Friday, 22 January 2016

Farewell for a little while

Hi there friends,

I started 2016 feeling conflicted about my little space here on the interwebs. I actually started 2015 much the same way. I have talked about feeling this way on and off over this past year. And the decline in posts this year versus others is self-evident and speaks volumes about where my heart really lies.

I started this little blog a few years ago now. At a very different time. And in a very different head space. I started writing shortly after getting tested for the BRCA1 gene and deciding to start the process for a preventative double mastectomy.

I started writing mostly with the intention of being able to document that journey and the process for myself. Also to be able share information with family and friends. And with the very small hope that perhaps someone who needed it, may somehow stumble upon it and find it vaguely helpful.

The blog grew and my journey evolved. And along with being a place where I could document my medical misadventures, it also became a place where I could write and hold myself accountable when it came to health and fitness.

And it did.

Writing and falling in love with the running community pushed me. I honestly believe it is why I have now run 2 marathons and 10 half marathons and whole bunch of other races in between. I am not sure I would have done half of that without this blog. It helped me keep pushing at a time in my life when I was really struggling.

It was always a positive space for me.
I have met amazing people both online and IRL. And I have also had some pretty amazing experiences because of it.

But the more time I have spent on the internet. The more I have experienced the "not so nice" side of it. Stolen Photos, snarky comments about the way I look, or how much I weigh or don't depending on commenter, along with some unwanted and gross male attention (*there was a creepy foot fetish guy for awhile. Who required blocking*).

Those experiences were not the norm, but the more time I spent here, the more it happened. And with the idea of growing our family, the more they concerned me.

Last year I gave a lot of thought to walking away. But still felt that my good experiences outweighed the bad. Like in life, you can't let a few negative experiences colour your whole view. So I opted to continue. Some exciting opportunities came my way and I decided it was a sign that this little blog should continue.

So as the New Year rolled around again, I found myself at a cross-roads.

Part of me wanted to continue to write. I wanted to share my experience with fertility and motherhood. Hoping that I could again share something that may help someone else experiencing the same thing. I know I spent a lot of time on blogs, forums, and google after my miscarriage. (and still do) So I thought maybe I could provide something that would help someone too.

But the other side of me knows, that as supportive and awesome Social Media can be, it also brings with it a lot of unnecessary pressure.

It is easy to get sucked into the comparison game. What is everyone else doing? How is everyone doing it? And particularly around the issue of building a family, it can be disheartening to see how easily it happens for other people, when that it is not your experience.

There is pressure to be open and share (whether real or imagined), but with that openness come judgment. People weigh in on your life and your experiences despite only getting a summation in the form of a couple hundred words a week and a few pictures to go by. That is kind of the nature of the social media beast and I have always understood that. But with that, then comes the pressure to justify what you are doing and why you are doing it.

More and more that just doesn't interest me.

I place enough pressure on myself. And lately, it has become clear that the added pressure of social media isn't helpful or something I even want.

I will be first to admit this wasn't a decision I came to lightly. I have poured my heart out on this blog more than a few times. Some of the most difficult moments of my life have been documented on this space. But more and more it feels like these experiences - these very raw and real experiences - just become something to be consumed.

This time - it all feels a little too precious for that. And this part of my life is something that I would rather keep just for me.

I spent the past few months doing a lot of soul searching and thinking about what I want for the year ahead. You may have even noticed much of what has been written here has started to become repetitive.

I just didn't have anything new to share.
Or if I did, I didn't really want to share it.

I am not training for anything. I am just working out to maintain my overall health.
I am working, and as always it keeps me pretty busy - with travel and projects.
And the rest of my time is being spent with my husband, family, and friends.
It is all pretty ordinary and doesn't exactly make for a thrilling read.
But after the past few years, that is also just really nice.
A peaceful, ordinary, happy existence is all I am really looking for.

At this moment I find myself in that peaceful place.
And in a very different phase of life then when I started this blog so many years ago.

Today I know what I want, I feel really good about the path I am on, and the life that I have.
For me, that is enough.

So I think it is time for me to say farewell for a little while.

I am not walking away from social media completely (*in fact it is part of my day-job*). And I am not saying that I will never write here again. But for now, my energy is just better spent elsewhere.

I am sure I will still see you from time to time on the interwebs via Instagram and Facebook. And I hope to see many of you at races and events. But without the pressure and expectations attached to maintaining this space and a certain "online presence".

For now, there are just other things I would rather put my energy into.
Thank you for being such an amazing part of my life and my journey. It has honestly meant so much!
Wishing you all health, happiness, and light.
Until we meet again.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Hashimoto's Treatment Update

I mentioned before Christmas that I was going in for a second round of blood work to see how my thyroid was responding to my Hashimoto's Treatment Plan.

