Tap, Tap, Tap…. Testing, Testing…. Is Anybody Still Out There?

Wow… so it’s been almost 5 months since my last post, and over 6 months since I blogged regularly. I always said I wouldn’t be one of “those” bloggers… the ones who disappear with no notice, no goodbye – and then I did. So if there are any of my blog friends out there who still read this, thank you. A few of you reached out to me during the darkness, and I appreciated that more than you know.

So much has happened since I quit my job at the end of April – some of it good, but in truth, 2013 has been a very tough year. It took 10 weeks to find a new job – longer than I thought it would, and financially going without my pay for 10 weeks was tough. In the end, though, I had two different offers, and I chose the one that I thought was the best fit for me (the money was basically the same for both). I’m confident I made the right decision, I’m very happy at my new company.

And then there was the Ironman. Being out of work for 10 weeks should have left me lots of time to train, right? In theory, but I was also actively searching for work, and trying to get my head back in the game of life, so truth be told, I didn’t train as much as I should have. However, we did train, and off we went to Quebec full of determination to conquer the race. Instead, due to gastro issues on race day, I was a DNF at Mile 62 on the bike. Disappointing? Yes, but not the end of the world. The trip itself was fantastic, the race was incredible, and the whole Ironman experience was amazing. So amazing, we actually signed up for the 2014 race on the Saturday BEFORE our race! (Perhaps a little premature, but hey… go big or go home).

And then we got home, and life went sideways again. (I did mention 2013 had been rough so far…). Bruce had gone in to see our family doctor in the spring due to a swollen lump on his neck. We all thought it was just a low grade infection – even the doctor. He prescribed anti-biotics, but ordered a CT scan anyway because Bruce had cancer 9 years ago. The CT scan was the week after we got back from Quebec, and then there was a biopsy, then there was another one…. and three weeks ago it diagnosis was confirmed. Stage 4 throat cancer. Another week later, and an entire morning with doctors to discuss treatment options, we were given a slightly more optimistic prognosis – although the cancer is Stage 4, it has only spread to the lymph nodes in his neck.

We still don’t know what will happen. We could have 3 years, or 5 years, or 20 years. We listened to everything the doctors said about treatment options, and selected the one that made the most sense to us – Bruce starts 7 weeks of daily radiation therapy this afternoon. After those 7 weeks are up, the tumour should be gone if it responds to treatment as anticipated. But the next 10 weeks (7 weeks of treatment, and 2-3 of recovery) will be very difficult.

As for the future? Well, part of getting through this is to try to keep up with some kind of training schedule. I’ve joined a Masters swim program, and am trying to swim at least 3 times a week. I definitely think it’s helping. My running mojo has been missing for months – doing my training runs for IMMT was torture. But after taking a few weeks off, and sticking to short runs, I’m starting to feel better when I run, and I’m trying to run 2x per week. And I’m trying to get on the bike trainer 2x per week. We’ll see if I can keep it up as the weeks go by.

So there it is…. the reason(s) I’ve been dark for so long. Am I going to be back regularly? I hope so. In the mean time, just getting some of this out is a huge relief.

 

 

Posted in Personal, Weight Loss | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Unemployed, and Better For It

So in my last post, I vented about my crazy work situation – I lasted 2 more days. On April 24th, I quit my job. I’ve been unemployed for two weeks now. I have been actively looking, I’ve had one telephone interview, but nothing has materialized so far. Am I stressed? You bet. But I’m actually less stressed than I was before I quit – in the end, it’s just money, and we have enough banked to get by for a few months without making significant changes to our life. After that? Well, I should be working by then, and if not, we’ll cross that bridge then. We have a plan. We’ll figure it out.

So what have I been doing for two weeks? Aside from applying for jobs daily, last week I logged several good, long bike sessions on the indoor trainer, and ran my first half marathon of the season. Boy, was that hard – I was so undertrained! Our weather has been so crappy that the longest outside run I’d done was 6 miles; the longest run I’d done since March 29th (16 miles on the treadmill) was only 6 miles! In fact, for all of April, I only ran a total of 30 miles. April sucked.

We mutually decided that running the Fargo Marathon on May 18th would be a terrible idea both because we are undertrained, and because with me not working, it made no sense to spend at least $500 (hotels and meals for 4 people) to run a marathon we knew we weren’t ready for. The Manitoba Marathon is 6 weeks away; we will run it instead. (My prior experience makes me really not want to do this, but it is the only local marathon, and the only one we can make work before Mont Tremblant).

