Run for Women 2017 – Running solo in the woods

Yesterday I found myself unexpectedly solo at the starting line of the Run for Women.

My friend had to pull out last minute for very understandable reasons and I seriously considered giving it a pass myself.  I was feeling too tired and stressed and we had a lot to do that day. Quitting would have been the easy thing to do.

And as soon as I realized that I made the decision to go through with it and just walk most of the way. It’s such a beautiful course – most of it winding through an old growth forest – and it was for a cause that I think is so vitally important – mental health.

We set off and I found myself unexpectedly caught up with a group of runners that matched my usual pace well. So I went with it….

And despite tripping on an exposed root and nearly face-planting into a tree – I bet I looked so hilarious! – I kept moving and finished with a pretty respectable time.

Post race I picked up my incredible swag bag – seriously this thing was worth hundreds! – and got in the line for a free pancake breakfast where I ran into a good friend I hadn’t seen in ages. We chatted and caught up over pancakes – love those unexpected moments – and then it was time to head back to reality.

Was it a great run? Nope. Was it more than worth my time and energy? Hells ya!

See you again next year Run for Women.

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My First Mud Run Report

A few weeks ago I took on the Mudderella course at Whistler with a group of 7 other girlfriends. It was equal parts awesome, overwhelming, inspiring, painful & fun.

This was my first obstacle course and when I committed to participating way back in May I was sure that I would have time to train and be fit and ready on race day.  What I didn’t realize was that I had 3 work projects due right around the same time and I would literally have NO time to train or be ready.

And that’s not how I would recommend taking this on.

A few observations/comments/thoughts:

  1. I was no where near muddy enough at the finish line. When the event name has mud in it you come in with certain expectations…I wanted to be muddy.  What i was instead was wet and cold up to my waist and dry from my waist up.  A very odd combination.
  2. If you are going to do one of these races do it with a group of awesome people (like I did), a group that has your back always and will never let you quit.
  3. Training is probably a good idea. Especially if you are doing a run at a ski hill like I did. That hill damn near killed me.
  4. What hill you ask?  Well just the one that we had to climb on like a 90 degree incline for 3kms straight up. This one:

it just kept going up and up and up. This was the easy stretch.

and trust me when I say this picture does not adequately show the stupidity of said hill.

I wanted to give up on that hill. It seemed to be neverending. I kept thinking “I don’t need to do this. I can just stop and sit down and give up.”

But my girlfriends were having none of it.  A group of them literally pushed and pulled me to the top. They pushed me forward “one flag at a time” and without them I never would have made it there.

Never would have found myself standing at the top of that mountain – 3600 feet up – looking down at where I had come from and marvelling at what my body had  just accomplished.

That was such an amazing moment for me.  Not just because I had made it but because I had seen and felt the power of friendship to such a huge degree it was physically staggering. Women are truly incredible beings.

The entire day was full of accomplishments and laughter and support:

The obstacles along the course were fun for the most part but a little repetitive. I felt like we went through 4-5 of the same one – big piles of mud separated by freezing cold waist deep pool of water – that were just called different names.

I was proud of our group for taking on each obstacle and completing them. We scaled 10ft high walls, crawled on our knees under cargo nets and wire and climbed up ropes.

Just before the finish line I had to face the obstacle I was dreading most – the one where I had to jump off a 10ft high platform onto an inflatable mat.  I have a pretty severe fear of heights and this was the one obstacle I wasn’t sure I could actually do.

When we go there It seemed a hell of a lot higher than when I had watched others do it earlier in the day.  We mounted the platform as a group and I watched a few of my friends make the jump.  I knew the longer I stayed up there the more likely I was to NOT to do it.

And so I made my way to the edge – shaking like a leaf – looked down at the landing spot and leaped. I landed right on my backside (somewhat gracefully I hope), rolled off the mat and looked up at the platform again.

It still looked high but not quite as intimidating as it had before.  The rest of my group jumped and with that we ran as a group to the finish line.  Where we crossed the line together, collected our finisher t-shirts and headbands and went off in search of beer and food. Not necessarily in that order.

Just over 4 hours it took us to complete that course. Most of us were exhausted and sore but we were all feeling pretty damned good about ourselves too.

Would I do it all over again? Maybe not this one again. I don’t think I need to tackle that hill twice in a lifetime.  But I’d love to do a different one, maybe one on a flat surface next time.

Oh…and I’d definitely make sure I did some training next time.


My yoga pants are finally going to yoga

For a very long time I have wanted to do yoga. Not just for the health & fitness benefits but also for the mental health benefits.

The idea of taking time out of my busy schedule to rest my brain while I nurtured my body was so appealing. But I never did it. Even with all those first class free offers.

And the reason I didn’t was all about a lack of self esteem. I always thought I was too fat to do yoga.

I mean come on…I live in Vancouver…this is the city that birthed the lululemon phenomenon. I have been served a completely skewed vision of what people doing yoga should look like for years.

The only thing I have ever bought at lululemon that fit my not so small body was a headband.   And even that was a little tight.

The thought of showing up to a yoga class in my stretched out pants and baggy tshirt and being faced with this:


well…it was overwhelming.  Too much to bear. It would be just another experience for me to the fattest girl in the room.  And this time I would have no freakin’ clue what I was doing and probably do every move wrong.

And so for years I did nothing about my wish to try yoga. I pushed the idea to the back of my mind. Filed it away in a file marked “Things I can do when I’m skinny.”

Over the past few years I’ve more and more often found myself looking at website for yoga studios and being drawn to special offers for one month trials and the like but never followed through.

Then earlier this year my mum started doing yoga and I saw first hand the incredible results she was seeing from it. When a groupon popped up for her yoga studio I jumped on it and found myself for the very first time…taking my yoga pants to actual yoga.

It was nothing like how I had pictured it. There were women and men of all ages, all sizes and all different kinds of apparel in the room.  Everyone was friendly and helpful. The teachers were kind and patient.

And I loved every minute of the class. Could I do every pose? Hell no. But I could do more than I thought I would be able to.

Consider me a convert.  Add me to the list of yoga loving west coasters.  Mark me down as a person that has om’d with a group and loved it.

So my point is this…if you are holding back from trying yoga for the same reasons I was.  Well…just don’t.  Put on those stretched out Walmart yoga pants and get thee to a class.



Mason Jar Salads 101

My least favourite part of working outside of my home is making lunches.  Come to think of it my least favourite part of working at home is also making lunches. Also – my least favourite thing about having kids in school is…you guessed it…making lunches.

And no matter how hard I try I can’t avoid this task. So I’ve been looking for healthy ways to make some changes.  One of the things I have always wanted to try was mason jar salads and so I did.

First stop was Michael’s to pick up 3 wide mouth mason jars ($5.95 each). Of course the day I was there the regular size mason jars were on sale and I was tempted…but don’t do it. They are way too small. You need wide mouth.

Next stop was Costco to stock up on all the ingredients I had decided to use in this first attempt:

  • Organic baby spinach
  • grape tomatoes
  • cucumber
  • baby carrots
  • organic quinoa
  • eggs
  • goat cheese crumbles
  • homemade dressing (oil & vinegar)


I prepared a cup of quinoa and had it cooled in the fridge before starting to build the salads. I also hardboiled the eggs in advance.

I had already washed and thoroughly dried the mason jars – its crucial they are completely dry before you start preparing. It’s the only way you can be sure the salad will stay fresh.

Now it was time to assemble.  First layer was the dressing. I made this from scratch – olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic & some herbs. Simple but delicious.


note: I would use more next time. wasn’t quite enough liquid.

Next layer is the hard vegetables  – cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots – those that can absorb the dressing and marinate in it:


Next layer would be the less hardier vegetables if I used any – mushrooms, etc. – but in this salad I didn’t so we move on…

To the layer of quinoa. No instruction needed here.  Just added a few tablespoons of the cooked grain and moved on to…


The protein layer. I thought about grilling some chicken and might do that next time but for this one I chopped up one hard boiled egg,  added a couple of tablespoons of goat cheese and a handful of sunflower seeds.


Finally it was time for the greens. By the point my jars were more than half full and I was concerned I wouldn’t have enough spinach to make my salad…well…a salad.

But I needn’t have worried. I crammed that spinach in to the hilt and then sealed the jars up tight.  Aren’t they pretty?


I couldn’t wait to eat them!

And the next morning – amidst all the chaos of breakfast prep and rushing off to swimming lessons – it was so great to just be able to grab the jar, put it in my bag and run.

The real test was still to come – the taste test.  They say there you can eat the salad right out of the jar – that’s one of the main draws actually, the fact you don’t need another bowl.  But personally I don’t think that’s really feasible.  I need to mix it all up. I need to have all the ingredients work together.

So I dumped mine into a bowl, mixed it up completely and dug in.

And it was freakin’ delicious! I was so full, so satisfied after eating it. My only thought was it needed a little more dressing. The quinoa dried it out so more liquid is needed. I feel like I can use this same basic salad structure all the time just changing up the veggies and protein options.

That said, if I had to eat this same exact salad every day for lunch I would do so happily. It was that good.

Now if only I could get my kids to eat the same I might actually stop hating making lunches.

just kidding…that will NEVER happen.

Post Vacation Purgatory

It’s Monday night at 10:40pm.

My first day back at work after a weeks vacation and I’m still at the computer. And even though I can see the edge of my bed down the hall…I don’t expect to be getting into it anytime soon.

Current status:  Post Vacation Purgatory.

After spending a glorious week off with my family at a lake where I did nothing all day except eat, swim and read – I am now paying the price for my freedom.

Even though I didn’t fully unplug for the entire week and checked emails daily to make sure there were no fires I still came home to 202 emails.

And that was just in one inbox. I still have two more to go through…

Was it always like this?  Have working stiffs always faced a reality where the effort required to get ready to go on vacation and the deluge of work waiting upon their return made it seem like the week off wasn’t even worth it?

Because right now it certainly doesn’t feel like it. After just one day back my stress level is peaking again and all I think about is that my next holiday won’t be until January.

148 long days away…

post vacation blues.png


Saying no to the Status Quo

Status Quo by definition means “the current situation : the way things are now.”  In many areas of our day to day life “status quo” is comforting, familiar. It’s easy.

I believe this is especially true in marriage, and even more so for couples that have children and experienced first hand the changes that children bring to their lives.

After a new baby arrives there is a new status quo that couples often fall into. My husband and I certainly did.  It’s the status quo of “kids come first” and we quickly forget who we were as a couple before we became a family.

before and after

Add to this massive life change the twin pillars of sleep deprivation and financial stress – not to mention the fact that you are now responsible for the survival of another human being! – and it’s easy to fall into a routine where our needs as individuals become secondary.

Instead of Kelly I became Mummy. And the truth is I loved my new role. I picked up that motherhood mantle with both hands and freakin’ ran with it.  Ran so fast I kind of forgot that there was another adult living this life with me…the man now known as Daddy.

As we navigated through the first few months of parenthood it became hard for both of us to see the people we were in our relationship before we had kids. There were attempts at reclaiming the “couple” we were before we were a “family”. Trips and date nights and the like but everything was just a little different.

We both became comfortable with the ‘status quo’ and it almost led to disaster.

The problems in our marriage and our relationship are so clear to me now – with the advantage of 20-20 hindsight – but we were both blind to them at the time. And the problems we were aware often felt so overwhelming that it was much easier to pretend they weren’t there and carry on with life as if nothing were amiss.

As we found out – you can only avoid these problems for so long. Until they literally burst out of the box you are trying to shove them in and demand your attention.

The past 3 years have taught me a lot about how I got to this place in my life. In the process I have been forced to face a lot of not so great truths about myself. And while that has been a very difficult and sobering process it has also allowed me to find a side of myself I didn’t even know was there.  A strong, determined, creative self that was dying to get out.

Letting that side of me out has done so much good for me and – by extension – those around me. And it has also made me more determined to never settle for status quo again.

I made get a little comfy once in a while and let myself relax into some familiar patterns and roles but I now know that there is much more in my life than that.

And even if Mummy might be the most important title I will ever wear – I also know there is much more to me than just that.

saying no to status quo