Milestones!


This Sunday, April 27, 2014 I will be participating in my fifth Sun Run.

The Sun Run is a 10 KM run event  in Vancouver, BC.  It is the largest 10 KM run in North America as it typically attracts approximately 50,000 participants.

My world changed dramatically after completing my first Sun Run.  I’ve said it before and often and will say it again…running has literally saved my life.

The doors that have opened since crossing the finish line the first time, the change that has occurred in my person has been quite remarkable.

And I am humbled and blessed to still be able to get out there and do the damn thing.

I have included a link to Marathon Photos that document finishing the race last year.  They also have some video clips.  I look like Big Bird and I have the sign if you want to check it out.  You really cannot miss me.

Three weeks after this race I ran the BMO 1/2 Marathon.  I think I was in denial when first I saw these photos as I’d really become bloated at this point.  This is what I looked like just prior to being diagnosed with Uterine Cancer.

And I knew there was something not right but when you begin the process of diagnosis, your head won’t let you go to that dark place of ‘What if….?’

Two weeks prior to the events of last years Sun Run I had been given a medication to ‘soften’ my cervix for some tests that needed to be done.

I ended up having contractions as a result.  Not fun.  Not fun at all.

Last year at this time I was feeling a little beat up.

This year I’ve gone through the battle and won.  I’ve got the scars which are mending and I am rebuilding.

As I run this year it will be a reminder to me of the good fortune I’ve been blessed with in finding these ailments before they became a major threat.  It will reinforce the beauty of movement and allow me to honour my health and wellbeing.

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Below is a photo taken when I was invited to participate in The Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay.  Truly, it was a huge honour.  A few months ago I received an invitation to share my story.  I am attaching the letter requesting participation and Renee’s response to my submission.

In my submission I included the final chapter of my book as my experience with the relay is noted in there.  I was brought close to tears by Renee’s response.

This year the Sun Run will be a celebration.  I will be picking up my run package this afternoon after work.  Look for me a the finish line.  Cheers!

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Dear Nancy,

Rick Hansen and his Foundation team are working on a new initiative to encourage Canadians to become Difference Makers. And we need your help!

Will you share your story of how someone (including you) reached out and made a difference?

Someone facing a life challenge perhaps. Or going out of their way to help someone in need.

As a medal bearer during the Rick Hansen 25th Anniverary Relay, you know how people can have a positive impact on others.

Reply to this email by April 15th. All stories are confidential. If your story is one that Foundation would like to share, we’ll only do so with your permission.

Nancy, thank you again for all you do. Take pride in knowing that you are a Difference Maker!

Renee Eaton
Director, Community Giving
Rick Hansen Foundation
1-800-213-2131

 Dear Nancy,

Please excuse the delay in my reply. I was on vacation and then off sick with the flu.

 Thank you so so much for sharing your story. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to read about your journey and honoured by your honesty and courage. Our Difference Makers team will find your thoughts and observations so valuable to this new initiative. Especially the following, directly copied from your submission:

What a humbling experience this was.  I walked amongst giants that day and met the man in motion himself.  I realized we all make a difference but it is up to us what kind of difference we make in the human experience and how much of difference as well.   

And through my trials I now emerge simply as woman.  There are no barriers, no restraints.  This is who I am. ‘ 

 Thank you for writing so beautifully about difference making. The Foundation team is lucky to have you on our team.

Sincerely,

Renee Eaton

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Choices


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This is an anniversary of sorts for me today.  One year ago on this date I was admitted into hospital where an angiogram was performed and later an angioplasty.  Which means, for those of you not familiar with the terminology, I had a heart blockage that was investigated then had a stent inserted to open up the artery which we discovered was 95% blocked.

And the thing of it is, I had virtually no symptoms.  We  kind of stumbled upon this through some other tests.  A year ago I was feeling far too human and far too fragile by the day’s end.  But what I realized in that moment as I laid in the operating chamber, very much awake and watching as the doctor moved his instruments inside my heart, was how little time on this planet we actually have and how much we take it for granted.  It was the day after this event while I sat curled up on my sofa, ruminating about all of the things that I had been through in my life time that I began this blog.

I have always wanted to write and I want to be a good at it.  Don’t get me wrong, I have always written,  not always in a particularly coherent manner, mind you.  At this time last year no one had ever read any of my writings.  I had been working on a memoir, which last year was still a compilation of emotional writes in several notebooks.  I embraced the New Year with a vim and vigor never quite experienced before.

