Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The healing power of the race

With all that has happened the past few weeks, I think it is safe to say that I have been a little scatter-brained lately. So I only just realized, that my Triathlon is this weekend. (*oops!*)

Yep, Sunday I am supposed to race a Sprint Triathlon. Sunday, as in 3 days from now.

I forgot entirely about this race. Which means I have also forgotten entirely about my training. Obviously the last few weeks have not been great in terms of training. And with all of focus going toward my upcoming Marathon I have forgotten all about the other 2 disciplines. It has been over a month since I have been on the bike. And it has been just as long since I have been in the pool. Combine all of that with my recent tummy troubles, and my new struggle to get my heart and my head back into the game... and I think it is safe to say that I am not exactly expecting big things on Sunday.

I gave some serious thought to pulling out of this event.
But this is my therapy. This is how I heal.

For me the sweat is cleansing. The pain is cathartic. It is where I work out my frustrations. It is where I find my purpose. And my body's ability to endure, becomes the physical manifestation of my spirit's strength.

So on Sunday I will race. I will line up with all of the other women competing this weekend. I will Swim 750 meters. I will Bike 20 kilometers. I will Run 5 kilometres. And I will cross the finish line.

I will cross the finish line knowing he is watching, that he is smiling, and that this is what he would want. 

So let's do this. On Sunday I will leave all my grief, all my tears, and all my sadness out on the course. This one is for Dad.

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

Monday, 26 August 2013

Something Greater


I never speak about religion, though I often receive questions about my faith. I think faith is beautiful, but it is complex. And what faith and religion means to one person, does not always translate to another. It is deeply personal, so it is a topic that I shy away from. But this past week has called my faith into question and I have struggled to find my peace.

I was raised in a Baptist home. We went to church most Sundays. I spent my summers at a Baptist Bible Camp. And then I went on to minor in Religion at University. My idea of faith and religion has evolved over the years, and I don’t know if you would call me religious in the traditional sense. Spiritual, is perhaps a better term. What I practice now probably resembles something closer to Buddhism than Baptism. But I have long felt that I have a very unique relationship with something greater.

To say that life has been complicated over the past ten year is probably putting it lightly. And there have been many moments where I have found myself asking “Why?”.

“Why me? Why now? Why this?”

But for every “Why?” I have put out into the universe I have always received answer. It can be hard to hear in the moment. Sometimes the pain and the sadness makes it difficult to find. But eventually with time and healing I always find the answer I was looking for.
My struggles have become part of my story. Every struggle and every setback has led to something greater. I have grown, learned lessons, come out stronger, and more often than not happier because of the things I have faced.

Today I find myself again asking “Why?”. I know right now my grief is too powerful and my heart is too heavy. Today there will be no answers. But I know in time I will find it.

I know there is something greater.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Krysten

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

For My Dad

Yesterday I said good-bye to my amazing Dad. These are the words that I spoke.

How do you put into words the loss of a Father?

It is a loss so big that your whole world stops. It is a loss so profound you can’t understand why the rest of world hasn’t stopped to grieve with you. It is a life lost. And a life forever changed.

At 9 years old I walked into the ICU of our local hospital fearing this day. My cheeks were stained with tears. I held my little sisters hand. We gawked at the tubes in our Halloween costumes. I wrinkled my nose at the sterile smell. And I stared hopelessly at my Dad.

At 40 my father had his first heart attack. And the truth about the precarious edge between life and death on which we dwell became ever present in my mind.

A long happy life was no longer a guarantee. Health was something earned – and almost never given.

My eyes were open. I was stunned. I was devastated. And most of all I was terrified that I would lose my Dad.

I have spent the last twenty years dreading this day, while he spent the last twenty years teaching me how to live.

He taught us to laugh - to laugh long and loud, and so the whole world can feel your happiness. He laughed more than anyone else I knew. His energy bursting behind every chuckle, every inside joke, and felt with every mischievous smile.

He taught us how to fight. He taught us to fight for the life that you want and all of things that you believe. Stubbornness is an attribute to be cherished. Because it meant that you stood for something, even if that something could be wrong from time to time. Standing for something always takes great courage. A lengthy debate and a boisterous exchange of ideas was a measure of your integrity. And the only life worth living is one worth fighting for.

He taught us the value of hard work through his tireless and determined ethic. He worked harder than anyone I have ever known. But he always gained so much satisfaction from a job well-done Through his labours he reinforced the importance of taking joy in accomplishing things, not, like so many others, in simply having things. For Dad life was to be lived, not had.

He taught us how to cherish the little things. Never has a man been so happy to cut the lawn, organize the garage, and clean his boat. He took such great joy in the everyday. Humming as he craved the turkey. Smiling happily as he rigged a lure. His love of this life could be felt in even the most mundane task. Every moment was precious. Every moment was celebrated

More than anything else, though - he taught us how to love. He greeted everyone he met with kindness, a firm hand-shake, a big manly bear-hug, and a "Holy Mackerel". He loved with every piece of his heart. The love he had knew no bounds. He loved us freely, fiercely, and with all that he had. His passion and devotion could be felt in everything he did.  

He took so much pride in his family and so much delight in his friends. He believed the people that surround you become your true legacy, and we are all a testament to his.

It is his love that we will remember. It is his love that we will truly miss. It is his love that we will carry with us. And it is through his love that he will live on.
Love your sad and favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten


 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

One Disastrous Half Marathon

Who has been the worst blogger in life? This girl!

Sorry I have been so MIA lately friends. The past few weeks have been absolutely crazy around here. I have been working a lot of hours - last week was close to 50. And I am in the process of finalizing papers and writing exams for school. All while doing my best to keep up with my marathon training and tummy troubles...Needless to say I haven't had much down time for blogging (le sigh).

It is probably because of all the above craziness that I ended up running one seriously disastrous half marathon this past weekend.
I signed up to run the Whitby Waterfront Half Marathon. I had hopes of a PR. And it was going to be my hubby's first half. I figured it would be a fun one to do together. It was a smaller event. The course was done by the water. And it just so happened to fall on one of our many few and far between free weekends.

Admittedly I was pretty worn down going into this race. I was running on very little sleep. I was still feeling some of the effects from my new elimination diet. And I was battling a nagging cold. I toyed with the idea of not running this event, but I was excited to share the race with Jamie. So despite the less than stellar conditions I opted to run it anyways.

I was tired when my alarm went off at 6:10. But slowly the race day excitement started to kick in, and I felt ready to race. The race route was changed last minute due to construction, so the course ended up being a double loop down by the water. It was very picturesque and the double loop made it a little easier to pace.
There were 3 distances racing on Sunday - a 5km, a 10km, and a Half. We all lined up at the line for a mass start. Jamie and I lined up closer to the back, because we would not be starting out fast. We made our way across the line and ran the first 3-ish km together at a 6min/km pace. Jamie started to pull away just past the 4km mark, while I stayed steady at my 6 min pace.

My plan was to keep it steady in and around that pace for the first 13km and then slowly drop my pace for the remainder of the race. I was bouncing along to my playlist and feeling great for the first half of the race. Jamie and I passed each other twice at the turn around points, high-fiving and supporting each other all the way along.

At kilometer 12 things started to change for me. My stomach started to cramp up, and I was struggling with my acid reflux. (**If you have been following along then you have heard me mention my current stomach problems many times...this has been an on-going issue for the past 3 months**).

By kilometer 15 things had really escalated, and I had to stop to throw-up in the bushes. I had a serious think about turning around, calling it a day, and getting my very first DNF. But after a few minutes of pondering I decided I just couldn't do it, and tried to carry on. My pace slowed down significantly. And I threw-up a second time at kilometer 17. At that point though, I had to walk back the remainder of the loop anyways so I choose to run it as best I could.

I crossed the line in a miserable fashion at 2:16:15. No where near the race I hoped to run. And no PR either. It was however, a 3 minute improvement from my half marathon in May even with all the tummy drama. So it does give me hope that a half marathon PR is in my future. Hopefully next month.
I had a disastrous half, but Jamie had a great race. He finished strong at 1:54:30. And Bruce - my Dad-Inlaw - rocked his 5km with a sub 25 minute finish. So the boys had a great day of racing all around. Despite my rough time on the course, I was happy to share in everyone else's race day excitement. And being able to share my love of distance with my hubby has been so nice. I can't wait to race with him again, hopefully I will be able to keep up next time.

Sometime these disastrous runs happen.
But you learn, you grow, and more importantly you try again. 
Maybe next time it will be my turn to celebrate a PR. Time will tell. But I know I will definitely keep trying.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

#WIAW - A Break, A Nutritionist, and An Elimination Diet

Hello Friends!! Happy WIAW!  Did you miss me last week?!

I took a little blogging hiatus for a couple of days. Admittedly I have been burning the candle at both ends lately, and I was starting to feel the pressure. Between school, my crazy hours at work lately , and marathon training I was feeling a little worn down. So I needed a couple of days to refocus, regroup, and relax. Which was precisely what I did this weekend!  I went home, sat on the beach, and spent some time with friends and family.


I also used this week off to seriously tackle my tummy troubles head on.  If you have been reading along than you guys know I struggling with stomach issues for the last two months. It is likely a bi-product from my many recent trips to the OR. Those pain med and antibiotics do a real number on your system. And the precise way to treat said issues has remained elusive.

I have gone down the conventional medical route.  I have been on a couple different ant-acids, had blood work done, and an ultra-sound. I am now currently waiting to be referred to a GI Doctor and we will go from there.

In the mean time I decided I needed to explore other options. So I met with a holistic nutritionist to discuss dietary changes and how I should fuel my marathon training. The truth is I have really been struggling this department. Diet has never been my strong suit. And then you add all these other considerations into to the mix and I am totally lost! I was cutting things out left right and center, with no real method to madness, and I wasn't getting anywhere.

So I met with Lucia for 2 hours to go over a little bit of everything. We came up with a short term and a long term plan. The short term plan is to focus on healing my stomach. It is admittedly a little extreme. But at this point I was ready for a change. So for the next 3 weeks I will be on an Elimination Diet - aka a diet that eliminates all possible irritants...aka pretty much everything haha. The plan is to give my stomach some time to heal and then slowly start adding some things back in to see what works and what doesn't.

So what are we eliminating...
  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Sugar
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Citrus/Tomato
  • Fried Foods
  • Red Meat
  • Spicy Food
  • Nitrate
Ummm which is a lot (** if you are curious about what I am actually eating I am trying to post a daily account of meals on Instagram - @Darwinianfail). I am not a girl who does diets well, so this has been a really test. I am a week in so far. And the first week was hard. Like REALLY hard. I know I am fiercely addicted to caffeine. But I had no idea how much sugar is normally in my diet. The lack of sugar and the lack of caffeine over the first few days nearly killed me. Things I would normally not even think twice about are now off limits.I was tried. I was hungry. And I was pretty cranky.

I think (hope) I am now through the worst of it. And that this will only get easier with time. We shall see. Time will tell, and I am pretty much willing to try anything at this point. Fingers Crossed this will do the trick!

Anyone else have to experience an Elimination Diet? Doe it get any better?

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten