Friday, January 25, 2013

New Blog

I've created a new blog to share my fitness, training, running and racing endeavours:

I'll be blogging there far more regularly than here - although I'll still use this place to keep track of my "Year of ..."progress.

Hope you'll join me at my new location!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The end of the year, but not the end of my endeavours

This is only my second post this year. Truth be told, I've been more focused on actual living this year - so much so I haven't had time to really think about all I've done. Although you can read about the entire journey on Facebook if you're really that interested. I kept a pretty good journal of my exploits there.

But with the year almost at an end, I knew I wanted to document what I've accomplished here. This has been a year of incredible change - of impossible change - and if people ever actually read this (besides people who already know me, that is), I want them to know the entire story.

I named this the Year of Endeavour (which means to strive toward a noble goal). My original plan was to focus on what I started at the end of the Year of Reinvention - to become healthy and fit. I mentioned in my May post about my first race - the Sporting Life 10k. That really was just the start.

I expect if I'd decided to become fit on my own, I never would've changed my life. I might have lost weight and done awesome things (My joy in life is doing awesome things) -- but I probably would eventually have ended up right back where I started (I did that once already...I lost 30 pounds during the Year of Transformation and then gaining most of it back over the next few years).

But this time around, I asked for help. I engaged an awesome trainer (Chris Cecile of to help me become fit. He's the one that made me realize that fit isn't a goal -- it's a lifestyle.  He's the one who dared me to set a crazy(and real) goal - to run that first10k, when I'd never ran before in my life.

I don't know what he saw in me to get me to set that particular goal -- but running that race changed my life. It made me realize I could do so much more than I ever had imagined.

Picture 1: The Sporting Life 10k (Finish Time: 52:02)

Since then, I've shattered every expectation of myself. I broke through walls I didn't know existed and found myself in a world where everything and anything is possible. I think that is going to be my new motto in life: Anything is Possible.

What else did I do? Well, here are a few of the (Race) highlights:

After the Sporting Life - I did the O Course with a friend from Work (Michelle). This was a prep course for Spartan Race (and was harder to be honest!).

Picture 2: The O Course - We carried that bloody 2x4 everywhere!

Then, I did Spartan Race - a 5k (It was really 7k) obstacle course with fire and ice.

Picture 3: Spartan Race - Jumping over fire

 Picture 4: Spartan Race - Crawling through ice, under barbed wire

Next, my brother Anthony convinced me to do the Loaring Beginner Triathlon. This was a 400 meter swim, followed by an 11k bike and a 2.5k run. I had to learn to ride a bike from scratch to do it, but I managed! Even came 3rd in my age group (I put my ribbon on my fridge)...sure there were only 7 of us, but it was still kind of awesome.

Needless to say, the minute I was done, I knew I wanted to do more.

Picture 5: Loaring Triathlon - Riding a borrowed bike...and not looking very fast

Picture 6: Crossing the finish line at the Loaring Beginner Triathlon

Following the Loaring Triathlon, I went back to Running - finishing the Run for Heroes Half Marathon in Amherstburg, Ontario.

Picture 7: Running to the Finish - Run for Heroes Half Marathon (Finish Time: 1:50:19)

What's funny - is the Run for Heroes got added to my schedule after I asked my trainer if there was anything wrong with doing two half-marathons in a month (I know...can you imagine my ever asking that kind of question?). After he said I'd be fine - I added this race.

Three weeks later, I did half-marathon #2 - the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon. The conditions were more challenging...with a downpour before the start and the fact my Garmin didn't work half of the race. Even still, I finished only a minute off my first half marathon time.

Picture 8: Sporting Garbage Bag Chic at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon Start Line

Picture 9: Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon - Nearing the end of the road...running up Bay Street (Finish Time: 1:51:21)

I also ran a couple of other races which I didn't get pics at...the Energizer Night Race 10k in September (Finish Time: 51:04 I think) and the Santa Shuffle 5k (23:16 unofficial time since there was no timing chip).

And back to the rest of the story...

...from the above, you can see that I really tried to live up to the Year of Endeavour...but focusing on fitness wasn't all I did during my year of Endeavour. I realized mid-way through the year that I wanted my life to have more balance. I wanted to be able to do what I was good at all the time, while also having time to train and do awesome things. To that end, over the summer. I also quit my well paying job to start my own company.

In September 2012, I formed Inspire Consulting - a company focused on strategy and communications consulting, stakeholder engagement, and freelance writing. For the past few months, I've started to build this company up, delivering my first projects and setting the groundwork for more in the New Year.

I never would've had the courage to go on my own without the proof that I could do anything. The proof that came from achieving my initial athletic goals (with results far better than I'd ever have expected). Remember my motto above? Anything is Possible.

It really, really is.

So, here I am at the end of 2012. I am not the same person I was in 2011, not by a long-shot. I found a new path hidden in the brush and veered off-road to see what's at the end of it.

Who knows how I will do, or what I will accomplish. I am sure I'll have challenges. The seas won't always be perfect. But you know what? Right now, right here - I wouldn't change a thing. Because I can tell you - the next year is bound to be more exciting than I ever dreamed. Heck, the rest of my life is bound to be more exciting.

So thank you to my Year of Endeavour - a year where I strived towards one of the noblest of goals - to change my life for the better. In striving toward this goal, I found a new passion for life and for adventure and for discovering what's possible.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

How long does it take to change your lifestyle?