I found a writer’s group that focused on offering positive critiques for ongoing novels and/or short stories. My first meeting with them was rather intimidating.  I can recall thinking ‘What if I’ve just been kidding myself all these years and can’t really write very well at all?’  To this little offering of doubt that presented itself, I smiled and decided that I best learn the craft then if I want to write, yes?  And so began the exploration of learning to become a decent wordsmith.

I joined yet a second writing group which tackled different issues regarding the world of publishing and all the little intricacies and nuances and gave me insight into a world I really knew nothing about.  I have been a sponge, wanting to take in as much as possible.

Sanctuary Photowalk 087This is my 219th post over the course of this past year.  I have had emotional highs and lows.  I have challenged self consistently and have moved forward steadily.  To where, I can’t say just yet.  What I’ve been doing, I realized today,  is that I have been laying down a foundation of sorts.  I have become far more disciplined in the task of writing on a daily basis.  The appetite to read, to explore, to research is at times voracious and difficult to satisfy as there are only 24 hours in the day.  In that mix I work two jobs, run, workout, do Yoga, write, cook clean, socialize.  I punched it up into high gear and just ran with it.

Over a four and half month period I put the book together.  And other ideas began to blossom in this fertile head of mine.  I participated in Rick Hansen’s 25th Anniversary of the Man in Motion Tour.  And now not only do I want to write, but I want to contribute in a positive way to this world that I belong to. And I guess that has been one of the most exceptional realizations is that I do belong and that I matter right along with all my other beings on this beautiful planet.

For so many years I looked out at this world from a carefully constructed shelf.  As this year began I jumped into the fray and woke to this world of so much splendor.  I wondered why I had not done this previously, but then decided no point dwelling on a point that was now moot.  I run now into a presence that encourages as much as it challenges.  I no longer have the attitude that I can’t do something.  Now the neurons are firing and assembling thoughts and ideas at a pace that I sometimes can’t keep up with.  And so I sit, meditate and slow the thing down.

It’s not about me, the individual any longer.  It is about me, the participant.  What can offer to the grand design?  How can I be used by this life source that feeds me and give back?  Those are the questions that dance through the head now.

flowerI do consider myself a writer now, not just a person who likes to write.  I have made several choices in my life…some not so good…some not so bad.  But the best choice I made over this last year was to live and live well.

For those of you that have followed my journey over this past year,  I thank you and hope that you will continue on with this evolution of mine.

Why Not Think Big?


Since being a participant in the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay commemorating the Man In Motion Tour, I have really been pondering the idea of how much of a difference I want to make.  That acceptance has been very profound for me.   Driving into the gym this morning I was just letting all the little thoughts that occur so randomly slip through the grey matter.  I smiled at some of the little oddities that happened to stop by.  I got to thinking about letting go of my ego again.  I don’t know that it is possible to let go of it completely but I am attempting at just being.

I have had an idea for a fundraiser for some time now and last week I decided to follow that thought and see where it leads.   My vision of it is fabulous so let’s see if we can make ‘fabulous’ happen, shall we?

What I am hoping more than anything with this idea of mine is to connect with women in way that is truly unique and beneficial to all of us.  This event will be an ‘umbrella’ event for several charitable groups that  help women in crisis.  Funding always seems to be a key issue so the idea in principle is to bring all of these organizations together for one day, invite 20 to 40 thousand women and have some fun.  I have the letter drafted up to send out to all of the organizations and I just need to finish putting together a preliminary outline and program of events then I will do my mail out and hopefully get a favourable response.

I will keep you posted on this little project of mine.

I have been looking very deep inside of self as of late.  For a very long time I never felt that I mattered in this world.  For a very long time I had very little, if in fact any self-worth.  Now I am in this place where these things are opening up before me and I am thinking ‘Why not? It is certainly worthwhile exploring.’  I feel this energy in me that really is quite remarkable and I just get so giddy with the excitement and knowledge that I really do matter, that I do have a place in this world and that I am connected to everything and everyone around me.  Don’t tell me I can’t do something.  I listened to that for far too long.

I understand too that I am the person I am today because of my past.  We all make choices.  I was for a very long time existing in my past.  I have now chosen to evolve and live in the present moment for it really is all we have.  This will not come again.  It will not be repeated.  And at this moment to my way of thinking, we all matter.

And as I continue to grow in this manner there is this delightful sense of wonder at all that is around me.  If you could see me right this moment, you would see a woman having a pretty good hair day with a lopsided smile on her face.  I am going to dive into my work now.  Much to do and all the time in the world to do it.

Enjoy your day!

 

History


Meeting Rick

I became a part of history today.  We are all a part of history really, if you think about it.  As each day comes to a close we have written yet another brief dialogue in the ongoing saga of this world…this life.  But today I did my little 250 metre trek commemorating the 25th Anniversary of Rick Hansens’ Man In Motion Tour.  I will have the opportunity to meet him later today and I feel so very blessed to have been a part of this event. 

The members of our team were given the logistics of the thing and then asked to share a bit of our own story with each other.  As each person briefly told their story I was humbled.  To be chosen to participate among so many incredible individuals.  To actually believe that I can and do make a difference…well, I got a bit teary eyed. 

The organizers of this event treated us absolutely fabulous and wow, I salute each and everyone of them. 

And what did I take away from this event?  We need each other.  We really do.  We need be able to open up to one another, not hide on the sidelines.  Today I saw such beauty in each of their spirits.  I saw so much love, so much compassion.  The vibrations that were being given off and shared….truly remarkable. 

When it came time for me to share my story, I told the room briefly about a woman who had been in a very deep depression.  I told them briefly how that is in fact a disability in many ways because it really does paralyze you emotionally.  I told them how I had started to run again and still am.  I told them how I had watched Rick all those years ago begin his journey and my god, could any of us imagined his impact?  How inspired I have been by people who seemingly have greater challenges to deal with than what I have before me.  I told them how fortunate I felt to be there.  I truly was amongst giants today. 

I want to make a difference.  I really do.  Perhaps it will just be in a small way.  With a smile afforded to a stranger who really needs that acknowledgement or a kind word.  Perhaps the book I am writing will reach out and speak to and encourage people to carry on in some way. One thing I know from my own experience in this life is that it is the people who have come into my life, sometimes very briefly, and given me a little piece of their heart…that is what has truly enabled me to carry on and grow. 

While I was jogging up the hill today I again felt so thankful that I can move like this again.  The gentleman in the pilot vehicle (whose name, please forgive me, escapes me at this moment) was telling me about Lazy Legz Patulli.  Now this young man performed at the opening of the Paraolympics in Vancouver in 2010.  I was at the opening ceremony and was just blown away by his dance.  In any case, Lazy Legz uses crutches and leg braces to walk and dance.  His legs don’t work, you see.  He was part of the Rick Hansen event back in Calgary and did his own 250 metre trek and apparently did it without the use of his crutches or braces.  Yes, he fell a few times.  Yes he struggled.  It was apparently very emotional to see.  I was truly moved in the telling of this story and once again humbled by those around me. 

So I carved out my own little piece of history in this event and I am grateful that I was able to participate.  Have a fabulous day everyone.

Projections


I opened my eyes and thought is was pretty light outside for 5:00 AM.  The Sun must have gotten up even earlier I smiled to myself…then I rolled over and looked at my alarm.  6:04 AM.  That is what it read.  I jumped from my bed…’how can this be?’  It would appear I did not set my alarm last night before going to bed.  Now the funny thing is I am usually quite manic about this.  I will set it, wonder if I set it, then set it again.  So I would imagine somewhere in my head last night I was convinced that I did in fact set the silly thing.

The other option is that I did set it and at some point during the night I turned it off.

That’s okay…I can hit the gym after work today.

We ran trails last night down at Spanish Banks…my God, was it ever glorious!  The only thing I don’t like is that we have to warm up on a big hill….but once I get my heart rate up and convince my body that running up the side of a mountain (I am exaggerating) is good for it…then I settled into this fabulous canter through the woods.  I just love how it smells as well.  The earthy scent, the perfume from the trees and bushes.  Absolute heaven!

I am very fortunate in that I have been chosen to participate in Rick Hansen’s 25th Anniversary Relay commemorating his achievements over the past quarter century.  For those of you not familiar with Rick Hansen, he was injured in an automobile accident when he was a teenager and confined to a wheelchair.  Inspired by Terry Fox, whom I am certain most have heard of and is another hero of mine, Rick decided in 1986 to wheel around the world in his wheelchair to raise awareness and funding for spinal cord research.  The trek was called ‘The Man In Motion” tour  and he traveled some 40,000 km over the course of a year around the world.  The song ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ was written for Rick as well.

When Rick Hansen left there was a small gathering at Oakridge Mall which is located at Cambie and 41st in the City.  Like Terry Fox before him, I made it a point to tune into the newshour to see how he was faring.  As Rick continued on his trek, the crowds he was drawing were bigger and bigger.  By the time he hit the East coast of Canada the momentum really began to explode and when Rick made his way back into Vancouver (I am tearing up bit now at the memory of it) the streets were lined ten fold to welcome him home.

