Self-Love and “The Struggle”

My mental health issues are not a secret. If you look back in the recesses of this blog you’ll see tons of posts from when I was at the lowest point of my life. I’ve struggled with depression for probably 10 or so years, and then after Noah was born that manifested into severe PPD and PTSD due to the events of his birth.

In November/December 2012, when Noah was almost 2 years old, I was actively planning how to kill myself. However, I decided to get help. Talk therapy and Zoloft helped pull me out of the hole. I also decided to take 2013 off from any weight loss attempts, and just concentrate on pulling my mental health back together.

After 6 months, I got pregnant so I dropped my pills cold turkey (not smart, I know). I had a miscarriage only about a week or so later (it was very early), but I decided not to continue with the medication or therapy.

I decided that I didn’t want to hate my body anymore. I came to accept that that was the weight that I was. I got rid of all of my skinny clothes and bought clothes in my actual size. I decided to stop putting off my wedding in the hopes of getting to my goal weight. I got married in July 2013.

When 2014 came around, I was in a completely different, and much healthier mindset. I was ready to actually put the work in. So I did. I lost 40lbs between January and May. Then I got lazy and basically maintained (I gained 7lbs but that is so incredibly minor that I was not too concerned about it) until this January.


I am outlining my mental health issues because of a comment someone made on a lady fitness group I’m in:

“I strongly believe that loving your body is the first and foremost step to losing weight. Believing that you deserve to have the body you want is so much more important than people can believe.”

I very much strongly agree with this. So many people, women especially, are prone to starting diet or exercise plans because they HATE themselves. That negative thinking and attitude will NEVER attain positive, long term results. Starting out hating the way you look will (more often than not) result in someone who is obsessive about the scale fluctuations and obsessive about every single thing she puts in her mouth. That kind of thinking results in fad diets, scammy MLM diet aids, crash dieting, etc etc. These are NOT good things.

Look at food as something that nourishes and propels you. It is not your enemy. You have to consume SOME sort of food for your entire life, so don’t demonize it. That gives it too much power.

Don’t punish binges with insane cardio sessions. Exercise is NOT a punishment and shouldn’t be used as such.  Exercise helps your cardiovascular system, helps build muscle, overall health, and many other key components for living. Regular exercising also helps with bone strength and density for women in particular. And guess what? You physically CANNOT work out enough to burn all of the calories from your binge (nor does it really work like that).

You also can’t binge on Sunday and work it off on Monday morning. Sorry.

Losing weight is 80% food / 20% exercise. You can lose weight without exercising (this is easier to do when you have a lot of weight to lose, and it tends to be a slower way of doing it – BUT THAT’S OKAY), but it’s pretty damn difficult, if not outright impossible, to lose weight without changing your diet up first.

Whatever particular diet you subscribe to, the first and foremost thing you need to establish is….is it sustainable?

There are NO quick fixes. No 21 day diets or 30 day diets or detoxes or cleanses or anything like that. They don’t work.

General Dieting Tips (from a non-expert)

  1. If you do not have a good knowledge base for how much food you are eating and how many calories you are consuming, start weighing and measuring your food (use grams as much as possible) and logging your calories on a program/app like My Fitness Pal. (Click here to add me as a friend or just to check out my food diary).
  2. Do NOT estimate your food consumption. This is how I ended up eating 2 tbsp of peanut butter and counting it as one serving, resulting in an unknown extra 200+ calories a day. Weigh and measure EVERYTHING until you feel like you have a good idea of what a serving looks like. Even then, don’t get cocky! Weigh it occasionally to make sure you’re right.
  3. Go figure out your BMR. That’s the number of calories needed to maintain your current weight if you were in a coma.
  4. Try not to eat less than that (I know that can be difficult).
  5. For the love of GOD, do not aim for 1200 calories a day. You are a grown ass adult person and need more than just air to survive.
  6. “Clean” eating is a damn lie. Pretty much everyone can stand to eat less processed food and more greens and meat, BUT demonizing food as “bad” while allowing marketing to determine what is “good” is not a good thing to do.
  7. Organic is not better. Sorry, it’s a marketing tool. If you like the taste better or just prefer it, go for it. I’m not your mom. But don’t feel guilty about not buying organic, and don’t think that you are ruining your weight loss attempts because you are buying conventional food. GMOs are not evil or dangerous for human consumption.
  8. 1-2 lbs is a healthy weight of loss. However, when you are first starting out and/or have a lot of weight to lose, you will probably lose more than that initially. But it will slow down. That’s normal.
  9. Your weight fluctuates 1-3lbs/day on average. Always weigh yourself at the same time and in the same conditions. I prefer to weigh myself every day but only log my Wednesday weight because I like to see the fluctuations. I know that if I was 210 on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, and then had pizza on Tuesday night and weighed in at 213 on Wednesday, that 213 is not my real weight.
  10. Women can fluctuate around 5-7lbs per day when they have their period or in hormonal changes in their cycle. Keeping track of where you are in your cycle can help you understand why your weight may change so much from day to day (I’m not sure if this varies depending on what birth control a woman is using or not using, though). As an example,  I “gained” a pound on my last period two weeks ago, but when I weighed in last week I lost 4, and I’m not on any hormonal birth control.

It’s so important to remember that real life is always a factor. There will ALWAYS be birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc, where food is a central aspect of celebration. Having a cupcake won’t kill you. One day of overeating won’t ruin your entire diet, it just doesn’t. Part of self-love is not getting obsessive over what is put in your mouth.

“The Struggle”

Blah, blah, love yourself.

I realize that this is way easier said than done. I look at old pictures of myself and the feelings of shame and embarrassment creep in around the corners. It’s HARD not to judge yourself for your body, especially if you’re like me and you’ve lost a significant amount of weight (and have more to go). I still catch myself feeling up my belly fat and wishing it would go away. I think that this is normal. I mean, I’ve been doing the same thing since I was a small child, which is sad in it’s own way.

In a society where a woman’s worth is determined by the number on the scale, it’s really difficult not to internalize that message. Shopping is still pretty terrible, especially for tops. I see pictures every day of women in my various lady exercise groups who have my dream body, or women in my local running club who are beautiful and fast athletes, and it’s hard not to have little twinges of disdain for my own body.

