not-small victory

There are no small victories in this battle of the bulge.  You take every piece of good news you can get.  Today was one of those days.

Data geek that I am, I keep a log of pretty much every bit of exercize I do.  It's motivating to scroll back a couple years and realize just how far I've come.  I do this quite often on days when some super-jock or jockette smokes me at something.  It helps me feel better. 

Today was one of those days.  I got smoked but good in the pool.  She was nice and everything, but she was zipping fast when I got there, and 45 minutes later when I crawled out she was still smoking me.

So when it came time to ride home, I was miffed and pushed it a little.  I have one leg stronger than the other so I made sure I was pushing extra hard with that weaker leg.  Well worth it.  When I turned off the timer I couldn't believe my eyes.  A personal best!!! 

None too shabby for a 20 yr. old mountain bike!  That scale hasn't been cooperating lately but I'll take this instead.  This feels GOOD!  Real bike people would sneer at the thought.  Let them.  Two years ago I needed a cane to hobble from my desk to the printer.  THIS feels GOOD!


Airplane seatbelts

If you have ever been obese, then you don't even need an explanation of those two words.  "Airplane seatbelts" equals misery.  Enough said.

First of all, the first time your seatbelt doesn't fasten you're mortified because you try sucking in everything you've got and it doesn't work.  In humiliation you have to ask for something to extend your seatbelt and EVERYBODY in your six foot vicinity knows what's happening.

I bet you thought they just had those short little seatbelts for the safety demonstration didn't you?  Nope.  Those are belt extenders.

From then on it's a matter of discreetly & quietly asking the steward(ess) for one when you get on the plane and the nice ones will hand you one right then and there.  Others say they'll bring you one and you're left hoping that they remember.  It's hectic boarding a plane and I've had to ask more than once when they've forgotten.

Last time I went on the plane I was so thrilled that a) I didn't need one and b) I had to snug it up.  There was belt to spare.  Well guess what?  This time there was LOADS of belt to spare.  I was so proud!!!!  And I took a picture.  The woman beside me thought I was nuts - ok she's right - but I don't care.  I was seriously proud of myself.  I worked hard for it.



Plains & Pastures: DONE!!!!!!!

There are no words to describe this particular bit of euphoria right now.  I wasn't prepared for the emotion that comes when you realize that you DID IT!!!!  I thought I was ready.  HA!!!  First of all, the word "plains" in the title is highly misleading.  They should have called it "Hills and Pastures".  I mean really.  This is Canada eh and anybody who's seen a picture of Saskatewan should know what a proper "plain" looks like.  Good grief. 

Then there's the distance part.  Due to road construction in the city of Saint John they had to add several more kms of hills to the equation, not knowing what to expect, every corner bringing another hill, and the worst hills coming last........  Going up the driveway/cliff into the boarding school took every bit of mental oomph there was left.  First aid folk were ready for the sorry stragglers and one lovely man was happily chatting us through the last stretch.  We came to a "crest" of sorts and he said "There you go -- you can hop back on now" and I said it wasn't going to happen.  My chain had come off and...... well, he didn't even let me finish my sentence and he said "Let me fix that.  You HAVE to ride across the finish line tonight".  So I did.  And I'm so very glad because there was probably 20 people standing under the banner screeching & hollering & blowing horns.  How foolish would I have felt walking? 

But you know what?  A good night's sleep put it all in perspective and we were ready the next morning. We were definitely the most ragtag team, on the oldest and heaviest clunker mountain bikes that you could imagine, but hey, I keep saying, it's NOT ABOUT ME!!!!   

The collection of people who did the bike tour were of course mostly "bike people" but a special bunch of bike people.  Collectively the weekend had 180 riders and over $155,000 was raised in total.  That's pretty amazing.  For many it was hugely personal as they had friends and family that fight this horrible disease on a daily basis. 

The ride from Sussex TO Saint John took us approx. 6 hours.  The next day, starting off with the biggest hills and a good night sleep, it only took us 5 hours to go back.  And as time passed it started to feel better.  In fact, my only injury from the entire trip was a blister on my left thumb from changing gears!! LOL

When we rolled into Sussex on Sunday afternoon, emotions started building.  I wasn't prepared for that.  Of course I'd never tried to do something this monumental before, but I was really fighting back the tears for the last few kms.  We DID IT!  On top of that, even on our clunky mountain bikes we were NOT last!!!  Now THERE's an accomplishment!!!  There were a good many people on sleek & fancy road bikes that packed it in.  We didn't quit.  We finished!!

Plains & Pastures Bike Tour 2013 -- 140 kms in 2 days

See you next year!!!!!!


Accomplishments: 2 Years

I paid my YMCA membership today.  It's been exactly two years since I darkened the door and I've come a long ways!!!

- 139 pounds melted off

- just a slight bit less than 20 inches gone off my waist

- my rings fit over my knuckles

- my knees & back don't hurt all the time

- I've logged a grand total of 614 kms in the swimming pool (that's the distance from Fredericton to Halifax and back past Amherst NS).  I've lost count of how many bathing suits I've worn out.

- This spring I've clocked 777 kms on the bike (Fredericton to a point south of Boston)

- I've LEARNED so much about nutrition and physiology

- SO many kind people have answered questions - people all over the world!

- I've given a handful of "my story" talks and the feedback has been amazing.

Somewhere along the line this journey stopped being mine alone.  Somehow there's other people that find motivation in what I'm doing.  That's so cool.  It's awesome but scary too. 

So it's only fitting that this weekend we would take on the Plains & Pastures Bike Tour.  What a phenomenal way to celebrate.  My team of Alan, Lesley and myself have collectively melted away 277 pounds.  WE ROCK!!  We've all met our fundraising goals (I think) so the MS Society will reap a hefty benefit too.

This is indeed a great day!! Here's to being healthy & able to do those fun things of my past all over again.  Maybe wiser this time, but maybe not! 

My first time on a motorcycle. WHAT A BLAST!!!