The Road of Discomfort

In my last post, I talked about my quest to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

This week has carried with it a whole lot of uncomfortable. From long runs along golden fields of canola to finding my voice when I normally keep silent. I tackled tasks I have put off because of the pain involved within remembering a life that was. I opted to sit in the pain and work through it.

The day after I decided to embrace uncomfortable, I set out on a run. I have focussed on strength training lately and not cardio, so I decided this week I would focus on cardio (which I find to be very uncomfortable). Given my long break from steady state cardio and an old IT Band injury, as I laced up my runners I thought to myself: “I bet I can’t run 10K anymore”.  Immediately I was annoyed with myself as I knew I had to do it.

Now, the only way to ensure you will run 10K, is to run 5K away. You have no choice but to run back. 😉  I decided to take an unfamiliar route and seek solace within the childhood memories of gravel roads, fields of gold, and the quiet of the country.

So I set out on the road of discomfort with motivational speeches setting my pace. Click here if you are interested in some motivation for your day.

The first 5K was no big thing but a chicken wing. It was on kilometre 7 when the familiar IT Band ache set in. It was +30 and I could see round balls of bugs hovering in the heat wave of dust over the road. But still, there was no turning back, either way I had to get home. I decided to just slow down to a walk when I needed to and to take that time to think about my goals. What are the facets of my life that are holding me back from reaching them?

In those last 3 KM’s I found more clarity than in recent memory. I was (and am) the only thing that will prevent me from reaching my goals. Change is required within the mind before it translates to action.

It’s time to go to work.

Leave the past behind with the respect it deserves, and focus on rebuilding my authentic life.

I will use this precious gift of time wisely and to my advantage.

I will focus on the good, the positive, the uplifting.  Faith.

The only thing within my control is my attitude and perceptions. My perception is in fact my reality.

I choose to look at my bad days as a chance to build character and live within grace and gratitude.

I choose to move forward down this road of discomfort with courage, perseverance, and unyielding tenacity.

I will use my God-given abilities for good with the respect of my purpose on this beautiful earth.

I will let go of control where there is none.

It’s funny how uncomfortable can manifest beautiful certainty. I will remember that run for all of my days. It may have been slow going, but I did it!

I learned more about the strength of my spirit in that one hour than I have in months. What a gift, and one that I wouldn’t have experienced had I not taken the road of discomfort.


When you find yourself at a cross-road, I urge you to take the more challenging route. You never know what you’ll discover.

From my heart to yours,


Self-Efficacy: The Power of Beliefs

I went for an outside run the other day, my first outside run of Spring. We’ve had an extremely long winter here in Alberta, and I just couldn’t will myself to dodge ice and puddles so I opted for a winter of stationary cycling to nowhere. As I was running, the banter within my head started taking over with each stride. “I’ve taken too much time off, my pace is much slower now.” and “I bet I look like Phoebe from Friends when I run.”

As my unproductive self talk skipped like a broken record in my head, I found myself wanting to turn around and go home. I recognized this pattern of discouraging thinking from years of practice. These are the thoughts that give me an excuse to slip back into old behaviours that produce little action. The old version of me who was happy to sit on the sidelines of life and doubted I could be an active person, so I didn’t even try.

I realized this “not trying” thing, is something I’ve done for a large part of my adult life. Dreams are just dreams, because of my fear of failure.

And then out of nowhere, one powerful confident thought popped into my head. “You don’t live there anymore.”

It took me off guard…where did that come from?!

“Those old beliefs no longer serve you. Let them go. Keep calm and run. No matter how slow your pace is now,  you are trying. You’re doing.”

And with that, I kept on running further than I have every ran before. I had some time to think about it when my run was over, and I realized there is always a payoff when living within behaviours that are destructive. So what exactly is the payoff to living a complacent life void of action?  It’s safe within my comfort zone. There’s no failure there, because there’s no trying. Hmmmmm, interesting. And then I thought about the payoff within active living. There’s so many positives, it makes me feel ridiculous for comparing the two.

I don’t live there anymore.

Recently, I decided to pursue a 10 yr dream of getting my Personal Training Certification. I’m half way there. Out of all the information I’ve read through in the text-book, the one term that has stuck with me most is this: “Self-Efficacy

Wikipedia’s definition: “Self-efficacy is the extent or strength of one’s belief in one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals.”

The strength within a personal belief  in one’s ability is a key factor to successfully reaching a goal.

There is both power and destruction within our beliefs.

Self-Efficacy is so interesting to me, as I realized I have the power to mould my actions through my beliefs. I thought back to where I was at the start of this journey, and I truly believed I couldn’t do it. The end goal was too big. How was I going to lose close to 100 pounds?! I believed I was weak, void of will-power, with little motivation. At some point, you just have to dive into a goal and push the negative beliefs to the side. What made me dive in? One tiny little positive thought: “Start small”

I will never forget my first attempt at jogging. I drove to the Vermilion Provincial Park, put on a brand new pair of Nikes, and started walking. I told myself I would walk for 20 minutes, and jog for part of it. I jogged for increments of 20 seconds. I felt both freedom and discouragement within that first walk/jog.

Do it again.

And so that began my journey with exercise. As I successfully reached each small goal, my beliefs turned from “I can’t” to “I think I can” to “I know I can” to “what goal is next?”.

I realized the importance of music to set pace and cope with feelings that I didn’t want to deal with. I ran to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” when I coped with a miscarriage.

And I ran to Metallica’s “Don’t Tread on Me” when I was frustrated…

And a whole lot of Stevie Nicks when I was feeling nostalgic…

Over the years, my music choices have changed as I’ve grown and learned to embrace life with a lot more positivity. 😉 I’m more apt to choose Top 40 now, as long as it pushes me on.  I love the 8tracks app on my iPhone. Check it out:

I know I have the ability to shape my actions now. I just need to believe I can do it. And just so you know, you can do it too. Your beliefs hold the power.

Here’s an interesting read on enhancing self-efficacy: 

From my heart to yours,



I have always wanted to learn how to meditate, however my mind is always going…thinking, thinking, thinking.  The days are so busy, how am I going to etch out some time to be silent in the middle of hectic?  Take today for example (and as I write this it’s not quite 2 p.m.)

I woke up this morning to my hubby whispering good-bye in my ear. The room was still dark, must have been really early.  The night before we had joked that I never say anything back to him when he says his daily good-byes. In my morning slumber, I believe I do so this morning I make sure I repeat everything he said to me…attempting to say it at the exact same time. We laughed and I went back to sleep. I was awoken thirty minutes later to the sounds of my dog Teddy frantically barking as my son was playing with him in the living room. My daughter soon joined in, and within a few minutes there was the familiar song of sibling rivalry going on. Wiping sleep from my eyes, I dragged my weary legs to the kitchen to make breakfast for all three kids.  They know not to talk to me first thing in the morning, they know to give me at least 10 minutes before any demands are made. Robotically, I spread peanut butter and jam on their toast. I make coffee. I need coffee.

The pace turned hectic as we rushed to get out the door for school.  Homework to be found, socks to be matched, clothes and hair to be fixed.  “Mom I can only find one mitt, oh and sign this sheet, also I need 2 cups of chocolate covered raisins by tomorrow for a cooking project.” my son yells to me.  I think to myself:  “Who cooks with chocolate covered raisins and Why don’t I get my act together and have everything organized the night before?”.  One would think that would make life easier.

I opened the garage door; the chill of winter slapped us across the face as I realized that the deep freeze is still upon us. I told the kids to jump in my car. We are running late. I’m not above driving the two blocks to school just so we don’t have frozen hair and eyelashes today.  There’s a lot of school traffic on cold days. There was a lady waiting to turn left at the school, meaning she had to cross the traffic.  The same traffic that wasn’t moving only because she needed to make a left hand turn. Suburb deadlock.  “Why must you turn left and hold up traffic lady! For the love of chocolate, just turn right and circle the block” I whispered under annoyed breath.  We ran into the school, my finger tips were numb. Kisses, “I love you’s” and “you’re awesome’s” were exchanged.

I returned home to clean up from the morning rush.  I feel tired and the day has just begun. E-mails to answer, phone calls to return, laundry piled up, the house in shambles, my accounting records for 2010 lay open waiting for me to finish them.  “Stop taunting me accounting records. Why must the government need these?” I say out loud. I’m weird like that, I’m a talk-to-yourself-er. I want to go back to bed.  I look up at the clock after the morning errands, and It’s already time to pick up my daughter from Kindergarten. In fact, I have exactly one minute to get back to the school.  I can’t find my keys, why am I so absent-minded?  Rush out the door.

When I get home from picking up my daughter, I have the overwhelming urge to work out.  I don’t like to plan when I’m going to work out, the inner exerciser be-yatch eventually calls out.  I quickly put on my workout gear, lace up my runners, grab my iPhone for music, and head to my unfinished basement to my make-shift gym (complete with non-drywalled walls).  My son plays his Xbox downstairs, and there is evidence of a lounging Teenager everywhere. I clean up, muttering under my breath.

Time to run.

I find my power list on my iPod filled with music that is the perfect pace for running. Green Day, Clutch, ACDC, BEP, The Offspring, Rihanna, Muse, The Black Keys.  I take a big gulp of water and turn the treadmill on for a 5 minute warmup walk.  I’m stiff at first, and after my warm up I tell myself I will just run for 10 minutes. I always tell myself that, so I don’t complain. I up the pace to 6.3 and I focus on the same spot on the wall that I’ve stared at for years while I run.

I have no time to  stress about my responsibilities  All I can do is focus on this run, on my breathing, and on the uncomfortable feeling that is creeping into my muscles…travelling up my legs and into my lungs. I want to stop after 10 minutes, but I push that feeling out and convince myself I will run another 10 minutes. I get to 20 minutes, my legs have found their pace. I want to keep going. I want to beat my previous 5K time of under 30 minutes. Time to pick up the pace. I turn it up to 7.0 for 5 minutes (uttering a couple MF’s along the way), and back down to 6.5 for the remainder of the 5K.

The music is timed perfectly to each running step. I feel powerful, like I could do anything I set my mind to.  I feel strong, proud, and in control.  The more uncomfortable I feel, the more I say yes…I can do this. This is just the feeling of being alive.  I can’t explain the feeling that washes over me. It is not comfortable; however I realize, this feeling is PEACE.  Uncomfortable yet peaceful. Because that’s where peace lies for me…in pushing out of my comfort zone, in challenging myself, and in moving on.

While I run, I think about a friend whom I admire. She has found an amazing bright patch of happiness that she’s carved out of darkness. Does she know how amazing she is? There’s no point in keeping the good feelings within. I will tell her how amazing she is, but first I must finish this run in under 30 minutes. 🙂

When I’m done my run, I sit on my weight bench and catch my breath. I reached my daily goal. I’m smiling. I’m happy.

No stress, just strength and peace.

I’m thankful.

Life is actually a lot simpler than I think it is.

I want to continue on my day with this feeling.

Love, love, love.

Peace, peace, peace.

Maybe THIS is my form of meditation.

From my heart to yours,