But I really try to focus on the good parts of my body. A woman from my bootcamp class complimented me on my shoulders over  a month ago and I still think that’s one of my favorite compliments ever. I’m getting my  collarbones back and I’m really proud of that.

A year ago I couldn’t run across the parking lot of my condo complex without huffing and puffing. This past Sunday I ran/walked a half marathon. In 2012 it was discovered that I had a fatty liver. As of this summer it’s cleared itself up and I’m back to being completely healthy again.

My body is capable of so many amazing things and it’s really important to concentrate on that. I know that I have a long way to go. I probably will never be an elite or in the top 3 of any race, but I think I’m okay with that. One day I won’t be dead last. There will be someone like me out there and maybe I could encourage her too.

We are only limited by the boundaries we place for ourselves. If you wish to lose weight and/or achieve fitness goals, you need to WANT it. You need to know that you are worth it. You are worth so much more than a number on a scale. You have to accept that there are no quick fixes and to not get hung up on the plateaus, weight gains, life circumstances, or anything else that may impede your progress.

You’ll get there eventually.


My First Half-Marathon! – February 1, 2015

Just a warning, this post will be a novel.

This past Sunday I ran the Chilly Willy Winter Run, in the 21K category. The temperature was a brisk -20C and I was wearing 3 layers of pants and 4 layers of shirts (this sounds way more ridiculous than it actually was). I was really worried that I wouldn’t be layered enough but it was actually perfect.

Here was the route: Chill_Willy_HalfMarathon_Map


After I ran the Roots & Ruts Trail Race in September, I decided that I wanted to run a half-marathon. I signed up for the Chilly Willy and I downloaded the Hal Higdon half-marathon training app (which I highly recommend). I originally intended to run a practice half on Noah’s 4th birthday (December 19th). This did not happen, partly because of laziness, but also because Noah got sick a few days before so I missed some training days, I was planning two different parties that weekend, still trying to finish up my Christmas shopping, etc. I didn’t really feel the crunch because it wasn’t a race I had actually signed up for.

Fast forward to January. Well, Noah had now been struggling with the same respiratory illness for over a month and that meant that I had to completely skip every single one of my regular morning workouts. I tried to go to the gym in the evenings, but that is literally the worst time for me, so let’s call my attendance….spotty.

One night I was brushing snow off my vehicle before going to the gym, and I happened to be leaned far enough over and at the perfect angle for the snow under my left foot to give way, and I sprained my ankle. I hit the snow bank. I still went to the gym after sitting down inside after awhile. I took the week off from any actual foot-to-ground cardio and instead spent my cardio on a stationary bike watching Donut Showdown on the Food Network.

After not doing any actual running outside for 3 or so weeks, I chose the Saturday the week before the race to do my long training run. I was supposed to do 16KM but ended up doing only 13KM because we had to go to Edmonton for a pediatrician trip the next day so I couldn’t take as long as I would like to.

The TLDR is: the last month of training before the race was bad. I don’t know how to fully explain how frustrating it was to miss so many workouts simply because my poor child could not get over his illness. The only good thing is that I had planned my training for a race in December, so I had basically finished my training up until the portion where I was supposed to taper before the race. Originally I had hoped to use that extra month between my unofficial and official race to work on my time a bit, but that clearly didn’t happen. (Grr!)

Pre-Race (night before):

I had Chinese food for my carbo-loading meal! I had been looking forward to it forever, it was delicious. FWIW, I hadn’t really super-stuck to the “regular low carbing and then cycling into high carb the week before the race” thing, but….whatever. I tried. I ate Chinese food. I enjoyed it immensely. No ragrets.


Pre-Race (morning of): 

I had been doing a ton of research about what to eat before a half, and I ended up settling on eating exactly what I normally eat before a race, but times two. I knew that I couldn’t shove that amount of food into my mouth all at once, so I decided to split it and just have a double breakfast.

I got up at 7AM. At around 7:10 I had a tbsp of peanut butter on toast, half a banana [I normally eat a whole one but I’m bad at prepping so I only had two in the house], and a hard-boiled egg. I started chugging water. (I may have forgotten about extra-hydrating the days before. Sigh).

At 8AM I had my second breakfast, of the same things.

I regretted not picking up a Red Bull.

I added 4 Nuun tablets to the 2L bladder of my Geigerrig hydration pack. I had never used the tablets before (and the Geigerrig itself only once, FWIW), but I crossed my fingers that my iron stomach would not give up on me for consuming the electrolyte water without testing it out first. I also packed 2 packs of Honey Stinger energy gummies, a banana, pack of gum (I can’t workout without gum, no idea why), lipgloss, mini Kleenex, an extra pair of gloves, extra socks, an extra shirt, and my Buff.

I wore my Canadian Mudd Queens and green Spartan bracelets for strength. My nails were also painted green for the occasion. (Green = cerebral palsy = Noah).

I had my husband drop me off since I assumed that parking would be a gongshow. I actually could have driven myself, because when we got there at 8:20, the parking lot was basically still empty.

8:20 – 8:45 was spent nervous-peeing and chatting with a couple of women that I know.

At 8:55 we made our way to the start line.


[Note: ‘#’ = “approximately”]

Start – 9:00AM

Things started out okay. I was in the back half of the pack out of the starting gate. My headphones were wrapped around my Geigerrig strap the wrong way, so it was very annoying trying to figure that out with gloves on when the race had already started. I NEVER listen to music when I run, but in this case I wanted to be able to hear my Nike app so that I could hear my pace. But I finally sorted out my shit and was on my way.

Condition: frazzled, panicky, a little nauseous (I think I ate too much). 

# 0.5 miles — 00:05 into race

I had a pretty good pace going at this point, I was passing people and trying to get in a good spot in the pack. But then I decided to be a dumbass….

I stepped off the path in order to pass someone, and then I happened to step in the wrong spot and twist my left ankle AGAIN (I KNOW). I hit the ground and some kindly passerbys helped me up.

