Monday, September 23, 2013

Athletes- Encouragement needed...Sometimes I can't figure out how I am going to do this!

This was last nights course.  It was yesterday's exit criteria that we were going to get out to walk.  I probably could have done this easily had I stayed at home yesterday and just gone out for  a walk at some point but the kids were going to a Yachad programme in Toronto, we were late and then had to drive them to Uxbridge since we missed the bus.

That was an extra hour out and back that we lost.  Anyways, eventually we went out for a walk at around 10pm.  It was good in the beginning but after the first mile or so, my shins started to ache and as we approached the 30 minute mark, we decided to cut the walk short because I stumbled and twisted my foot and Marc had a headache (he was such a good sport to come at all) and I just lost all desire to be out there.

After not walking from Thursday (which was that kick ass walk off road) to Sunday, I thought for sure my shins would not bother me.  I dislike having the feeling of three steps forward, two steps back, or in this case, four steps back so often.  I am not sure what do do about it.

The weather has been awesome for walking and to boot, I know my heart rate has been affected positively by the extra exercise, because I just feel it, or don't as the case may be, but honestly, I am so frustrated that every time I feel like I accomplished something big, or new it seems to set me back.

How do Athletes deal with that?  I am assuming it happens to more than just me.
Don't get me wrong, I will keep pushing through, even though I feel sort of dejected right now, because I have goals, but I like feeling happy about this process.  Pollyanna, even.  Having days like yesterday make me feel like I must seriously be insane to be doing this.  Feedback welcome!

Why was I inspired to do this?! How Autism Spectrum Disorder came into our lives. Part One.

I am frequently being asked why I was inspired to do this.  So let me tell you our story.

My son, who has given me permission to talk about this, was born, a perfect, blonde haired, blue eyed, baby in April of 1996.  He was so gorgeous and so snuggly, and we just adored every thing he did. Maternity Leave was hands down my favourite part of my career.

He hit milestones normally.  crawling backwards and then forward at five months, first word at 9 months (Cat!) and first sentence at 18 months.  He was not particularly conversational but he always seemed to be able to convey his needs and wants to us.  Looking back, I remember going to City Line (the TV show ) when he was 4 months old and having to sit in the green room for the whole show because every time they audience clapped, the baby screamed like crazy, but at the time, it didn't mean much but that he was sensitive to noise.  It was the only thing when he was a baby, looking back ,that seemed like a hint of what was to come.

When he was about 2 .5, someone commented to me that he did not speak much.  I didn't think much of it but did sort of file it away.

When he was 2 3/4 we had a confluence of events that convinced us to pursue whether there was anything going on developmentally with him.  We went to Doctor after Doctor and got some seriously weird answers and feedback.  My own childhood Pediatrician was the only one who saw what I was talking about and since at age 90, he wasn't fully practicing any more, he sent me to his partner who told me to come back when he was six, because it was clear he had adhd and that I had poor impulse control, thus must be a bad mother with no discipline.  He actually told me to start spanking my son!  In the mean time, I viewed discipline, not as punishment but as the boundaries  and framework in which we live, and was not in any way, shape or form, lax about behaviour.  Frustrated sometimes, when it seemed like what I was doing wasn't working, but never lax.

Eventually we were referred to McMaster's Child and Family service.  I remember the screening call, where they kept asking me questions and I kept saying, 'yes he does that but I know something is up here.'  I was afraid that they would not let me have an appointment for diagnosis if they thought he was totally developmentally on schedule.

Two weeks before I was due with my second child, we went to Chedoke and had a visit that lasted two hours with a leading developmental pediatrician, Dr, Zwaigenbaum.  The Doctor was very clear that our son had a definitive diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder - Not otherwise specified.  It was not all out Autism, it was not Aspbergers, it was ASD-NOS.  He was 3 years and 4 months old.

I was so thrown- hormonal no doubt too- I was numb.  My 'perfect' baby was wired differently than we expected.  everything was so up in the air.  Would he have a future?  Would he get married?  Would he be able to go to post secondary school and support himself as an adult?

Those were black days, no doubt made much worse by my impending birth.  I was so numb, I could not think straight.

Thankfully, Chedoke had some support for parents in the form of lectures and workshops.  We were connected with a speech pathologist and a behaviour therapist, ot, pt etc.  I tried to swallow my numbness  by learning what I needed to know, and thankfully, taking action helped.

To be continued.....

Saturday, September 21, 2013

What goes down, must come up, part two!

This past Thursday, Marc and I headed out for a walk on the first day of sukkot afternoon.  We headed up to Caleb's Walk and the Ravine Road behind the Aviary in Westdale and back again.  I am not 100% sure how long this walk was because I did not use my GPS watch as it was Yom Tov.

The last time I did this trail, Max was like 5 years old and I was thinking  - so how hard could it be?  Of course, what I did not think about was that in fact, I was walking with a group of five year olds and Moms and dogs the last time I did this walk , so it was, of course, no big deal. I kept thinking 'so how hard could it be?' 

Anyways, the hill down at the beginning of the trail is quite steep.  As soon as I saw it, I was like 'oy, what goes down, must come up again!' This time, though, it was not quite as frightening as Earl Bales Park a few weeks ago.  So we continued walking and there are some off trail parts, again, nothing a 5 year old can't handle with some guidance, but I kept thinking about how on earth you could even do this with a 5 year old and then realized when I did it with little people, I did not do it at the pace we walk at to train for this half marathon!

At one point, I said to Marc 'when we get done this trail, we are just going to head home- it's enough for today' and then, I don't know what possessed me, but when we got up to the other side of that part of the trail, I was like, lets turn around and go back and do it again, and so we did.

As near as I can tell, from our house to the trail, around the trail (which is not on google maps in it's entirety because the off trail stuff is not on Maps) and back to our house is around 4.7 km.  I am not sure exactly how long the off road loop is but we did that part twice, so I think it was a pretty good walk.  We were gone for about 75 minutes altogether.

And, I walked up that grade we came down to get into the trail.  I don't know where the lack of fear to do it again came from.  All the sudden, I just knew I could do it.  Even though it was off road.  Even though the hills were sort of intense.  Even though I weigh a lot and a couple of months ago, would never have dreamed that this was actually going to be fun and exciting and something i would actually look forward to doing.

We did not get out to walk again, since Friday we needed to get our Shabbat food taken care of and we ran out of time, but I am looking forward to tomorrow and whatever adventure it holds.  On the physical side of things, this more intense walk did not make me particularly sore and I have noticed that in fact, my being out of breath is lasting far less time when the activity ceases than it used to.  It's really pretty awesome how quickly i am seeing improvements!

I really want to get back out to that trail tomorrow so that I can wear my GPS watch and see exactly how far it was  and what the elevation changes actually were.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Equipment.....What I am learning...

When I started this whole thing, I was pretty happy to learn that my Keen sandals were comfortable to walk in and while I recognize that at some point I will need to get proper walking shoes, equipment really had not occurred to me.

This week, I made a point of going to shop for some items that I felt would be helpful after a month or two of this whole training thing.

I went to the Mountain Equipment Coop.  Mainly because they proudly stock Israeli items, including 'The Source' Hydration solutions and also because their customer service has always been excellent and I knew I would be able to ask questions.

First, I went to find a hydration pack.  Both of my kids have no idea what happened to theirs from Israel last year and honestly it is so annoying to carry a water bottle or even strap one on  and have it banging about on my back.

I was able to pick up an inexpensive Jansport back pack that is super light and has the ability to hold the hydration bladder.  Then I picked up a 2 L bladder.

I was able to find some wicking t shirts with the help of a lovely staff member who was so patient...

Which brings to mind another thing.  I always feel like people are going to laugh at me because I am almost 300 pounds and even standing in the running section of a store, but no, you know, to a one, every single person I have told has been supportive!  I feel like an idiot but they don't think I am an idiot!  Its really a lesson for me...

Anyways, between the wicking shirts, the pants i bought a couple of weeks ago (also wicking from Penningtons) and the Hydration pack, I was also motivated to buy a gps watch.  It is actually quite a lot easier than the iphone gps thing i was doing and unless I am listening to music or an audiobook, I can leave the phone at home.  Tonight was super comfortable !

I forgot, I also went swimming at noon today for around a half hour.

I am about to pass out, I am so tired but I wanted to just say that I am so loving all aspects of this training and the learning process is one which seriously is kind of shocking in how intense lessns of all kinds have been.

I must go to sleep,  i don't even think i am making sense!

Me, and Inspiration! Me AN Inspiration?!?!

At some point in the past few weeks, I discovered something new.  I thought that the reaction to me 'coming out' as being in training for a Marathon would earn me laughs, derision, cautions and other unsolicited advice from those who took one look at my 45 year old age, my 290 ish pound weight and the fact that my weight sits on a five foot two frame, and decided that I should not be doing what I was doing.

Mind you, I already had decided that I was insane, so admonitions that I was crazy would have been fine!

You know, aside from one Doctor, who is a fitness freak and who knows his stuff (and who gently suggested that getting to this age at this weight on my short frame without chronic knee and hip issues was a miracle and to PLEASE listen to my body and not create those issues) the reaction has been admiration, moral support, offers to walk with me for practice and most importantly, something I did not anticipate.  People are telling me that 'I' am motivating them!

Now, I don't think I need to tell you that me being a motivator for someone else to get to the gym is really not something that has happened a whole lot in my life.  Sincerely, I have inspired people to swim better (hell, that happens every time I go swimming and someone asks me to correct their strokes!) and cook better, but never once have I inspired others to work out.  Its almost comical when you look at it.


The thing is that in fact, on some level, there must be something in people that is saying 'Wow, if she can do it, I can do it' and honestly, it is insanely morally supportive to hear that!  It's not so much ego as it is further accountability for me.  Knowing that if I were to decide to ditch practice for no reason or something then I would not just be letting myself down, but also some people who found my having set this goal for myself inspiring.  Don't worry Doc, I will still listen to my body.  No Zumba for me, for example, because it HURTS my hips!

So, let me just repeat this, because these three things, are my goals for doing this.

1)  I just want to finish.  I don't care if everyone goes home before I get to the finish line, I just want to finish.

2)  I want to raise consciousness about Yachad.  I want people to click on the Yachad link and learn about Yachad and what it is, who can be involved (not just people with disabilities!) and make sure that word gets out there so that people who need Yachad will know about it and people who want to participate in Yachad will be there so that they can participate.

3)  I  want to raise money for Yachad.  My goal is $3000.  I hope to get there, but if not, I am happy to contribute what I can.  I sort of figure that the more I help to raise Yachad's profile, the more money will be raised over the years.

So, here's where I need your help.  I want to find ways to create knowledge of what I am doing publically.   I would appreciate referrals to health oriented media, be they Jewish, not Jewish, magazine, radio, TV, internet.  Introductions to those who might be willing to help me achieve my goals of raising profile and raising money.  Or, introductions to people or entities that might like to donate to Yachad or provide corporate sponsorships.

I think that we have all the makings of an interesting story here.  An amazing organization, a protagonist who is a most unlikely participant in a marathon of any description, at any pace, and in addition, someone who is willing to share their story and their learning process with the public, despite an embarassing bodyweight and a history of not being fit.  If you personally have been inspired by me, your assistance in letting other people know about my blog and runner's page would be much appreciated as well.

I will say that it is NOT my goal to lose weight.  I intend to be fit and if weight loss is a side effect, fabulous.  i will NOT yoyo with my weight anymore.  Every time I lose significant amounts of weight, I pretty much have to obsess 24/7 about it and I become a terrible friend, mother, daughter, wife and participant in life.  So essentially this story will likely continue to be about a nearly 300 pound 45 year old woman who achieved walking a half marathong and who is actually considering doing another one a month later in Jerusalem if all goes well.  And maybe next year a whole one if they would let me walk it.

So, thats what I am looking for in all of this.  I will do my part.  I will get out the door and practice and cross train.  I will show up and do my best.  Please share my blog, connect me to anyone you think might be interested, either personally, or in a way that can aid me in accomplishing my three goals!