He is also one of the most humble and gracious individuals ever to step into the spotlight to promote his cause.  During the 2010 Olympics I was at the opening ceremony for the Para0lympics.  Rick was a big part of that and homage was paid to Terry Fox as well, someone Rick really looked up to and admired.  These two fine individuals were definitely cut from the same cloth.  Despite their afflictions they both chose to challenge themselves and the world around them.  They both rose to the occasion and surpassed it.

So I feel blessed that I was chosen to be a part of this extraordinary celebration.  I am only running 250 metres, but that’s okay.  Even if it was one step…I would still want to participate and honour this cause and the giant of a man who initiated it.

I was thinking how we project ourselves to world.  I am able bodied, I always have been and yet, for many years I was ‘disabled’ in how I presented myself to the world.  Because of the emotional fractures in my life and how they had left me a in state where I really just could not cope…this affected my physical body in a big way as well.

I have had so many people touch my life in a positive way, particularly in this past year.  And I realize that my heart is made up of the mosaic of love that has been afforded to me from all the good people I have met in my lifetime.

What do I want to project now?

I want project acceptance, love, tolerance, peace, friendship…and the list could go on.

So as I am running my 250 metres this Friday, that is what I hope to be putting out to the world around me.

Enjoy your day everyone and thanks for checking in.

 

 

I am ready for my close-up


What a run last night!  I ran every bit of pent up stress and frustration I endured over the course of the day and man…I was a bullet!  I could be onto something here.  Get stressed to the max and then go for a run and release it all.   We had fabulous weather and we did a Tempo run last night.  My race is this Sunday and I have one more run to do before then.  At this point though it will be an easy run for me.  We ran about 7.3 k last night or 4.3 miles.  I am doing an 8K on Sunday.  While the distance is not a challenge for me so much, I am working on my speed these days…so I am hoping to have a time of about 40-45 minutes.  I will be doing the next race a 10K approx. 3 weeks after that and I do want to come in under an hour on that one.

These are just personal goals of mine.  Members of my run group are always asking me when I am going to do a 1/2 marathon.  I don’t know that I want to.  I would have to commit a lot of time to something like this and the last thing I ever want running to feel like is a job.  I won’t say that I will never do one though.  Who knows?  A few years down the road I could very well change my mind.

I might go with the group this year to Victoria for the 1/2 marathon though.  They have an 8K portion as well and I would love to just go and support everyone and be out there cheering them on after doing my little jaunt.

I was a bit dismayed that I did not make the cut on the 25th Anniversary Relay for Rick Hansen.  They are doing a cross-Canada relay and I signed up to have a part in it a long time ago and found out the other day that I didn’t make the cut.  I will still go out and support the event in any case but it would have been great to have been a participant.

I certainly feel fabulous these days.  I am closing in on the end of the original 12 week plan and I did deviate from said plan as I have admitted in the past.  A few things I realized in this little exercise of mine.  While I planned on being a bit of hermit….I am not a hermit.  I like to engage in conversation and interact with people.  I really need that connection.

I was talking to my Yoga instructor last week about a 10 day meditation that he went on.  At this retreat you do not talk for 10 days.  You do not look at people.  I don’t know that I would be able to put on makeup or do some of my other little daily ablutions.   I don’t know that I could go 10 days without talking.  I would probably end up crying a whole hell of a lot and if they did let me put makeup on then I would just look like a bit of mess anyway.  And in truth it wouldn’t matter because no one is supposed to look at you. There is this part of me that is curious as to how I would deal with a situation like that and if I could get through it.  In any case, I won’t be doing that anytime soon.

The other thing I learned about my 12 week plan is that I like beer.  But I will be good for a while longer and be minimal in my consumption of this beverage.

The eating thing was fine.  I had no issues following a heart healthy diet and in fact have found some fabulous new recipes and have made a concerted effort to really look at what I am putting in my body.   This has carried over into restaurants as well and being very mindful of what I order when I am out and about.

That said, I am by no means radical in my food choices.  I don’t know that I could ever do the Vegan thing.  People that can and do this, I am amazed at them.  But I suppose it is how you view food.  I know in our culture we have an emotional attachment to food.  Why, I could not tell you, however, I would say marketing and advertising over the years has fed this phenomenon.  Actually it is interesting the effect that TV and/or visual media has had on the past few generations.  Our obsession with our appearance is a bit manic.  These odd ideals of beauty.  This revolt against aging.

I just want to be healthy and relatively sane.  Insanity can be fun at times and should be attempted just to balance things out.  Nothing like rolling around in the wet sand at midnight naked…and when the cops come to arrest me, then I just smile and say…”I am ready for my close-up.”

So go out, have fun and don’t get caught!  Enjoy.