This was my major FML moment. I may have spouted some choice expletives. I couldn’t believe that I was only FIVE MINUTES in and had already wrecked myself. Once I got back up and moving again, everyone else was already light-years ahead of me. All I could do was walk or limp-skip for pretty much the entire 2KM loop around the reservoir. THIS WAS NOT A GOOD START.

Condition: discouraged, annoyed at self, left ankle in pain.

# 2.5 miles

My ankle was still in pain, but I was able to run for a short distance before having to walk or limp-skip. People were already coming back from the 10K turnaround. Wat.

Tried to drink out of my Geigerrig and my tube had frozen already. I managed to get a little bit out but this was not a good sign.

Condition: concerned about time, annoyed at self for not purchasing insulated drinking tube, left ankle in slightly less pain.

# 3.1 miles – water station/10K turnaround

They were out of cups so I had to share cooties.

Condition: joked around with water station attendant (apparently the pumps for their water had frozen too).

# 4 miles

Geigerrig officially frozen, so I was now wearing a hydration pack consisting of 2 litres of useless water.

Consumed my Honey Stinger energy gummies. They have a weird texture but taste good. I recommend. I could have sworn that I read that you’re supposed to drink water with them, but I’m hoping that I’ll be okay.

Condition: concerned about lack of hydration.

# 5 miles

The path is incredibly treacherous (just lots of uneven snow and patches of ice-snow). I run on the bridge for the first time ever, because an icy metal bridge is somehow safer than the ground today.

# 6.6 miles – water station/21K turnaround

Halfway done! One of the attendants (who I know) made a joke about offering me Bailey’s and I said something like “I wish!”.

Condition: still generally upbeat, jovial with water station attendants, feeling refreshed because I reached the halfway point.


# 7 miles — 01:48 into race

I send my husband a “halfway” update text. I note the time. If I don’t get hurt again, I SHOULD make it back just under the 3.5 hour time limit.

The man on the quad who will come pick you up if you get hurt, stops and asks if I’m okay. He called me “love”, which was kind of cute.

[For the rest of the race he steadily followed me, but he was very nice about it. He would stop for 10 minutes or so, and then I’d hear the quad again and he’d stop 20ft or so behind me. However, I was a little worried that he would make me get on the quad if I showed weakness or that I was in pain]

Shortly after that, I’m on the way back over that same treacherous path, and I almost catch my left ankle again. Right ankle gets a couple twists, but it’s strong and dependable and I don’t get hurt (miraculously)

Condition: hopeful.

# 8 miles

Hey, hip pain. I have no idea why but I always have a lot of pain in my right hip after around 7 miles. It didn’t help that I was having to rely on my right leg more than usual because of my ankle. So at this point I have a still-slightly-sore left ankle, a gently throbbing pain in my right hip joint, a useless Geigerrig, and roughly 5 more miles to go.

Condition: in pain, nauseous/stomach ache (probably the gummies and/or lack of hydration). 

# 9 miles – water station/10K turnaround

Only 5KM left! This is exciting!

The attendants are running back and forth trying to keep warm.

My cup of water has ice in it.

Condition: slightly guilty about being so slow and making the volunteers have to stand out there for so long.

# 10-11 miles – 2:52 into race

Hip is really bothering me now, but I’m in the home stretch. I am not giving up now. I try to conserve my energy by going back to limp-skipping, but this time leading with my left in an attempt to give my right leg a break.

I bring out all of my chants and pep talks and imagination at this point.

“You are a Canadian Mudd Queen. You are a Spartan. You are Noah’s mother. You have been through much worse pain than this. AROO.”

I envisioned getting my medal at the end of the race. I thought about Biggest Loser and everything that I’ve accomplished for myself this year.

I thought about those first few moments after Noah’s birth when we waited in complete silence, waiting for him to breathe. Or seeing him in his isolette in the NICU. Taking him off life support and thinking that we were losing him.

That pain is so much worse than anything this race could throw at me.

“Canadian Girls” by Dean Brody comes through my headphones, and it pumps me back up. It’s just snow and ice. I’M MOTHERFUCKING CANADIAN. I CAN HANDLE THIS SHIT.

I’m basically growling at this point. I WILL finish this race.

Condition: determined.

# 11.5 miles

I’m back at Musko. Unfortunately I have to take THE WORST ROUTE IN THE WORLD, back around the reservoir, for the final 2KM.

At this point my right leg is almost useless. I was calling it my wooden leg. I was in a lot of pain, although thankfully my ankle had settled to a dull ache for the last half of the race. But I just kept telling myself….I had already done 19KM, there was no way I was giving up now.

My Nike app told me that I was at 2:52 or so at the 11 mile mark. I’m running the math in my head and it’s telling me that I should still be able to make it under the gun.

I suddenly realize that my stomach ache finally cleared up but I am now hungry. I have no time to snack so I push through it. There is chili waiting for me at the finish line!

Condition: hungry.

# 12 miles

Now I am just going for broke. I know that I am saving my energy to run down that final hill, and I’m hoping that gravity and acceleration will help propel me to the finish line. I am limp-skipping, I am trying to walk as fast as I can, and I feel almost ANGRY. This race will NOT beat me. I WILL make it across that finish line before time runs out. I cry a little bit over varying thoughts, between Noah, getting the medal around my neck, and the fact that I am ALIVE and able to do this race at all. I have a minor panic attack when I hyperventilate from the crying because of the cold air, but I gently pound my chest with my fist to try to concentrate on breathing (I do this when I can’t draw a full breath as well). The quad guy is roughly 40ft behind me and I am trying to get myself together before he sees me, in case he wants to pull me off the course.

Condition: broken, fierce, overly emotional, wooden leg.

# 13 miles

When my app tells me I hit 13 miles, I almost cry again. The final hill approaches. I hit it a little too fast and the impact of foot to ground is a bit much for my hip, but I push through it. I made it almost around the corner past the playground until I have to walk again. I am disappointed.


I took maybe 4 steps before I’m like, fuck this. I start running again.

I crossed the finish line at 3:21.

I got my medal.

Condition: relieved.


Post-Race (Musko):

I felt dangerously nauseous and I contemplate running for the bathroom. Instead I walked it off and coached myself away from vomiting. Thankfully I was successful, because otherwise that would have been terrible.

I went inside and got my water on. They offered me chili but I turned it down for the moment. I walked around a little bit and drank the water. I knew I was dehydrated.

I felt a little better and I knew that they were trying to pack up, so I went and got my chili and muffin, as well as another water and a juice box for the road. I already felt slightly guilty enough about taking so long, I didn’t want the volunteers to have to wait around longer than necessary.

I texted Caleb to come pick me up.

A woman chatted me up, we talked about Death Race and other running things. She liked my shoes, so she took a picture of them. She said they might be good for Death Race, although I’m not too sure about that.

The chili was pretty gross, unfortunately. It was veggie chili, and pretty bland too. I love vegetables but good lord, I need MEAT, people! I still picked at it because I knew I was hungry and needed something in my stomach.

Caleb arrived, and then we drove to Tim Hortons to pick up some real chili (LOL).

Condition: in the immortal words of Kristin Cavallari, DUNZO. I had nothing left. I was just trying to get home before my legs fell off.

Post-Race (at home):

When we got home, I was suddenly freezing (hate that part about winter running) so I stripped some sweaty clothes and loaded up on blankets.

I felt better after eating my chili and bun with butter. Caleb was very nice and brought it to me on a plate and put it on a tray for me too :)

After that I got into an epson salt bath for like 1.5 hours (lol, not exaggerating), just watching Friends on the tablet, and drinking my electrolyte water that had become un-frozen (I wasn’t going to waste it!).

My middle toenail on my right foot felt weird, but it didn’t look like there was anything wrong with it. I had a blister on the top pad of my right foot and some weird slight pain in the middle of my left foot.

Later that night I went to karaoke!

Next Day (aka today):

It’s official. My toenail is bruised. I’m not sure if that means that I need it removed or what, but I’m leaving it alone for now.

Overall, I’m sore and creaky like an old lady. I definitely learned a lot and I can see that I need a lot a lot a lot of work before my next half-marathon in May. The Press Run training groups start next month. I think I am going to start C25K later this week….I need to majorly work on my endurance. If I could run for really any decent amount of time, I’m sure I would knock minutes off of my pace. For this race I averaged around 15:40/mile and I know that I could do way better than that. I think that I would have been much closer, if not under, 3 hours, had I not hurt my ankle. It will be interesting to see how much my time improves come May!












  • Route: 9/10 – I have no idea why, but I just can’t handle running around the reservoir, and in this race my first and last 2KM were on that route. There were a couple of slippery spots, but it’s northern Alberta in February, there’s going to be ice on the paths. Plus I have fancy winter running shoes so they didn’t give me too much trouble.
  • Weather: 8/10 – 5 degrees warmer would have been super, but overall I prefer colder to warmer as it would have made my outfit choice more difficult. I wasn’t too cold but I also wasn’t too warm in my many layers.
  • Injuries: 3 – left ankle, right hip, #2 right toe
  • Enjoyability: 7/10 – There were a lot of low points but overall it was a positive experience.
  • Will I Do It Again? – Fuck yeah!


“25 by 25″

Today on one of my OCR lady groups, one of the women mentioned her goal to do 50 races by the time she turns 50 (she is 44).

Well today I’ve decided to do a “25 by 25″ challenge! My 25th birthday is February 11, 2016. Counting out the races, I may be a little short but it’s also possible that I’ll stumble across races that haven’t been announced yet as the year goes on!

Check out the “25 by 25″ tab to see a full list of races!


Fitness journey timeline (to present)

January 2014 - As I already said in my “weight loss journey timeline” post, January 2014 was when I decided to get my shit together. I basically just focused on managing my calories, but I also started doing Bikini Body Mommy workouts on a recommendation from a friend. I didn’t get too far, like less than 2 weeks before it required dumbbells different than the ones I had at home, so I quickly lost interest. I probably did some Wii Fit stuff as well but I can’t remember for sure.

March 3, 2014 - As part of being chosen for the Biggest Loser competition, we  were split into teams of 6 and assigned a trainer from the local CrossFit gym, Vo2Max. Ron Turner was our trainer, who I HIGHLY recommend if you’re looking for a personal CF trainer and/or you’re looking at joining Vo2! We had to go to two one hour-long training sessions per week (Tuesday/Thursday) and then a challenge of team vs team on Saturday mornings.

Team Black aka Team Ron aka Weapons of Mass Reduction

Team Black aka Team Ron aka Weapons of Mass Reduction

May 2014 - Biggest Loser was over, but I regretted not signing up for Zulu Challenge (I had thought about it but thought that I couldn’t handle it). I love CrossFit but ultimately it was too expensive and the classes didn’t fit into my schedule so I didn’t continue it after the competition was over (sad face).

However, I finally got an Eastlink Centre membership!

June 2014 - Last year I had planned on going to Color Me Rad in Edmonton, so I signed up for it. I was posting about doing Tough Mudder in 2015, and a Facebook friend asked me if I had ever heard of Spartan Race. I had not, but one promotional video in and I was already hooked. It turned out that there was a Sprint (5K) in Edmonton the day after Color Me Rad…..I was already going to be in the city, so why not, right? I signed up that night.

July 5, 2014 - Color Me Rad (5K), Edmonton AB. My first 5K. I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would but I was still glad that I did it. Considering that less than a year ago I couldn’t walk up the block without getting shin splints, doing a 5K and thinking it was painfully easy was quite the improvement.


July 6, 2014 - Spartan Sprint (5K), Edmonton AB. This would be another day that changed my life. It may have been a spur of the moment decision but one I would be forever thankful that I made, just like Biggest Loser.

I don’t even know how to fully describe the how I felt jumping over the fire and crossing that finish line, but the closest I can come is just raw, unadulterated pride. I didn’t do “well”, I wasn’t fast, I didn’t complete all of the obstacles (in fact I had done 120 penalty burpees)….BUT there was something about crawling around in the mud and climbing over walls and chanting “AROO” at the start line that ignited a fire inside of me. I knew that I wanted to get my Spartan trifecta (finishing all three Spartan races in one calendar year) next year no matter what. I had a big goal and all of the determination and motivation in the world to get me there.

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I was already addicted.

