Hope & Infertility

My Marathon has come and gone. I have a beautiful medal hanging in my kitchen…a perfect 42.2km technical shirt hanging in my closet.

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I have conquered one of my biggest life goals. Now… I have to put all of my energy in to a different but important one.

For those of you who aren’t aware. My husband and I have been struggling with infertility for nearly 3 years.

For three years I have debating sharing this with the world. While I have been very open with people I know on a day-to-day basis…opening myself up to criticism on the internet is a whole other ball game. Most people know the vague details of our struggle, few know the minute ones. I truly believe that couples shame and fear shouldn’t have to be hidden. I believe that community is so important in this journey…and for this reason, I will share as much as my heart can bare as we start the next leg of the journey.

Next month we will be starting to undergo a series of costly fertility treatments. While we have had some minor ones already-this is the “real stuff”. Within the next 1 month to 1 year, we will know if it is possible for us to conceive a child.

Over the last three years I have found a lot of ways to not get attached to the idea of a biological child. I resigned myself to adoption (which is definitely something I would like to partake in one day, but I would also love to experience pregnancy once if I am blessed with that experience), I told myself I didn’t really want children, I convinced myself I would be a terrible mother, I told myself children would interfere with my life goals…anything to avoid the pain that is infertility.

I thought I was okay with the life we have. I was okay with life without a biological child. I was very excited for the future…and where that may lead us with a possible adoption story. Then we met the fertility specialist. My whole plan going to the appointment was to confirm what I already knew in my head: I am a barren desert..and no forms of life will grow here. When I was given my “statistical odds” of becoming pregnant naturally vs. IUI vs. IVF….I was weary and hesitant. Then, something in the last week since my appointment has changed. I can’t stop researching fertility treatment statistics, reading success stories, etc.

Hope. Something I haven’t had in a very long time has resurfaced…..and it is utterly terrifying. For the first time in a long time, I think if the words “You can not conceive naturally” are thrown at me again…I might just fall apart. I feel so fragile…..anticipating the worst, and hoping for a miracle….

So now we wait, and hope. Within the next month our first treatment will start and we will start the waiting game to discover if we will become parents….

We are young, we are hopeful. Fingers crossed, Prayers sent. xo

GF Vegan Blueberry Pancakes

Gluten Free, Vegan Blueberry Pancakes

Have a house guest coming with a ton of allergies? Have allergies yourself? Never fear, brunch is here!

PANCAKES

I don’t know about you, but brunch is my favourite meal. When I learned I could no longer tolerate eggs I was devastated thinking I would never enjoy breakfast or brunch again. Okay, I am perhaps being a little dramatic, but really-I used to eat eggs on a daily basis! It has taken me about 6 months to finally produce the PERFECT fluffy butter-milk-style pancakes which are free of gluten, egg, and dairy. There was MUCH trial and error. I can’t even tell you how many pinterest recipes I tried that were just A BIT off. Finally, I just had to take it into my own hands. These will fool even the most gluteny eaters-ask my husband who thought he hated pancakes before these!

Makes aprox. 8 large pancakes.

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (this is essential-must I tell you my woah’s about gluten free flour trial and error?!)

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup oil (I used half coconut half canola as I was running out of coconut)

1/4 cup icing sugar (I was out of regular, and this ended up being GENIUS)

2 chia eggs (1 tbsp chia seed + 2 tbsp water, let sit for 5 minutes = 1 egg)

1 1/2 cup coconut milk (or any other milk or non-dairy milk)

1 quart fresh blueberries (or chocolate chips, or bananas, really anything, go to town!)

Whisk or blend everything together except the fresh berries. Put a non-stick pan on stove at medium-high heat until hot. A hot pan is essential to golden pancakes. Use whatever oil/butter/etc. you like to grease the pan. I used about 1 tsp canola oil. For each pancake use aprox. 1/3 cup (I used a partially empty 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop the batter) to pour the batter into the hot pan. I fit two side by side in my pan. Push fresh blueberries into the surface of the pancake which will be starting to get firm around the edges. Once the pancake starts to bubble, flip it over and cook for another 2 minutes. Store in oven at 190 degrees while making the rest of the batch. Eat! If you aren’t going to eat them all, these store beautifully. I pack two to a freezer bag and smack ’em in the freezer for easy microwaving or toasting later! :) Serve with back bacon, sausage, hash browns and fruit for the best darn brunch an allergic kid could ask for!

Birth-goals

Well friends, another beautiful year has come and gone and on Friday I will be turning 25! I make birthday resolutions for each year of life-because really, what significance does new years have? Nothing really. I’ve made some big scary goals this year!

1. Conquer a full marathon: I’m all signed up for the Vancouver Marathon on May 3, 2015. TERRIFYING!

2. Take a non-race vacation: California? Texas? Florida? Some of the few places the hubby and I have been discussing.

3. Stick to a budget to pay off debt and save for a house: I hope to have a specific portion of our debt completely paid off, and to have a specific amount in savings. :)

4. Practice yoga at least once a week: Hot yoga at least once a month.

5. Re-learn guitar: Song TBA….I have yet to get a guitar, or pick some songs.

6. Swim in open water: Scary Scary Scary. Since learning to swim, I have still be petrified of open water-its just so unpredictable! I hope to go snorkelling, or lake swimming, or something fun.

7. Reach 170lbs or less while still maintaining/building muscle: This morning I weighed in at 179.6lbs (I had a goal to get to 180 by the end of fall), I feel great and am happy with where my body is, but would like to continue to achieve better HEALTH. :)

8. Purchase water/vaccines through world vision: This has been on my heart lately.

9. Floss EVERY day (and stop cancelling dentist appointments): Oy. I am a chronic dentist appointment canceller-I hate it so much, and also a floss-skipper.

10. Create and keep a monthly cleaning list: Id way rather clean a little every day, then a TON every week or two.

11. Get Waxed! OUCH.

12. Purchase and start biking.

 

Fitness Lately

As many of you know, I have taken the fall off of marathon training to attempt to build muscle and gain some short-distance PR’s. Also to give my brain a little break from mega-long runs.
I have been working extra hard to develop muscles, and get faster!:) (I sound like a little boy who wants to be superman right now…) Here’s what I had on the go last week:

Monday: 15 minute warm up on the stationary bike + 20 minutes strength training (It was thanksgiving and the gym was closing early)
Tuesday: REST DAY

Wednesday: 5.1 km easy run with Cora

Thursday: 1 hr Hot Yoga Class with Chantel & Jayme + 5.4 km slightly quick but easy run with Steph

Friday: 1 hr Physique Class with Chantel (Strength training) + 11.2 km SLOW, DIFFICULT run with Becky (Physique kicked my hiney)

Saturday: WORK, REST DAY (Muscles utterly exhausted)

Sunday: WORK, Intended to run 45 minutes after work but felt quite tight still and ate a huge meal of indian late at work, took a REST DAY instead.

So all in all, I nearly hit my goal: 4 runs, 3 days at the gym. I was just short one run. Here’s the plan for this upcoming week, which is a busy one!

Monday: 1.5 hour Hot Yoga Class
Tuesday: 4.8km easy run
Wednesday: 40 minute tempo run + 30 minute Spin Class
Thursday: 4.8km easy run + 1 hour Group Active class (strength)

Friday: REST DAY!

Saturday: 1 hr 15 minute Hot Yoga Class

Sunday: 10km quick run

I am taking a course, and then some training for work this week, so I will have some busy 8-hour days to attempt to fit in double-work-outs but I am definitely excited to keep building muscle!:) Weighed in this morning and the results were fabulous from last week-I won’t share them for a few weeks, need to make sure I can maintain it first!:) I hope if nothing else, me sharing my goals for the week will inspire YOU to GET ACTIVE in any way you can!:)

Living In The Light, Lovin’ Lately

Well friends, I have been quite neglectful on the blogging front lately. Not because I have nothing to say, I have just been feeling quite unmotivated writing-wise and have been keeping busy in my real life. =) This past two months I have been working only DAY shifts thanks to some amazing colleagues who helped me with trades to give a little break from night-shifts.

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Lets just say, since coming back from Vancouver, I have felt revived, alive and FULL OF LIFE. I just love my life, and almost every aspect of it. I have been running 4-6x/week (with the exception of a small set back, allergic reaction), I have joined a gym which has amazing classes (and even better showers!!!), ‘Things’ have been oddly great with the hubbie (they weren’t bad…just have been exceptional lately), and I even enjoy going to work most days! Also, I am SOOO close to reaching my fall goal of running a 5km in 30 minutes. My current best during training has been 33 minutes. Extending my training by a month to help me reach this amazing goal. It almost feels surreal….like any moment something is going to come crashing down. I will ride the ‘amazing-wave’ as long as it lasts though!=)

I had no real reason for the sudden happiness and love of life, and then I realized I haven’t worked any night shifts-no wonder I have been in such a great mood! So, In celebration of my recent zest for life, a few things I have been LOVING lately!

1. Gilligan & Omalley Lingerie @ Target

As a bigger-busted gal, I have a hard time finding ‘cheap’ bras that actually do their job. These bras have matching panties and come in a plethora of ‘larger’ sizes. Not only that, but they are MEGA cute and MEGA inexpensive (read: $16ish dollars for a bra, $5 for panties) and fit MEGA well! Yay Yay Yay! I’d show you a picture…but I can’t seem to steal a picture off the Tar-jay website. Seriously, who doesn’t love a really cute matching pair of under-garments, I truly believe the first step in feeling beautiful is great lingerie!

2. Hot Yoga!

Yoga….tropical vacation heat……is there anything more wonderful? I wish I could go every single day now! Thankfully my new gym has a ton of classes. :)

3. Fresh Flowers. I always love fresh flowers, but I went to Blossoms in Saskatoon before thanksgiving and have been thoroughly enjoying this beautiful bouquet for an entire week now. A few flowers are starting to look a little sad, but most are still standing up! Love the purple kale especially!

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4. Photography + Fall. Had an opportunity to go out with some friends and do a little photo-taking lately….I am so excited about this art-form and hope to just keep practicing and learning more skills. So grateful for great, talented, patient friends to teach me what they know!

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5. Shellac Manicures. I had my nails done exactly one week ago, and my polish has yet to chip![and I am EXTREMELY HARD on my nails] Yay! I got a tinted clear colour and my nails trimmed very short so it would be work-appropriate, but there is something so happy about just looking at my wedding rings with beautiful, always-nice looking nails!

6. Travel Samples. I got a little Marc Anthony Moroccan Argan Oil Hairspray travel sample for my gym bag and wowzas this stuff is amazing! And it smells so good! I also got a hemp hand cream travel-size from The Body Shop and it works wonderfully for my nurse-hands. Love trying new things without the commitment of an entire bottle.

7. Sunrises! One of the perks of working so early in the morning, is that I have been seeing TONS of gorgeous fall sunrises lately. This one was just as I was walking through an alley….no editing or filters. Beautiful. I would say I have been at least 3 gorgeous sunrises each week.

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8. Flu Shots! I am so grateful to be in a country that I can get free flu shots-seriously, a tiny prick to prevent an entire season of terrible illness. Go get one!!!!

Have a great week friends! I hope you are all loving life as much as me lately!

“The secret of being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of everyday.”

Sea Wheeze Half Marathon

On Thursday August 21, 2014 the world lost one of the ‘greats'; Keith Cryderman. A mentor, husband, father, grandfather, friend, and follower of christ. I ask for your prayers for his family in the months to come as he will be greatly missed. “Love deeply…Laugh often…Cherish each moment…Live passionately.” –Kerri Cryderman on behalf of Keith Cryderman. Possibly the most important lessons to be learned in life. Have a great time flying with the angel’s up there, Keith!

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In short, this was the best race of my life, but I have compiled a list of pros and cons at the end of this so can can compare for yourself and decide if on September 10, 2014 you would like to battle the crowds to sign up for next year’s race!

We spent six days in Vancouver in total. The first day was spent wandering around on foot exploring our downtown neighbourhood. We ventured down to Whole Foods to pick up some snacks and necessities…and to fall in love! Gah! I hope one gets built closer to home. We spent some time at the pool and outdoor patio at our hotel, we relaxed, we ate. 

Day two the Race Expo and package pick up started at 7am. We slept in a bit and joined the crowds at 8:30am. After walking around lost for about 40 minutes, we found the right place (we walked by it) and joined the line to enter the showcase store which featured all of the limited edition Sea Wheeze clothing and gear. We waited in line for 45 minutes-1 hr and finally got to check out the store. Everything was sorted into sizes. There were tons of items in 4-6, and NOTHING in 10, 12. We waited around and finally discovered that we just needed to wait as people put things back after trying them out. So we waited, and waited, and followed people around trying to get the jackets and pants. I ended up buying a striped tank, a white tank with green outline of the mountains and a pair of running capris. I would have loved to pick up a rain jacket or yoga mat bag but they sold out right away.

After the store, we got into another long line for the package pick up-this line moved pretty quickly and package pick up was a breeze. The only complaint I have at this part is that we had bought an extra festival ticket with my package but the staff seemed to have NO clue where I could get this. After some finagling with the staff they finally just gave us a ‘complementary’ pass since they couldn’t find ours in the computer and we were off. The race package was a cute athletic-type bag and inside there was a voucher for free coffee at JJ Bean as well as a water bottle and a braided headband which held our race number on for the bag-drop race day.

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By the time we finished here, it was nearly 1:30pm and I was already exhausted from waiting in line all day. We grabbed some quick lunch at the food court (gluten free/dairy free was VERY difficult to find within a 10 minute walk of this area) and headed back for the final portion of the expo-tattos, hair braiding, nail painting and music. I only made it though the line for the tattoos before it all started to shut down. We finished up around 4pm, cancelled our dinner plans with friends to head back to the hotel and rest legs-my calves were SO tight from the hills and my feet were hurting, so afraid it would affect my race. For dinner I ate a burrito bowl-rice, chicken, veggies, sauce from a quick place down the road.

Race day I woke up at 5:30 and got dressed while putting back about a litre of water. My calves were MEGA tight (as in, I had to roll pre-race), I was very worried. The temperature was forecasted at 23C, but was only 9 degrees for the race start. I ate two bananas and a hand full of dill pickles. Warm up was at 6:20, so we headed out from the hotel at 6:05. I arrived and decided to skip warm up (full on aerobics) in favour of saving my strength for the race, and walked to my corral-about 2.5-3 blocks back from the starting line. Once our corral finally got started, I quickly fell into a groove-with my watch pinned on the back of my running belt so I couldn’t see. I ran my fastest first 5km in quite a while (34 minutes) and the first half was mostly uphill. I hit 10km at 1:14, also coming back up hill. Beyond this it was smooth sailing downhill and then onto the flat sea wall. There were wonderful aid stations and port-a-potties every 3 km. I fortunately didn’t need the potties-there were big lines! The aid stations were fabulous and would fill up one of my water bottles at each station (in total I went though 8 cups of water on this race)-they had vega gels, sports drinks, and lots of banana and orange slices too. Had they not been so congested, I feel I might have PR’d on this race. I only partook in the water however as I had dried mango in my belt. I ate a few pieces of dried mango at every other aid station (I didn’t feel hungry, but knew I’d need it). Around 18km I started getting tired, but I knew I could press on, so I took a walk break to eat some pickles from my belt, and a few mango slices and carried on. I walked again around 20km-knowing that I needed to run 7min/km to the end to get a PR. Unfortunately I just didn’t have the kick in me to pick it up and watched myself miss a PR by 3 minutes. It didn’t matter though, and dosen’t-I was killer for 5 and 10km, and I never battled myself mentally the entire race. The race was so scenic and beautiful, and had so many awesome cheer teams along the way. I was in the second last corral, but there were still thousands of people behind me, so I never felt-‘back of the pack’-I also passed quite a few people which NEVER happens and felt awesome! I was greeted in the final stretch by my friends, Cailey, Kyle, and Steph…as well as my super husband-who asked me if I needed a banana literally 300m from the finish line…hahahaha!  I crossed the finish line in 2:48:12-three minutes short of a PR feeling AMAZING. I will definitely be returning for this race-the BEST race of my life. I had so much fun and smiled practically the entire way through. It felt more like 12km than 21.1km! The finishers received a metal, some run recovery essential oils from Seja and a black lululemon trucker-style hat. I waited about 20 minutes in the brunch line before giving up to go find my own food. It appears that people were munching on waffles and fruit though!

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After resting and showering up we ventured out to the Sea Wheeze Festival in Stanley Park-there were chartered buses to get everyone there and they ran very smoothly-no lines. The food at the festival was catered, and expensive (as per all festivals) but was clearly  marked ‘vegan’ or ‘gluten free’ which was a breath of fresh air. I partook in some homemade guac, salsa and chips as well as some handmade roasted marshmallows. I joined in yoga for about 10 minutes before growing frustrated with the lack of flow-belly poses to standing poses with no way to get to them…etc. but it turns out it only went on about 10 more minutes before finishing up. We hung out a bit in the grass before catching our bus back. We didn’t stay for the Capital Cities Concert as we were both sleepy. (By we, I mean the hubbie and I) Next year, I will definitely run the race-but I will skip the festival. 

We spent our last 3 days in Vancouver visiting Capillano, Grouse Mountian, and our favorite-renting bikes. We rented bikes and biked around Granville island and many other parts of the city-we were out for about 5 hours on the bikes and loved EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. I wish we had done it a few days! We also had electric bikes as all the regular ones were sold out-so after our legs were tired about 4 hours in, we were able to use the electric function to help us peddle up the big hills. I used to make fun of these things, but I can totally see their usefulness in a hilly place-they essentially turn into a little vespa for a few minutes at t a time!

So in Conclusion, here are the pro’s and con’s I found at the Sea Wheeze:

PROS:

– Lots of swag (enough to cancel out the cost of signing up)

– Tons of Pep! It seemed like the whole city was excited for the race-tons of cheer leaders, signs, etc.

– Well organized

– Tons of aid stations, well stocked

– Beautiful, Scenic, Amazing route

– Hair/nail/tattoo stations

– Great food at festival

– tons of port-a-potties

– down hill/flat second half made it seem not as long

– TONS of people so you are definitely not in worry of being last  if you are slow! (lots of preggo walkers too)

CONS:

– terrible registration-you had to registered the second it came available online, and then they didn’t even get your size so you had to go through the terrible process again to order your free race shorts

– lots of long lines (Expected for a race of ten thousand though)

– pricier entry fee (but you get it back in swag)

– Hilly

– Store sells out SUPER fast

– Yoga sucked.

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**I would have never have made it through this without you, Grey Robin. Thanks for your constant encouragement. Climbing every hill I kept repeating ‘What goes up, must come down’…and any time I felt like I was slowing I told myself ‘You are so much stronger than you think’.

A Day In The Life

Woke up today at 6am and then rested in bed for about 15 minutes before getting up for my long run, feeling relatively rested after 7.5hrs of sleep (I usually need 9). I ate a banana and about 4 or 5 baby dill pickles along with two glasses of water. Filled up my fuel belt with another two cups of water and some dates.

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Headed out for a slightly epic run with one of my besties, Grey Robin. I call it epic because I was pushed beyond what I thought was my physical limit as well as my mental limit at this point. We setting out to hit 18km, at what I thought would be my average pace of 7:45-8:25….typically long runs are mostly in the 8 minute or more mark. After 1km, GR took my garmin away from me as I was already starting to obsess over my pace. She directed me to just take it easy and go with how I felt [she should really get certified as a run coach, she really knows how to encourage and inspire]. Fabulous. We took a route on our normal trail but much further south in a part I haven’t been. It was beautiful and slightly hilly dirt trails. At 5km, I was surprised to find out I was only at 37 minutes (40 minutes is my norm. lately) and feeling great. Around where I thought was about 8 or 9km I started trying to push myself a little harder because I thought I might be slowing down, telling Becky I would like to hit 10km in less than 1:18 (norm. is 1:20 lately). She giggled a bit as I was huffing and puffing and fretting about slowing down and told me that I only had 900M to go until 10KM giving me enough time to actually WALK and still hit 1:18. I rolled past 10KM at 1:14!!!! I was actually running at a 7:05 and 7:07 pace for the 9 and 10th KM. WAHOOOOO!!! I couldn’t breath, and tears were welling in my eyes. I am so much stronger than I think I am. We continued along the dirt river-side trails for the last 8KM which were definitely tough mentally. I literally felt like crawling into the grass and going to sleep. Grey Robin pushed me and pushed me and LITERALLY…EVEN PHYSICALLY PUSHED ME and got me to the end in 2:21:53! Major Success. Even if I run 8:15 minute KM’s for the last three on race day, I will PR by about a minute. I seriously have no idea what I would do without GR’s constant support!!=) Through the run I only ate about 3 dates and 3 cups of water. 

After the run I had 25 minutes until church started so I made a mad dash for a cold shower and got ready to arrive at church about 10 minutes late, iced coffee, pickles and a banana in hand. After service the hubbie and I headed home for some relaxation and lunch. We ate leftover lo mein and watermelon. I had 3 glasses of water also.

We spent the afternoon watching episodes of The Mindy Project, which the hubbie is still catching up on while I stretched and foam rolled- seriously painful.

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Around 2:30 we settled in for an afternoon nap as we were both beat. I sleep for about an hour and a half. Woke up, hung around the house, wasted time on the internet snacking on some potato chips and finally decided upon sushi for dinner. [Oh and treated my running chafe while drinking a cherry dr. pepper]

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Now we are just spending the evening at home relaxing/watching TV and probably having an early-ish bedtime! Our simple, boring sunday in a nutshell, and I loved it!