As for Mont Tremblant… well. This business of me not working makes our doing this race very questionable. The longer I am out of work, the less likely we are to do this race. I figure we will need around $3,500 for travel, meals, etc. Maybe a little less, but as the hotel room in Mont Tremblant alone is almost $1,400 for 6 nights, I can’t see it being any less. Aside from which, if I have accepted a new role, I would also have to negotiate to have two weeks off in August. But if things work out, we could still do it. IF we don;t put the training hours in, there is no way. But it’s hard to stay motivated when it is so unlikely we will be able to do the race! Ugly Catch-22.

I’m trying to stay motivated using the rationale that even if we don’t do MT, we will be well trained for a fall half Ironman, or we’ll be totally ready to crush a race next year. It’s still tough to stay motivated though.

Other than that, I’m cooking a lot, cleaning and organizing my house, brushing up on my Excel skills… and trying to figure out what’s next. For everyone still following me…. thanks for your support. It’s helped me through a tough time. πŸ™‚

Posted in Personal, Progress Reports, Training | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Where Do I Go From Here?

I haven’t blogged in over a month. There hasn’t been much to blog about, and yet there’s been so much. Where do I start?

Training has been spotty at best – for a week I’ll do really good, get in most of my workouts, then I’ll go completely off the rails and do nothing for up to 2 weeks. I’ve been tested for menopausal symptoms (negative); I’ve been erratic and emotional, and I’ve been stressed… so, so stressed.

I don’t like talking about it. It makes me feel weak. And I also know a few of my family read this blog, so I didn’t want to worry them. But it’s reached the point where either I “talk” about what I’m feeling, or I continue to gain more weight (up to 154 and holding… and no, none of my clothes fit anymore).

This week, I made a decision. I reached out to a friend of mine, and asked her to help me find a new job. It’s been 7 months, and I’ve gone from being happy and excited to being scared, paranoid, and having my confidence so rattled that I don’t feel I add value anymore. And I hate that feeling. And you start to think that it’s your fault. So I started sharing some of what I was going through with a few people, and you know what? It’s not all my fault! I work in a completely dysfunctional office.

We are an office of 12 (now); at the highest point I think we had 15 or 16? But since the second week of January, 9 people have left, 6 of whom have been fired. (5 people started in the same time frame). Do you blame me for being paranoid and scared? Even if I were performing at the top of my game (which I’m not – at 7 months in I’ve had less than half the training I feel I need), I’d be paranoid; in this environment if you cross the wrong person you could be gone.

The expectation is ridiculous – my boss (who is a top salesperson, but not a good trainer – he’s too busy performing to teach) comes in at 6:00 am or earlier, every single morning, as does our branch manager. I refuse to – aside from the fact I need my sleep, I try to get up 3-4 mornings at week at 5:00 so I can get a solid workout in before work. I put in 9+ hours a day plus time on the weekends – and on Friday I got told one of the reasons I’m not meeting my targets is I’m not putting in enough time. Excuse me?? If I can’t do this job in a 40-ish hour workweek – well, I don’t want it. Regularly working 55+ hours a week? Sorry, the money isn’t worth it. I also got scolded for having a negative attitude – to which my response was, maybe if you’d stop firing people, we wouldn’t all be so scared!!

I have my letter of resignation drawn up. I’m trying to hold on to it until I have another job lined up – the truth is, we really need my paycheque. But if I have another day like I did on Friday, I’ll hand it in and walk away… and let the chips fall where they may. I do already have one offer in hand, but it’s 100% commission, and just seems too risky. Of course, 100% commission work is still more attractive than no work at all, so we’ll see. πŸ™‚

So aside from work drama which has consumed my life, it’s left me with little motivation and no energy to train. And it is the third week of April, and not only do we still have snow on the ground, we regularly still have snow falling! Talk about killing motivation – I want out on my bike, or out to run, and it’t just been so miserable. πŸ™ The Fargo marathon is 4 weeks away, and I have no idea how we’re actually going to run 26.2 miles in 4 weeks. I guess we will figure it out.

So there. That’s where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to. I miss blogging. I miss training. I miss having a life – and I’m trying to take it back now. Hopefully my next update will be sooner, and better.

Posted in Events, Progress Reports, Training, Triathlons | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Quick Update

No weekly update this week…. or last week either! I was sick all last week, brought down by a nasty flu that starts as a sore throat/cough, and lasts, and lasts. 7 days later, I’m still coughing, and walking 10 minutes leaves me winded and coughing – running is out of the question! I’m hoping to get a short bike ride in tonight, and be back in the pool no later than early next week. It has definitely put a crimp in marathon training though!