July 11, 2014 - Glow Run (5K), Grande Prairie AB. This was the first year for this run and I enjoyed it 1000X more than Color Me Rad, which really surprised me considering that it’s a local race and CMR is huge and across the country.


Lady Gaga was the inspiration behind the lightning bolts.

August 2014 - I was driving and I heard on the radio that the Zulu Challenge (May 2015) early bird registration was open! I signed up as soon as I got home. Only 9 months in advance hahaha!

September 2014 - I convinced Caleb to let me buy some trail shoes. I bought the Inov-8 TrailRoc 245s. I got them just in time for Roots & Ruts!

My preeeetties.

My preeeetties.

September 26, 2014 - Roots & Ruts Trail Race (10K), Grande Prairie AB. My first 10K. There were 5 of us former Biggest Losers running this race. Originally Shay (who is in most of these pictures with me, haha) was the only one going to do the 5K and the rest of us were doing the 10K. But the race day arrived and suddenly I was the only one doing the 10K! Terrifying!

The Biggest Loser crew! (I am proudly sporting my Canadian Mudd Queens shirt!)

The Biggest Loser crew! (I am proudly sporting my Canadian Mudd Queens shirt!)

But in a big way this race was a turning point for me. The previous races I had done I had stuck with my running partner (usually Shay), but with this race I decided to run my own race, right from the start. It’s so difficult to find a running partner who runs the same pace as you, everyone’s bodies are built so differently (I have mile-long legs which makes for a long gait even if I’m slow) and no two people train the same. So breaking out of my comfort zone of having someone right by my side the entire race really helped me gain the confidence to run and workout alone and not depend on other people to do that with me.

I found the first half of the race super annoying, mostly because of all the kids taking up the entire trail (keep to the right except to pass please!!). The weather was damp and it rained at the end. However, once I continued past the 5K turn off, I was all. by. myself. on that trail for a blissful 3K or so and it was absolutely magical. Running a beaten path through the woods without music is something everyone needs to do. Breathe in the life in the trees around you and appreciate the pull of your lungs and the ache in your legs. Just breathe in and be grateful that you’re alive and healthy and able to move your legs in a forward motion over a rutted trail without too much difficulty. I think about that every time I run, how thankful I am to be able to experience that. It’s made me really appreciate the city I was born and raised in, and appreciate the greenspace that the city maintains for its’ citizens to enjoy.

My official time was 1:26:49 (I told you, I’m slow!). I ended up placing 73/76 women, 17/18 in my age category. It wasn’t a good time by any means but for god’s sake, I ran my first 10K!


Crossing the finish line!

October 2014 - I decided that I wanted to run an unofficial half marathon on Noah’s 4th birthday, December 19th. On recommendation, I downloaded the Hal Higdon half marathon training app (the most expensive app I’ve ever bought – $10 – but so so worth it if you’re looking for a great training plan) and started my training.

I also signed up for the Chilly Willy Run half-marathon in February 2015.

November 1, 2014 - Zulu Midnight Run (5K), Grande Prairie AB. I found this run super unorganized, although the premise was neat. After every mile you had to stop and do an “obstacle”. Mile 1 was 5 pushups, mile 2 was crawling underneath this caution tape (their version of barbed wire) in a horseshoe shape (it was too short to bear crawl through so I just army crawled), and mile 3 was 5 burpees (it might have been 10 pushups and 10 burpees but I can’t remember for sure).

Afterwards they had the pool and hot tub open at Eastlink but I did not partake. Apparently they were supposed to give away a mall gift card but there was nothing really going on and after I asked about it on Instagram (the only place I saw it mentioned) the next morning, they said that they would be doing a draw that day. I have no clue if that actually happened or not. To be honest this little run makes me reeeeeal nervous for how the real Zulu is going to go.

December 7, 2014 - Jingle Bell Fun Run/Walk (12K), Grande Prairie AB. This was a run that I was stoked about. There were prizes for best costume and I have a WICKED ugly Christmas sweater that I could pull out for just this occasion.


I had bought the tutu at Color Me Rad and never used it, so YAY for finally doing something with it.

The route was 4 laps around the reservoir. I did one and hated it. I don’t know why but I can’t stand that route. At this point I considered just hiding in my van for 30 mins and pretending I ran it (there was free hot chocolate and coffee and potential prizes just waiting for me inside!) or just leaving entirely. I had eaten too early and forgotten a snack so at that point I was already hungry and very disheartened. I sat in my van for a few minutes, deciding what I wanted to do.

Well, I got the fuck over it and headed under the bridge to take my favorite route instead (we were allowed to go rogue if we wanted to, it was an unstructured fun run). I was immediately happier and didn’t want to give up anymore. It had been so long since I had ran that route last that the river was completely frozen solid and the dozens of ducks I had come to expect to see were all gone.

I was only 2K or so in that direction when I passed someone coming back and he offered me a high five. Right at that exact moment, his Nike app said that he had done 6 miles. In 40 minutes. I had done 3 in the same amount of time. HA!

When I finished my run, I realized that I had accidentally ran 13.2K instead of 12, due to my one reservoir lap. Oops! I also realized that I was dead dead dead last. It took me about 1:52 (I was so done by the end…..I needed more food!) and by that time, everyone had packed up and left. There was no hot chocolate waiting for me. I was okay with it initially, until I went to leave the park and I got stuck behind another vehicle waiting for the Santa parade to pass…

There is only one exit to the park (and two entrances, but one is a one way). At that point my sweat was cooling so I was getting cold, I was hungry, I had to be at my friend’s house in an hour for a baking day, and as the minutes ticked by I became more and more upset about everyone leaving before I finished. Soon enough I was having a full-blown panic attack because I was trapped there until the parade was over. I considered doing a u-turn and exiting the illegal way but there were 4 vehicles behind me too and it’s a narrow road so I didn’t have any room. I was completely stuck. And hysterically crying. I had to call my husband to talk me down. All I could do was hope that the parade would pass quickly and also hope that no one near the entrance was someone I knew who could see me having this freakout. My friend lives across the street and I saw her and a bunch of other women from my mom group come out to watch the parade. I hoped that they couldn’t see me and/or wouldn’t recognize my vehicle.

After the longest 15 minutes of my life, the parade was mercifully over and I could escape home for a snack, a hot tea, a hot shower, and a hug from my husband. BIG SIGH OF RELIEF.

My amazing winter running shoes that I got from my parents for Christmas!

My amazing winter running shoes that I got from my parents for Christmas! (Salomon Snowcross CS!)

December 19, 2014 - Okay, so this is a non-entry. Noah got sick (a chest and ear infection) so I missed some training days since he had to stay home from school. I did not do a half-marathon on his birthday. I’m a little disappointed with myself but I am okay with it.

January 1, 2015 - Resolution Run (10K), Grande Prairie AB. This run was brutal. I was so hungover (last drop of alcohol until February 1st), I hadn’t gone to bed until 4AM, and the absolute LAST thing I wanted to do was get up and run a fucking 10K.

But I did it.

I was slower than usual (who knew that was possible?). I wanted to give up multiple times. Thank god it was warm (I ended up running in just a t-shirt) because if it was cold I don’t even know if I would have gotten out of bed (okay I probably would have still ran, but I would have bitched about it more). I wore my Canadian Mudd Queens bracelet, my green Spartan bracelet (so it’s a combo of green for Noah and Spartan, in my mind (technically the green is for the Beast but WHATEVER)), and my beloved Spartan Finisher shirt. I needed all of the strength I could get.

This is the best smile I could muster. (Please don't judge my messy house).

This is the best smile I could muster.

I was miserable, I had to give myself a full-on whispered pep talk ALOUD like a crazy person, but I fucking DID THAT SHIT. I started off 2015 with a casual 10K under my belt. At this point I was doing 10Ks for training runs, I wasn’t even worried. Who knew that I would come this far in 3 months? Or even thinking about how out of shape I was coming into 2014, who would have thought that a 10K would be NBD? I couldn’t even handle a 1500m race when I was doing track in junior high!

HOWEVER, my right hip likes to bug me whenever I run over 8K or so (this has been happening for awhile), so I was limping to my van by the end of it. Damn my body, it doesn’t want to cooperate with me at all.  I have all of the determination and motivation to get me where I need to go, but my body likes to throw shin splints and hip pain at me just to be an asshole.

"thank god this race is almost over, FML" - exactly my thoughts at this point.

“Thank god this race is almost over, FML” – exactly my thoughts at this point. I was roughly half a KM away from the finish.

So that’s it. An entire year in review. Next I will outline all of the races I have on board for 2015, as well as my 2015 resolutions. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Weight loss journey timeline (to present)

January 1, 2013 - After hitting rock bottom in December 2012, I decided to take 2013 off from any weight loss attempts and work on my mental health and learn to love myself for what I was. I got rid of my stack of “skinny clothes” and bought clothing that was actually in my size. I went on Zoloft and went into talk therapy.

January 1, 2014 - Now that my mental health was in order (although I was only on medication and in therapy until May), I felt more ready than ever to dive into another weight loss attempt. I have been dieting on and off since I was 14, and every January like clockwork. But I can tell you that this time felt completely different. I was ready. I wasn’t starving myself at 1200 calories. I knew how I had to go about it in order not to fail, and most importantly, my brain was ready. I wasn’t trying to lose weight because I hated myself or my body, I just wanted to be healthier.

I weighed in at 251lbs. I wore a size 18/20 in dresses, 2X/3X in shirts, and a size 16 in pants.

January 3, 2014 - I weighed in for the Ernie’s Fitness Challenge.

February 2014 - On a whim I decided to apply to be a part of Q99’s Grande Prairie’s Biggest Loser Challenge (sponsored by Vo2Max) on the last day that applications were open. At this point I was on a roll, so why not try to get money at the end too?

March 3, 2014 - This is the day that changed my life. I was chosen to be a part of Team Ron in the 2014 Biggest Loser Challenge, along with my friend Shay. It was a grueling two days of try outs but in the end, I was chosen. I definitely cried afterwards.

I weighed in at 244lbs.

Official "before" shot

Official “before” shot

The competitors (black and white) and mentors (grey)

The competitors (black and white) and mentors (grey)

March 5, 2014 - I weighed in for the Ernie’s Fitness Challenge again, at 238 [there was a huge number discrepancy between the Vo2Max scale and this scale]  so that 13lb loss (plus a bonus 3lbs I got for checking in on Facebook) got me a gift card with $48 ($3/lb) on it :) my journey was off to a great start!

March 19, 2014 - I officially lost 20lbs since January!

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May 21, 2014 - Officially 40lbs down!


May 24, 2014 - Biggest Loser finale day…..I weighed in at 210.5lbs. I was now in a size L/XL/12 for dresses, XL for shirts, and a size 10/12 for pants.

I lost a total of 33.5lbs and 28.5″ over the 12 weeks of competition (13.73% of my body weight)! I was in 7th/12th place.




Official “after” shot





May 26, 2014 - I bought a fucking LARGE dress at Old Navy(!!!!)


January 1, 2015 - Although I had been working out steadily since September, I have gained weight since May.

  • 217lbs
  • 43.5″ bust
  • 41″ waist
  • 46″ stomach
  • 43″ butt

photo 1 photo 2

January 4, 2015 - Today. I’ve been eating well, tracking my calories properly and I went to the gym last night. Tomorrow Noah starts school again after Christmas break so I will be going for a run.



It’s Been Awhile….

It’s been about a year and a half since I last put fingers to keyboard on this blog.

Major changes:

– I got married on July 20, 2013

– Noah started preschool in September 2013 (he’s now in his second year)

– my mental health has never been better

– I quit my bartending business

– I started what I hope is my final weight loss journey on January 1, 2014.


In the past, primarily all I wrote about on this blog was about Noah. Well truth be told, not much has changed with him, which is a big reason why the blog turned to my mental health struggles and why there haven’t been any new posts for a long time. Every day is Groundhog Day.

My new passion is running, general physical activity, races, and especially obstacle course racing. So I think that’s what this blog will be about now. Mostly exercise-related things, with a little bit of Noah sprinkled in.

I'm 4!

I’m 4!