My Thyroid levels have improved and are now well within normal range. (*HURRAY!*)

This wasn't that surprising to me because I had noticed several changes since starting my treatment. The two biggest being my energy levels and my hair (of all things).

1. My energy 
It wasn't that my energy was really holding me back before. Or that I am all of sudden doing so much more. But now I just feel better doing it. 

I used to really struggle in the mornings. I needed multiple cups of coffee to get going. And even with all my coffee I still felt foggy throughout the day. Now I wake up and I feel rested. And even after a long day - work, exercise, family commitments - I feel good. Those days would have left me feeling completely wiped out in the past. So for me, this change has been huge! 

2. My hair
I have long referred to my hair as duck fluff - it would break really easily. Not really a big deal, I just kinda figured I wasn't destined to have the luscious locks highlighted in the Panteen commercials. And I just assumed part of the problem was that I wore my hair up so often. But now, all of sudden my hair is much thicker and healthier.

This change was unexpected but I have definitely noticed a difference. (*Mostly that I don't have to spend 30 min wiping down the bathroom every time I wash my hair!*) 

The one area with my blood work that we were not super impressed with - were my Antibodies. These are the cause of my Hashimoto's, and I was hoping to see those decrease by going gluten-free. So far there has been no change to these levels. Which means we are treating the Hashimoto's with the thyroid replacement, but I have not really made strides to get to the root of issue.

It is possible that these are just slow to respond and will decrease if given more time. Or it could be that there is more I need to do from a diet/supplement perspective to change this. Or it could also mean that going gluten-free is doing a whole lot of nothing. 

We have decided to hold off on making any changes for the time being. And retest in another month to see what my antibodies are doing.

We also discussed my diet for my upcoming vacation to London and Paris. Since it is debatable that avoid gluten is doing much of anything, and I am going to the land of delicious French bread, my naturopath and I have agreed that I will go away and not stress about my diet.

I purchased a digestive Gluten-Enzyme to ensure I don't feel sick after avoiding gluten for the past few months. But otherwise, the plan is to enjoy my vacation. And discuss more options once I return.

Which sounds pretty good to me! Since we have delicious patisseries on our itinerary!

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Monday, 4 January 2016

12 Goals for 2016

Last week I shared my 2016 Resolution.

And that post sums up how I want to approach the year ahead. Instead of being so hung up on getting to the place I am going, I want to step back, breathe, and enjoy the journey.

I have a clinical and critical mind (*some may say perhaps a little too honest and critical*), but a deeply emotional spirit. So I am trying to balance these two sides of my personality. My approach to life has always been a bit of paradox.

Being direct and goal-oriented tends to muddle the journey. But my Type-A spirit is always scheming and striving. So I cannot resist the lure of setting goals and intentions for the year ahead.

I have broken them down into four categories: Home Life, Fitness, Diet, and Career. (*bare with me this is a long one, feel free to skim and just read the highlighted bits*)

Home Life:

Baby Bishop
I decided to start with Family this year, because the truth is this is really my primary focus for 2016. 2016 is the year I hope we expand our family. Part of my cringes when I read that, as this is something I have struggled to share. But I try to treat this blog as an exercise in brutal honesty, and that is the truth,

The road back, following  my miscarriage in September has not been as linear as I had originally hoped.

It is no secret that I have been stressed. And since September I have admittedly been battling against my own self-imposed timelines. Deep down I wanted to get pregnant again in 2015. Because for whatever reason, I felt like it would help negate the sadness I felt about the miscarriage. I felt like if I could get pregnant before the clock struck midnight, then 2015 could still be about that Baby Joy that I long for, instead of having the year be about the one we lost.

But ironically, starting a new year and not being pregnant has been oddly freeing for me. Those imaginary timelines and that pressure is gone.

And I have finally gotten to a place where I understand that there is only so much that I can do. And this like many other things in life cannot be controlled or scheduled.

I am hopeful, that I am finally getting both my body and my mind in the right place to make this dream a reality. But if by mid-year we are still struggling, then we will start exploring other options.

We are ready to have a family, and I have always been open to the many ways that family takes shape. So hopefully, 2016 will reveal what will be best for us.

This one is already in the works, and just 5 weeks away. February 10th we head to London and then Paris for 11 days, and I cannot wait. I am looking forward to quality time with my husband, art, good food, an the kind of adventure that only travel can bring.