I’m still struggling something awful with my weight – I saw a number over 150 pounds again yesterday. I really think I have a gluten issue though – I ate bread on Saturday, and had pancakes Sunday (and had Β stomach ache again after… duh… big clue!) – and woke up with a 3+ pound gain overnight? Um…. not likely. So time to trim out the carbs again, and see what happens.

As well, I saw my doctor last week as I’ve been experiencing what I can only hope are premature menopause symptoms (which considering I had a hysterectomy 2.5 years ago seems ridiculous, but…). I’ve been: gaining weight, not sleeping, totally emotional (like crying… all the time), and while I haven’t been having hot flashes, I’m also not cold – and ever since I lost all my weight, I am cold all. the. time. Like freezing. Like long underwear, pyjamas, a robe, a fleecy blanket, and a gas fireplace going to watch TV cold. Like 3 sweaters under my suit jacket plus a mini heater under my desk cold. So what may be normal for most people could be my version of hot flashes. πŸ™‚

He put me on medication and is running some blood tests; so far the medication is definitely helping me sleep a little better, and while I’m still emotional, it seems a little easier to control (which is good, because I do not cry at work!)

But all of this has put a major kink in my training – it’s not quite back to the drawing board, but you can only do what you can do, so I’m doing the best I can with what I have to work with. πŸ™‚ I’m rebuilding my plan, trying to make sure I can reach my intended goals for my planned races – some of my goals may be scaled back, but that’s OK.

One day at a time!

 

Posted in Progress Reports, Training | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

13 in 13 February Wrap Up

13in13

The theme for the month of February, isΒ Thinking Simple. In an effort to keep things simple while still working towards my overall holistic goals for 2013, I set mini goals for the month. Did I reach my goals?

  1. Swim 8 miles. I didn’t make my 8 miles, I did not quite 5. So not a good month, and I’m not sure how to fix it; getting up in the mornings lately has been damn near impossible.
  2. Bike 250 miles. Distance as of February 28 – 384 miles DONE!! OK, so I hit this one. πŸ™‚
  3. Run 60 miles. Not quite here, either. I ran 51.5. I did have a couple of really good long runs, though – which makes me feel a lot better.
  4. Go to yoga at least 2x (3 is better…), and get a massage this month. I got my massage. Yoga didn’t happen – I think I’m subconsciously sabotaging myself, because I have a 10 class pass at a studio I don’t like that much. Why? It was on sale. Stupid, stupid. So I need to use it up and go back to the studio I like better.
  5. Continue to work on my weight – I’d love to drop another 2 pounds this month. I haven’t figured out what’s going on here yet. Am I purposely eating more to ensure I’m getting enough calories? Yes, and I’m not 100% exhausted any more, but…. the pounds are creeping up. Grim.
  6. Continue to stay on top of my eating. I plan to continue eating vegetarian/mostly vegan, mostly gluten free, with few processed foods and minimal sugar. OK this goal was a fail – it wasn’t focused enough. I fell off the vegan plan last week and ate meat once – I can live with that. Now, I’m going to revamp my eating again to see if it helps with both the energy and the weight issues.
  7. Post 6-8 blog posts this month – 4 update posts, plus some 13 in 13 related posts. Score – I did post more than 6 posts.
  8. Bill $25,000+. This is not necessarily a controllable thing – as my boss says, you can only control what you can control. So to break it down, and increase my odds, the plan is to make 40-60 calls per day, schedule 8-10 interviews per week, and send out at least 100 MPC emails this month. These are numbers I can control. I didn’t quite hit $25,000, although I came very close. I also took control of some issues where I felt I was weak, asked for help, and am working hard to improve. As a result, I was actually offered another position (sort of a promotion, but in another division…). I turned it down because it’s not what I want to be doing – but it was flattering.
  9. I am not planning to invest any money in my personal RRSP this month – but I do plan on putting at least $3,000 in Bruce’s. Then I can focus on investing in mine in the coming months. Done and extra done. We invested $3,500 in Bruce’s, and $1,000 in mine. Score!
  10. Read 2 books in February. I actually read 8 in January, so I’m way ahead of the game right now, but I still want to read 2 in February. Hey, I did it! I read 3 books, and even started another one. Win!

So out of 10 mini goals, I’m struggling with a couple, I’m on track or close with most, and I’ve actually completed a few! Trying to keep my eye on the prize – We’ll see how the month ends.

 

Posted in Nutrition, Progress Reports, Vegetarian, Weight Loss | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments