it’s all about the shoes

I started this running program to “earn” a pair of shoes. But after having someone who is an actual runner point out the beat up runners I’ve been using weigh about 15lbs each, I bought new shoes.


Fancy-schmansy, light-weight runners that the sales guy said would make me run super fast.

It didn’t, of course, but it was nice to have new shoes.  And I actually ran farther and faster than I have yet – 3.3 km that added to the walking, made a total of 4.3km – closer and closer to my 5km goal! And those other shoes.

It’s been a long, hot summer and I’ve spent 3 months going from trying not to puke after jogging 90 seconds to running over 3km in one go.   And although I spent a lot of time writing about the Vogs, the real motivation was to be able to do something different. Something I didn’t think I could.  Something that made me channel all the stubbornness into one goal.

I found the log books from when I went to Weight Watchers while in University – over 20 years ago.  The good news is I weigh about the same as when I was in University.  The bad news is it was enough to send me to Weight Watchers. Now I’ve lost lots of pounds with this program, but 20 years later, I’m back where I began.  So this time, I thought instead of paying $20 a week to a company that makes millions from people just like me, I could spend the same amount on shoes.  Beautiful shoes. Good shoes that will last if not 20 years, at least longer than the temporary gain (or rather loss) that might see me looking back at the log books 20 years from now. And a sense of accomplishment of doing something I didn’t think I ever would even attempt.

My beloved, the one who encouraged me to start this in the first place cracked 5 km last week. I’ve started week 8 of a 9 week program.  The summer of running is coming to a close.  I will wear my new runners with pride, and soon I will wear that other pair.

It will be a much nicer picture!





some weeks are just do-overs

I just finished week 7 of the the couch to 5K program, and it was the hardest one yet. 5 minute walking warm up…run 25 minutes…5 minute cool down.

dooverI really tried.  I planned routes with few hills.  I started walking at the top of the big hill at the beginning. I put all the best music on the play list.  The weather even cooperated and cooled off a bit.

But each time, when I got to the 15 minute mark, I just couldn’t do it – I needed to walk for a couple of minutes, before I could go on.

On the plus side, I did crack the 3k mark – as in I ran 3 whole kilometres!  However…

So I’ve decided I need to just do this week over.  Repeat the 3-25 minute runs until I can get past that 15 minute block. Maybe I’ll switch up the route, too and try a different neighbourhood.

Well, at least I managed  7 weeks before hitting the wall.  And I’m still on track to debut those beautiful shoes in September.

Week 7, here I come. Again.

2.5 K

I just finished week 6 of the 9 week couch to 5k program and I actually ran 2.55K. I’ve hit the part of the program where you don’t have any more walking intervals – it’s just “go out for a 22 minute run”, which I’m not so sure I like.

I didn’t want to run at all today.  We just got back from 2 weeks holiday.  We brought our running shoes etc. with us and while up north were faithfully jogging – especially when friends who can actually run 5K came and joined us. That was fun because for a while I was in the front of the group – because the others had looped back since they all run much faster than I ever will and instead of abandoning me, ran a few circles.  But it was enough for me. Plus we all went for a swim in the lake to cool off, which is so much nicer than just a shower at home.

Then we were kind of prisoners at summer camp for a week.  Not actual prisoners, but there was intense negotiation with the 21 year old director when we needed to go off-site to buy diapers for our littlest one. I didn’t want to explain the importance of Fluevogs to him.

So we had a week off from running and I had this “go for a 22 minute run” day today and I really didn’t feel like going for an any minute run, but it was cooler this morning than it has been in weeks, and I knew that if I didn’t go today, it would be even harder to convince myself tomorrow…so off I went.

It started out rough.  I didn’t think I’d last the first 5 minutes and had to do some serious visualization of exactly what outfit I would would wear for the ‘Vogs debut…and there was that minute or so of walking at the 13 minute mark when I hit yet another really big hill…


…but then it was over.  All done. I even ran for a minute of the cool down to make up for the walking.