Be Present
I don't know about you, but Christmas was just good for my soul. We were busy. It was a jammed packed schedule of family, travel, and hosting. But spending that time surrounded by all the people that I love really helped remind me how lucky I am.

It is easy to think about the next step, the thing you don't have, and get bogged down in your everyday To-Dos. So for me, Christmas Break reminded me how many wonderful people surround me and how much I love my ordinary yet magical little life. I just need to spend more time simply embracing each moment.


Typically this is when I put together a detailed race schedule, with hopes of new distances and personal bests. And I won't pretend making the shift away from training for endurance and performance has been easy for me. I often miss my 2 hour training rides and my long runs. But as mentioned above, I have different priorities this year. So 2016 is going to be year I embrace a more balanced fitness approach.

The past few months have been struggle. I wanted to relax my training to focus more energy on getting pregnant, but as result treated exercise extremely conservatively and drove myself a little nuts. I started to lose myself in this process and was sacrificing healthy habits unnecessarily.

Exercise has just become a huge part of my life. And while I know Marathons and Half Ironman's don't work for me right now, I know being healthy has to remain a priority.

Swim 1x/week
I have not been in the pool regularly since we moved last year, and swimming is something I want to get back to. It is a great full body workout, but also gentle on the cardiovascular system and joints. So this week I am heading back to water

Strength Training 2x/week
I swear I have written this 100x on this blog.I always say I am going to start regularly incorporating Strength Training, but then I never do. Whether it is because my focus shifts toward increasing mileage for my next race, or I am fresh out of surgery, or preparing to head back to the OR for another - I always weasel my way out of it.

This year will be different. This year I plan to strength train a minimum of 2x\week. Strength training is a bit of a foreign concept for me, so I have started going to the BodyPump classes at Goodlife. Being in the class has been helpful to keep me motivated and to figure out what the heck I am supposed to be doing. Maybe with time I will branch out on my own, but so far the classes are kicking my butt.

Yoga 2x/week
Yoga is a must for me spiritually. As much as it is workout, I find I do a lot of soul searching on my mat. It helps me calm my mind, surrender my fear, find my strength, and refocus. So I committed to 2 yoga session per week in 2016.

Run 2x/week
I don't know if this will last for the whole year, but running is my first love. I am keeping my mileage low and lately I have been skipping my GPS altogether so I don't focus on pace/time. But a 30 minute run 2x a week is just something I enjoy. It helps keep me balanced.


Maintain Gluten-Free Diet
I am meeting with my Naturopath Cara this week to discuss my Thyroid levels and potential Non-Gluten-Free diet options while I am traveling. But I have noticed a big change in my overall health since going Gluten-Free 2 months ago.

In fact, over the holidays I cheated. On New Year's Day when I was feeling tired I had Kraft Dinner for lunch. (*its a tried and true comfort food for me*) Thinking because I don't have celiacs that I wouldn't really notice a difference.

I was wrong.
My stomach was not happy for the rest of the day, and I developed a migraine by dinner time.

Obviously not ideal, but lesson learned. Gluten and I are not friends.

Refocus on Whole Foods
December is always a bit of diet disaster - between my birthday and Christmas. But I have noticed, especially since going gluten-free, that I reach for pre-packaged food way too often. It is easy and convenient, but it is also often full of sugar and not that healthy. So this is something I need to stop doing.

Increase Protein
I have been an endurance runner for many years. And I have always been a carb lover. I could get away with lots of carbs before, because I would run 20-30km and burn it all off. But now that my lifestyle is changing, but diet has to change too. So I am striving to increase my daily protein.


Continue to increase my Portfolio at Work
I love my job with Polar Canada, and I had a great year work-wise in 2015. So I would obviously like to keep that ball rolling in 2016 as well and continue to increase my portfolio.

Master's Degree
I had every intention of applying for my Master's Degree in 2014, But I had an unexpected surgery, I lost my Dad, and then needed surgery again. I let life wear me down.

It is not something I am proud of. I have always prided myself on being able to pick myself back up. But at that moment - I could not do it.

I needed a break, I could no longer juggle work, life, family, and school. Something had to give. And for me it was grad school. I know why I made the decision I made. I don't even think it was a bad one. I needed that time. But I also don't want to be the kind of person that gives up on something that was important to them just because life got complicated.

I have had a chance to catch my breath now. And while I wouldn't exactly say I have been in full on relax mode for the past few years. Grad School is something I want to look at again.

This won't be something that happens this year, but I want to start exploring options and seeing if this is something I can do part-time in the evenings.

So that is the plan.
These are all my goals, hopes, and dreams for year ahead.
Hello 2016. I hope that you and I can be friends.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,