Mother’s Day and ramblings

Yesterday was my third mother’s day, and it’s probably been the toughest one yet. It’s no secret that I’m struggling – and really what else do I do on this blog except complain? – but jeez I have to wonder if there is ever a point where all of this gets easier.

Mother’s Day is a day meant to celebrate our mothers and all that they do for us. I know that a lot of people think it’s a stupid holiday, a “Hallmark holiday”, whatever. But the thing is, that damnit we need that one day a year where society tells our kids and partners to pay attention to us.

I am really not that demanding…..truly, all I want is a card “from” Noah and maybe a nap, but I always feel like even on the day that is supposed to be about me, my feelings are put on hold like they just don’t matter enough. On top of that, the day in general feels like a punch to the gut when I look at Noah’s peer group.

Noah’s baby friends are putting crayons to paper, saying “I love you” and “Mama”/”Mommy”, maybe picking a flower outside. They are doing daycare crafts of macaroni necklaces and sticker tiaras, and singing songs. Besides the fact that Noah isn’t in daycare…….I don’t get to experience any of that. I’ve never been called “Mama”, never given a hug and a sloppy kiss, never been woken up by a little person climbing into our bed. And that hurts, it really does. Maybe that’s part of the reason why even though it’s my third Mother’s Day, I still can’t connect to the title of “mom”. Really, when I think of terms to describe myself, the terms are “old”, “tired”, “frustrated”….I don’t think of myself as a mother and that’s the hardest part. I know that it isn’t fair to put that on my child, and I’m not saying that it is his fault that I feel that way, but it’s just another way how the brain damage Noah suffered at birth has fucked up our entire lives.

The sun is shining and my neighbor’s kids are playing outside. Noah should be out there with them. I should be yelling at him to not run so far (I live in a condo complex, the front yards are all connected and there’s no barrier to the streets or parking lot), telling him to share, stop hitting, whatever. We should be potty training. He might be learning the letters of the alphabet a little, even just by memorization.

My therapist pointed out something to me a few months ago that made a lot of sense. When we took Noah off life support, we mourned the loss of our son. I shut myself off emotionally from him, in an attempt to safe guard myself. But when he decided to NOT pass away, it was almost like a whole other little boy was born. We mourned and grieved (and are still grieving) the loss of Mr Baby Boy Hiebert and all that he was supposed to be, but we then had to adjust to and learn Noah James Hiebert, the baby with severe cerebral palsy. (Hopefully that makes sense).

This whole experience is so much like wading out into unfamiliar waters. I read “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” from cover to cover because I truly had a textbook pregnancy. I had purchased “What To Expect: The First Year” but I didn’t even crack the spine because even from the moment we got home from the hospital, everything that was going on was far beyond anything a book could tell us. Even though I now have a couple of support groups in place online, brain damage is so varied from child to child that it’s not like I can really learn what to expect from the other people in the group. I suppose that’s true of any toddler but really, I look at Noah’s birth club and although their skills vary (as will happen in a group of 80 kids), they generally all follow a similar skill/development arc and direction. It’s hard because I really can’t join in almost any discussion re skills or development. There are some  “picture challenges” (where someone offers a picture theme for the week, for example, one a few weeks ago was yoga poses) that I can’t really participate in either….I want to, so I offer ideas for “challenges” that Noah can actually do, but then I feel bad because I don’t want them to feel bad and I don’t want them to feel like everything should be adjusted so that Noah can participate, when we are literally 1 person in a group of 79 other kids that can do the challenges perfectly fine.

I guess I am just tired of having to adjust our lives around what Noah can and can’t do. I just wish it could be easy… I could just head to the park with a water bottle and some easily transported snacks. We don’t go to the park because Noah can’t do anything and he doesn’t enjoy himself.

But we did get an awesome new stroller last week and although I messed up my ankle a few days ago, it’s getting better so hopefully Noah and I will be able to go on walks again and he won’t hate them. Hopefully.

I don’t just feel sorry for myself, I feel sorry for Noah and everything that he’s missing out on. I know that I whine a lot on this blog but I really don’t know where else to put those feelings. I’m disappointed and frustrated by the hand that life has dealt us, and I always feel like an “other” to everyone else….it gets very isolating because we can’t really do playdates, playgroups, playgrounds, etc. I don’t know why I ever thought it would get easier once he got older, but I think that a big part of that was that I was holding out for that elusive “two year” mark, when in my mind Noah would be sitting unassisted (therefore establishing that he could walk as an adult) and maybe crawling. I truly never thought that at 2.5 years old he would still be unable to do anything for himself. Maybe that was extremely naive of me to think that way. Probably.

People just don’t get it. And that’s okay, albeit frustrating, because they shouldn’t get it. No one should have to go through this shit and understand even an inkling of what it’s like.

I was watching a show on Netflix and there was an episode where the main character is deaf and she goes into a cooking class where she sets something on fire because she didn’t hear the timer go off. One of her classmates was like “why do they have the special needs kid in here” or whatever it was (implying that she was holding back the whole class), and that made me CRY because I was THAT person growing up. And I know that there is going to be THAT person in Noah’s class too, and that kills me. I am truly ashamed of my thoughts/words towards the special needs kids in my classes and I wish that that ignorance wasn’t such a common thing.

Now that I’ve majorly digressed….





Mother’s Day 2013

This post doesn’t have a title.

I’ve been having a really rough couple of days.

I’ve been thinking more and more about the fact that the only reason I’m still here is because of Noah. I realized that ever since Noah was born I have lamented over the fact that I can no longer just take off, leave, and do whatever I want. Maybe every new mother feels that way but it seems to cut a bit deeper for me.

My fight or flight instinct kicked in once we realized that Noah was in trouble. I stepped up to the plate because I had to….I had to make the calls to the social worker in Edmonton, had to coordinate where we were staying once we got there, had to track down my nurses to give me paperwork and get my doctor to come in to discharge me so that we could leave the hospital. Once we got to Edmonton, all of the other medical decisions we needed to make were presented to us…..more often than not, Caleb deferred to me. There tends to be an overwhelming belief that because the mother carries and births the child, she is the one to make the decisions.

Over the last two years I have had innumerable people tell me that I am strong, that I am a good mother, and so on. It makes me wonder if people ever say things like that to the fathers as well, or does that only apply to the mother because of societal norms – that it’s all on her. The thing is that I don’t feel like I am strong at all. I’m truly only here because I was pretty much forced into it…..over the last year or so, the only way I can really describe what I’m feeling is, “claustrophobic”. This has been especially true over the last 6 months in particular. Today I realized that that claustrophobic, wanting to “climb the walls”, feeling is actually my flight instinct kicking in. I’ve been fighting for so long…..more often than not I think about how on earth I am supposed to deal with all of this for years and years to come.

I want to leave, I want to run away. Those feelings were especially strong a few months ago when I was having some serious suicidal ideation…. but now that I’m finally in therapy and on medication, things are definitely better and I don’t feel quite as crazy. Over the last few days my shitty sleep patterns have returned and it brought back those desperate, trapped feelings. I don’t know where to put those feelings when I get like that. I post about them occasionally on a couple of FB groups I’m in, but it makes me feel like a drama queen….and I usually delete them in the cold light of day because I’m embarrassed.

I feel like I am expected to carry this ginormous weight and at the same time I need to organize and coordinate how to move my life forward. A friend of mine that I graduated with and started college at the same time as (before I left when I got pregnant at the end of my freshman year), FINISHED college this week. She is a TEACHER. That blows my mind… am I old enough to have peers who have actual careers? I’m a bum who stays at home all day while she is out being a contributing member of society and shaping young minds. That’s crazy to me!

This week I managed to completely forget about a biannual appointment with Noah’s physiatrist….and the hip x-ray that I was supposed to get him in for before that appointment. That probably doesn’t seem like a huge deal to anyone, but for me….it’s the first major appointment that I’ve completely and totally dropped the ball on. I have missed ONE other appointment, which was a PT/OT/ST visit when Noah was under a year old, which was rescheduled to the next week (so, no big deal). Now I’m embarrassed for missing that appointment, mostly because coordinating, making, and attending appointments is all on me and it’s just another mark of how much I fail at being a mother.

Most people say that their children are the best thing in the world, that they don’t regret them, etc. I feel like a horrible person because if I could go back and slap 19-year-old-Me upside the head, I would. This is terrible. That young, naive bitch had absolutely ZERO clue what she was getting herself into. I say it now to other people but I wish I would have known the truth myself….babies are NOT like in a Huggies commercial.

My sister is really making me angry because of her refusal to take responsibility for her own sexual health….and I think that a huge part of that is because I regret having a baby when I did, and perhaps at all. She is 19 herself now…..I know that she’s an adult and it’s her business and blah blah blah but honestly I really wish that she would look at my life and learn from my mistakes a little.

I worry about the future, Noah’s future, and what it looks like. Will it turn out that he outlives both Caleb and I? Will he pass away from a random illness next year? Will he ever walk, talk, feed himself?

My flight instinct is telling me to run….but every time I think about it, I also think about that little Noah face and it pulls me right back. I hate all of this so much that it’s beyond words, but I don’t want to leave Caleb or someone else with all of that burden either. So I have to keep pushing…and pushing….and pushing….

In so many ways, Noah saved my life and gave me something to live for……but in so many others, this whole experience is killing me.

This face is all I have.

This face is all I have.

Weight of the World

It really is a tired analogy but it is my truth. This week has been the heaviest of the heavy, possibly since the week Noah was born.

My sister has some deep mental health issues that have come to light this week, along with some risky behavior that could potentially hurt her for the long term.

Along with these issues come the fact that I, perhaps foolishly, got our parents involved. The aftermath has made me regret doing so, even though it probably still is the best decision. It’s just irritating that doing so has added onto my burden rather than diminishing it in any way.

My mother is someone who apparently can’t pick up on anything to do with nuance, tact, or tone. This isn’t me being mean, it is just fact. She doesn’t seem to understand how to phrase her questions and comments in a gentle, non-judgmental way. She doesn’t just drop a subject even when people tell her not to go there.

More importantly, it pisses me off that I sent her all this information about mental illness and she just doesn’t get it. She doesn’t get that there is usually not one exact cause of depression, that a little exercise typically doesn’t “heal” depression and you can’t just “snap” out of it. It’s like she believes every myth about depression, ever. And she seems to ignore whenever I try to tell her differently.

Maybe I just have “super understand-y powers” because I too am trying to deal with severe depression. I don’t know. In any case, the fact of the matter is that I just cannot carry all of this shit by myself. I can’t.

I started therapy a few weeks ago and anti-depressants on Sunday. I’m trying to make myself better. Meanwhile, I still have to force myself to get out of bed every day because there’s a little person depending on me. The antis make me hate life….I probably sound like a whiner but constant nausea (along with digestive issues, exhaustion, and apparently an inability to drink Coke/caffeine or eat normal portion sizes) is not a good time.

Adding to that is of course the “normal life” aspect of being a SAHM. This damn house that I am constantly behind on. Bills and money stress. Trying to remain social and keep in touch with friends (I usually fail the most at this). Caleb and I’s relationship.

Keeping on top of my “special needs life”, including coordinating appointments and therapy for Noah. His therapists and workers have picked up on my struggles in this area and now communicate with me exclusively via email.

Now having to add this new burden, of trying to help my sister and rein in my mother’s ridiculousness.

I just can’t handle it. I am drowning. I am not strong enough to carry all of this and I don’t know what to do about it.

I convinced my sister to go to a mental health walk-in today without me and that seemed to be zero help as they said that she seemed to be doing it for other people….like are you fucking kidding me? I’m trying to help her by sending her to a place that has people who can better identify her issues and send her to the right place and they are telling her that she doesn’t want it enough. WTF is that. I get that they can’t help her if she doesn’t want to help herself but she has crippling anxiety and literally won’t help herself. So now we’re back to square one, I guess? Where I carry everything? Where she’s still doing the risky behavior because I wanted them to refer her to therapy so that she’d have better strategies to bypass that impulse?

I am not a mental health expert. I am not qualified to help her move through and deal with her issues. She needs a professional.

I am emotionally exhausted. I am just so. effing. tired. I can’t take any more bullshit.

I can’t carry everyone.