The app doesn’t tell you how far or fast you’ve run until the end, so I was thrilled to see it was 2.55K. Half way.

I’m just not sure if I get to wear the shoes when I complete the program or if I actually have to run 5k. I’ll make that decision when I see how far I’ve gone at the end of the 9 weeks.  Next micro-goal is 3K.


Week 5, day 3…

I ran for 20 minutes in a row on Friday.  Without stopping. And yes, that was me yelling “thank-you Jesus” out loud when the drill sergeant (avatar on the app) said it was over and I could walk.

Now, my “running” pace was slightly faster than most people’s normal walking pace, and the pre-loaded fitness app on my phone didn’t even register any running minutes…but it did record 25 minutes of walking.

Oh, and my beloved left me behind in the dust about 6 minutes in. It was our first chance to run “together” because grandma and various relatives were looking after the kidlets.  I could see her, way off in the distance, so that’s a kind of together.

But I did it. 20 minutes. In a row. And had enough energy after a few minutes of the walking cool down to dance a little to Shakira.

Shouldn’t there be someone popping a champagne cork or something about now?




“I’m too hot (hot damn) make a dragon want to retire, man!

Special thanks to everyone for the play list suggestions!  Music is what keeps me going, especially as the running intervals are getting longer.   There were lots of great suggestions, but it was Uptown Funk that got me moving.  I watched the video before downloading the song, and it is so much fun.

I have been known to (often) dance and sing along to music – even when not wearing headphones or safely in my car or shower.  I can’t actually sing while jogging, but I do have a vivid imagination, so I like to pretend that I don’t have the moves a middle aged ,( little less) out of shape white woman, but somewhere in there is an inner bit of a culture who can dance.  Like my hips move not – well, like a middle aged white woman.  Basically, I pretty much think that I move much more like this:

Uptown Funk

Thank like this:



So half way through my run, I’m panting down Bathurst Street (a major artery in Toronto), kind of singing along to Uptown Funk, and sashaying a little here and there, with a huge cheesy grin on my face.

I may have looked silly, but it was a lot of fun!

Next run is the big 20 minutes with no walking intervals.  I’ll be doing it in Blind River and hoping I don’t run into the wildlife a friend has talked about seeing.

I think I’ll have Uptown Funk on repeat the whole time.

If you want a smile for the day, watch the video:

Uptown Funk

I watched it with C and R – who loved it.  But C wanted to know why he kept singing “woo ooo” when the women walked by.  I told her he really liked their shoes….




Jog for Vogs update Week 5 has begun!

I just finished week 5 day 1. 3 sets of 5 minutes of running, separated by 3 minutes of walking. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

I’ve been running inside on the track at the YMCA because it’s stupid-hot here.  One of the drawbacks of this plan is the tracking doesn’t work on the app.  Instead of a lovely little blue line drawn on the map of my neighbourhood along the lines of the roads I’ve jogged along, it looks more like my 2 year old took a blue crayon and scribbled her little heart out. It doesn’t give me the distance or the time.  I tried counting the number of laps because the Y has thoughtfully posted saying 10 laps = 1 KM, but it’s hard to count and pant a the same time…So I’m not sure exactly how far I can jog in one session, but last outdoor session (week 4 day 3) was oh-so-close to 2km.

I was feeling it was getting off a little easy until I ran outside on Saturday and realized that although there are no uphills on the track, there are no downhills either.  And I had done a very good job of planning my route so all the big runs were – yup, going downhill!

I’ve also discovered the miracle of coconut water.


I usually get a migraine headache after any kind of exercise (no matter how wimpy or energetic), which I have some great pills for. Running 3x week meant a lot of pills. But I tried drinking coconut water after a run, and it worked! No headache!  So I tried again – and it worked again.  I was never a huge fan before.  I don’t hate coconut but it’s not
my first choice – but am a serious fan now.  Something in it is keeping the pain away.

If only it worked for my knees.