I once read that it takes six months to change your lifestyle. As I reach the six month point since I made the choice to re-invent my health and fitness (my last big decision during the Year of Reinvention), I am contemplating how true that statement is.

I'm less stressed. I'm eating well. I'm in the best shape of my life (and just starting to realize how much farther I can go). I screwed up my knee and worked through it. I ran my first 10k. I learned how to do chin-ups. I'm looking forward to Spartan Race and the Loaring beginner triathlon (more firsts). I've decided to sign up for a half-marathon in October (it'll be almost a year by then after all).

More importantly, I'm starting to think about what I'll do next year and the year after that -- and I'm looking forward to proving to myself that I can.
Hmmm. Lifestyle change in six months....yes, I think you could say that.
2012 is the Year of Endeavour. I haven't said much about it here -- but the word endeavour means to strive toward a noble goal. While this year is primarily the impact of a decision I made last year -- the word still fits - more so than I ever imagined six months ago.
Endeavour -- it's about finding out what's possible. I expect to be doing that for years to come.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Looking back on the Year of Reinvention

The Year of Reinvention has gone out like a lion for sure, what with the three day a week personal training sessions intended to help me reinvent my health and wellness.

Overall, this was a year about finding out what is most important to me. I found out that while I loved my job, I loved my like better -- and needed to change my job to change my life. I found a job I like (with the same company) -- and was able to do more than in many of the years previous because of the change.

I flew to England, toured around and saw places straight out of the book I want to write this coming year. I sailed aboard the Stad Amsterdam to learn about how to sail a tall ship. I met wonderful friends, I shared adventures with many.

I helped my parents move out of my childhood home. It was sad to say good-bye, but I love their new house and it suits them. Together, we reinvented the holidays in a new home -- but with family, which is the most important. When I say I am going home -- I mean to them -- not to a place. I learned that.

I like to think I did good things for others this year as well -- to pay it forward. Not as much as I could probably do, but more than I've done in a while. This year was about more than me. The best part was finding the owner of a Metropass I found on the ground. I learned I can be industrious and imaginative when I try.

I could have written more -- but I actually wrote the most since my time in Hawaii -- so I think I did well. I needed to breathe first, before I could worry about telling stories. Now, I can do them both. It's a good feeling.

I don't know what the coming year will bring -- but I do know that I leave 2011 a better, more rounded person. I hope that's enough to carry me forward to another great year.

Here is hoping all of you have one too.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Busy Reinventing

Amazing how much can happen in a few weeks -- all because I decided that changing my job wasn't enough for the Year of Reinvention.

So, I hired a personal trainer. For the past 4 weeks, I've been meeting with him 3 times a week for 45 minute sessions. I've also been working on my own 3 other days of the week.

The progress I've made is noticeable. I feel more energized, I am stronger, and I am starting to gain a little bit of muscle. I wouldn't say I am "in shape" yet, but I am on the right path. My trainer has dared me to run in a 10 KM race in May (not really racing, just finishing) -- and at this rate, maybe I really can do it. I had my doubts 4 weeks ago.

I'm also eating better (I've brought my lunch almost every day for the past few weeks, I've been eating breakfast at home, and I've even used my stove). I'm not dieting, just eating more of the right food and less of the rest.

In terms of my writing world, my writing partner yelled at me for starting the new book without finishing and sending out the first -- so I've spent the time to rewrite my first few chapters, and done a final read through. Today it goes off to my final batch of test readers.

On that note, I've also redone my agent research since what I did a few years ago is wildly out of date. So, I now have a list of 20 or so agents to query.

I've also renamed the book (for now)....since Summer of Flight doesn't work for what the book is. The new title is "Whirlwind" -- but we'll see what the test readers think before the name gets locked in.

There's even been a hint of movement on the screenwriting side of my life. Someone actually asked about one of my scripts -- so there's going to be a bit of a meeting in January. Nothing formal, but there is potential there.

So, the Year of Reinvention is going to go out with a solid swell of reinvention and a lot of hope for the new year. I think I've chosen what next year will be, but there will be no telling until January 1st, just in case I change my mind!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Start of Something New

Yes indeed, today I wrote the first 1,136 words of my Napoleonic sea adventure set in a world of magic novel. I was pleasantly surprised with how easily it started out. Obviously going on the research trip in September (er, not to mention loving the thought of writing a sea adventure novel) helped tremendously.

I am sure the writing won't be this easy for long, so I plan to just enjoy it while I can. It's like I'm setting off on a grand adventure.

For future reference, the working title is "Call of the Sea".

It's obviously not long enough to snippet from yet -- but if progress goes well, I'll post a wee bit before Christmas.

Wish me clear sailing. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Second Small Birthday Snippet - the Scary One

Since I couldn't decide what snippet to post, here is the second one. It's from the scary story ... Everlasting.


Her name was lost when the stars were lost. When the shroud covered the sky with the screaming souls of the dead.

She is not who she was, but she remembers. She will always remember. Remember the city that was.


Approaching dusk brings waves of worker bees out of the skyscrapers, cascading toward the entrances of the subway and Union Station, stopping cars by their flood. They are a tide rippling out to the suburbs and back in. Out and in, out and in, out and in: an unending cycle -- or so she thinks.


It rises between one breath and the next, one blink and the next – unexpected, unknown. A translucent tapestry of grey and pink and white, it stretches over houses and buildings, part of the lake. It covers hospitals, theatres, parks. Queen’s Park.

No time to run, to scream, to weep; to see the sun, the sky or the stars one last time.

No time. Too much time.