Lets do as Yachad does, and leave no one behind!  There is something here for everyone!

And I need a slogan.  Any ideas?

My runner profile for donations can be found at

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How to handle training in a week like this....

So, I have not had one minute to blog between Rosh Hashana and then my Auntie Marcia died, and I had a LOT of work this week.  I think the last time I blogged was after my 6.5 km walk.  My next walk was on Thursday afternoon, on the first day of Rosh Hashana.

I was all excited and ready to go but OH MY GOD, MY SHINS AND BACK!  We still did our half hour walk out and back but holy cow I had to stop every couple of blocks.  I think its time to take stretching very seriously and also I just want to say I found it weird that I was not sore after the long walk, but I can't help but wonder if maybe that day was fallout from the aftermath.  We still did 2.1 km out and back another (assuming that much back) but I am actually amazed that that was the case.  I was miserable.  I thought if my first walk had been like that there never would have been a second.

So then on Friday we walked to and from our friends at lunch. That was just a km each way, but I was still feeling it in my shins. For some reason the pic shows the shorter walk and I could not seem to get the screen shot right but we did the route that is 1 km.

Shabbat we missed because we knew Aunty Marcia was sick and when my parents didn't show for lunch, we didnt want to miss them when they came.

Sunday, I shopped for the funeral and then made dinner for 20 and after went to work until midnight on the funeral.  I worked a 16 hour day Monday and then a 12 hour day Tuesday and I  am in the middle of at least one more ten or more hour day.  I feel like I got hit by a bus.  My feet are killing me although thank god my back is not.

I don't think working out in these circumstances is an intelligent thing to do, so I won't be but I am comforted by the fact that I also am the very opposite of sedentary.  Very Opposite.  I actually really need to get  back to work so I am going to cut off here but I really just wanted to get caught up before I lost my thoughts on that one painful walk.

I do notice however that my heart rate and breathing are slowing down even in normal activity.  I really am trying hard to work at a higher heart rate while trying not to injure my short fat body.  The last thing I need is knee or hip problems where there were none before....

Gmar Chatimah tova and may we always and only hear good news!

Monday, September 2, 2013


Today, we went to the Science Centre in Toronto and grabbed some food for a picnic since the weather turned from yuck to amazing during the time we were there!  We headed up to Earl Bales park in North York, parked the car, ate and then Marc and I went for a walk while the kids hung out.  We decided to walk for thirty minutes out and then we would be walking for an hour so thirty minutes back. 

Neither of us are particularly familiar with Earl Bales, so we started walking and about a kilometre in, we realized that the road took a crazy down and it was about a 45 degree angle. My heart sunk and honest to god, I have no idea where the bravery came from at all!  Marc was like 'Are you sure?" and I was like 'what the hell'.  Meanwhile, I think the last time I walked down a hill that steep was the snake path down Masada.  Each step brought a special sense of forboding, knowing that we were going to turn around and come back the exact same way.  We  walked for thirty minutes once we hit bottom and the lowest point was 140 meters above sea level.  The place we started from was, as you see above, at 177 meters above sea level. Most of those thirty seven meters were on that hill I referenced, and while I did not take a measurement for exactly how long the hill was, At that angle, it was not very long.

So I took the hill easier than the rest of the walk and made it up, wheezing and all.  One of these days I will remember  my ventolin before i go walking!  In total, we walked 6.43 Km in 1:03 or so.  Not at all bad.  6 k an hour.  That means the half marathon will be somewhere around 3.5 hours at this pace.

I was dead tired when we got back to the car, but by the time we hit the 401, I was actually feeling pretty good and like I could have done more.  Which is a damn good thing because I have to be able to walk at least 3.5 times that for the race!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Route from yesterday, August 31, 2013I could not take my GPS but yay google maps!

I just checked on my route from yesterday.  2.4 km each way for a total of 4.8 km!  I also noticed that on the google walking instructions, it seems that the times they alot for how far we walked were just about right!  I guess I am not actually a whole lot slower than your average person.  so 4.8 km = 2.18 miles.