I’m looking for new music – it’s crucial to my motivation. My play list is called Run, KB, Run, and it’s still pretty good, but I need to find a few new pieces to put in the motivation mix.Modest Mouse and Linkin Park are the best so far (I save them for the end of the long runs…like 5 minutes long…).  I like a good driving drum beat.

I’m pretty proud of myself for sticking to this.  I still can’t say I love it, but I enjoy working through the different levels.

I also took the shoes out yesterday to show someone and remind myself they are so very, very lovely.  At this rate, I’ll be able to debut them in September.



Skipping Church

Every so often I get a Sunday or two off from leading worship.  Because I’m a church geek I used to go to other churches on these Sundays, but since having kids it’s not really feasible (unless I want to spend my time in the nursery and/or Sunday School with my children who don’t necessarily want to be left with strangers).

Now on my Sundays off, I realize what I’m up against trying to get families to come to church.  And am very grateful that the families who come actually make it!

Two weeks ago,  we held C’s “half” birthday party (because we didn’t get our act together and have her party in January when her actual birthday is). On a Sunday morning.  In Dufferin Grove Park.  It was a lot of fun – and there was the splash pad and playground to help with kid entertainment.

Not far from our group of happy preschoolers was a large group of people who gathered to practice yoga.  I watched them a little and thought – I would love to be practicing Yoga in the park on a Sunday morning.  Which made me start thinking about what I usually do on Sunday morning and how it doesn’t feel nearly a soul-feeding as Yoga in the park. Or Church on Tap. Or some of the other alternative ways of worshipping. Which as a worship  leader, a church geek, a lover of good liturgy, is very sad. Very frustrating. Maybe hypocritical?

I’m not in a position in this church to change our worship liturgy – but even if I was, I don’t know that it would be appreciated.  People come for the familiar.  I’ve tried “alternative” kinds of worship which has drawn – well far too few people to try again.

So for now, I’ll enjoy the great liturgy and worship that other folks have created (and maybe drag a few likely congregants along too?) and enjoy the opportunities that I have to spend more time having parties in the park with my darling little girls.  And listen for the opportunities to make space and create the experiences that feed my soul and connect me with the Divine.  And that will have to be enough.


Is it cheating?

It’s hot here in southern Ontario – +38 degrees with the humidex. Forget about frying an egg on the sidewalk, you can probably roast the whole chicken.

Not the kind of weather for jogging – even if it’s only for 3 whole minutes at a time. But if I skip too many days then I’ll have to go back a week or two and then I won’t want to keep going and those lovely shoes will sit in the cupboard…

So I went to the Y.  To jog around the track.  But is it cheating? Instead of running up and down the hills in our neighbourhood – like the day I managed to find the route that had me going uphill every time I had a run segment – it was a nice, flat track. In an air-conditioned room. Kind of feels like cheating.

But it was hard!  I’m only on week 3 so running for 3 whole minutes is hard.  And the track is upstairs around the weight room – which instead of the Portuguese grandmas I usually see at the Y during the day, was filled with very fit people doing intense workouts.

When I started this program, I spent the first few runs trying to plan routes that avoided people I knew in the neighbourhood (didn’t work, actually ran into the husband of the neighbour who runs all the time. For fun, not shoes).  I’m kind of self-conscious about how jiggly and huffing and puffing I look.

Kinda like this.


At least that’s how I feel!

So, while running around the track at the gym with all the super fit people working out, I decided to pretend I actually look more  like this:


It helps to have an active imagination. And there were no mirrors visible from the running track.

I’ve decided it’s not cheating. At least I ran. Week 4 might be killer when I get back to those hills, though.



Transitions – or why day camp is a big deal

My eldest child went to summer day camp today.

Up until last week, she was in daycare – she’s only just 4 1/2 so not in Kindergarten yet.  That begins in September. We thought that summer day camp would help ease the transition from 3 days a week in daycare where they provide lunch and help in the bathroom to school, to where all of a sudden come September these little ones are supposed to be big boys and girls.

And I’m not prepared for this.  We had her in this lovely cocoon of a daycare – Waldorf if you know what that is.  However, we don’t have private school salaries, so she goes to the local school in the fall.  Which is a great school in a lovely neighbourhood with the children of people we really like.

But there is something big about moving from the place that I took her three days a week for three years of her life to this new school.  Not that it was all unicorns and sunshine at the daycare – at the beginning when I left her in the classroom she would be crying and I would be crying and I would call B from the car to tell her all about the crying.  It was hard to trust my beautiful, vulnerable baby to someone else to care for.  School, though, school is bigger.  More permanent.  A serious step away from the cocoon into real life. All of a sudden we have to pay attention to the school day for drop off and pick up, for holiday plans and dentist appointments.

Last night we made her lunch for the day together – and it was lovely.  Choosing the food she would eat, helping her learn to peel the carrots and decide if the ham would be cubed or rolled in little tubes, washing the cherries.  We packed quite a lot of food, but still I worry – will it be enough?  Will she like the little muffins I made? Will she be hungry or bring most of it back?  Will she be ok?

My baby, my first born, is one little step closer to being her own strong, independent soul in the world, which is my job to help her be.  But my momma heart is breaking as my little chick takes a few steps out on that limb toward where she doesn’t really need me anymore.

But today, when she comes home from this grand adventure, there will still be snuggles and cuddles and how was your day, because for now we are still the safety of the nest she needs.  Today I can still make everything better with a kiss and story time is the highlight of the day.  And so I will try to stay present in today.


Finding the right Motivation

Or, why the right shoes really matter when learning how to jog.

I don’t run.  I have never enjoyed running.  I avoided any and all sports that included running. It made me angry, and I’m convinced I look pretty ridiculous.

However. God has a twisted sense of humour.

My beloved, B, has jogged off and on for years.  She actually played sports at a provincial level that involved running. Recently she took it up again.   I looked at the closet of nice clothes that are just that wee bit too small and have been for the past 3 summers (maybe more)?  So when B asked me if I wanted to try out the “Couch to 5km” program she’s been doing, I thought, why not.  Might as well try something different. Convinced that I would try it once and remember why I dislike it.

But then I found the right motivation.


Fluevog shoes. Expensive, made in Portugal, Canadian designed shoes.

Originally I had my heart set on these: called Kitschy  Kitschy Boom Boom Liz.


But when they went on sale, I went into the store and try them on…and they didn’t fit. I’ve had foot issues for years now, which means cute shoes are hard to find.

Which is heart breaking. As a “plus sized” girl long before there were cute, affordable plus sized clothes, shoes were the one thing that always fit. Sure, size 10 was hard to come by, but I could always be sure of finding something that was hip or cute or fitting the mood or style of the moment.  Until my feet changed.

I sat in the Fluevog store, trying not to cry while this hip, young, pierced and tattooed man tried to bring me other shoes that might work. And I had to explain to him that although I came in wearing Birkenstocks, please don’t judge me by that. Nothing black or boring or orthotic looking.

Because, these were the motivation to jog. If I complete the couch to 5km program (or lose 20lbs, which ever comes first), I was going to buy and wear a pair of ridiculously expensive, seriously cute, well made and beautiful shoes.  But I couldn’t find any that fit my now slightly deformed feet, so all that hope and motivation and joy about earning lovely shoes was slipping away.

And bless that pierced, tattooed, seriously hip young man’s heart, he kept trying. The last pair he brought me were the ones. The final selling point (other than they fit – with a little stretching yet to come) was the sole.

shoe soul

The text reads “HEY MINSTREL – Your Love Makes Me Sing! Arise! Come! My Darling My Beautiful One, Come With Me”.

So, you see, the right shoes are very important when jogging. Because in a few more weeks, when I huff and puff my way through 5km, I will put on these beautiful, expensive shoes and strut with pride as far as my exhausted legs will take me. Knowing that I earned them.