Halifax OKC Kettlebell Sport Certification

Our awesome group of kettlebellers. I learned so much from all of them!

Our awesome group of kettlebellers. I learned so much from all of them! Photo credit Master Tim Bell

My weekend in Halifax was truly one busy, action packed weekend. Not only did I run, I also became a certified kettlebell instructor. Crazy I know, perhaps a bit odd. But totally true.

Since my summer at the Y began I’ve been flooded with an abundance of fitness information outside my running and yoga bubble. Everything from instructional courses, orientations, muscle focused isometric movements, to simple basic workouts that’ll kick your butt. The new fall schedule is now in full swing and I’m pumped to learn how to swim, train to become a better runner, and up the anti with my cycle fit classes. I want to pump these classes with a lot more energy and perhaps some dance moves. But we’ll see about that one. With all this new information coming my way I decided it was time to do something with it and the timing could not have been better. Amanda (one of my bosses at the Y, hi Amanda!) sent myself and the staff an invitation to a kettlebell certification course in Halifax. According to Amanda the price was comparable to other courses (a little steep in my opinion but this is considering I pretty much spent all my pennies abroad) Regardless I was into the idea but only considered it in passing.

But I kept thinking about it. And kept thinking about it. Honestly, I didn’t really look into it beyond the dates and location. Knowing the course fell on the weekend I was planing to be in Halifax already kept me thinking about it from afar. Because what did I know about kettlebells anyway? Nothing really. That’s what.

When the course was only weeks away I had begun my race weekend planning. One last look at Amanda’s email – and my trip to Toronto for Erin’s birthday – convinced me to do it. But I had one small problem on my hands, the possibility of “running” (excuse the pun) late Saturday morning. I’d have to run my 10k, jump in the car and drive from Eastern Passage to Bayer’s Lake (not the longest of drives, but in crunch time it’d feel extremely long) all before 10am. This was not going to happen. When I emailed my concern to the organizers I received a very nice response from Master Tim Bell who kindly assured me it wouldn’t be a problem. Hooray! I was in.

Saturday morning rolled around and everything went smoothly. I ran my 10k under an hour – all part of the plan – found my papa, got in the car and drove to the training venue. I arrived 20 minutes after 10. The group had just started warming up, I was golden. I even got props from Jason and John for running that morning. Even better!


This is how you really lift! Jason and John from OKC showing us how the sport of kettlebells is done! Master Tim Bell took this picture.

This is how you really lift! Jason and John our instructors from OKC. Thanks Master Tim for the picture.

John and Jason came all the way from California to offer the Orange Kettlebell Certification for the first time in Canada. And in Halifax of all places. I was fortunate to be a part of these fine Canadian instructors including the great bunch of ladies I met from the YMCA of Cape Breton (hi, gals!).

The 16 hour certification was broken down into two 8 hour days which covered the importance and fundamentals of the sport lifting. Given the size of the group we had lots of instructional one-on-one time and time practice and perfect our own technique. Right off the bat I was lost. I was surrounded by of group of non-beginners who’ve clearly taken to the sport of kettlebell beyond my years of any sport I have ever done. Yes, I felt that lost. But John and Jason were kind enough to discard this fact because I didn’t feel inferior to anyone for my lack of training and knowledge instead, as the great coaches they were, I absorbed the corrections they gave me and ate up every positive remark they provided. By the end of Day 1 I could swing, jerk, and clean like a pro, almost. Apparently I should have been lifting heavier weights. Maybe that’s how I perfected things so quickly? Or maybe that was my plan all along.

Day 2 would be the moment of truth to my ill-preparation. Day 2 was test day. “There’s a test! Shit.” Not just a written test but a physical test. “Great. I’m going to die. Or worse I’m going to fail.” But the CB ladies had my back. If I did fail I’d have a year to train and re-test via video proof I completed the physical exam. Thank goodness for a back up plan I was seriously convinced I wouldn’t pass the physical part of the course.

In the morning we covered snatches – according to John is going to be my event – this was the highlight of my morning thinking I’m actually good at something I just learned. Then we covered the style of long-cycle. Afterward was test time.

The written test was a 25 multiple choice exam which we were allowed to use the aid of our notebooks, if we had notes to look off of. Great. I did zero reading or note taking. If I was a good student I wouldn’t have had to use my lunch break to prepare, but that’s over with now. And yes I passed! Our physical exam however required skill, a strong will and tremendous support. Each student had 10 minutes to complete a determined set of repetitions of their chosen task. I did the long-cycle as most ladies did, but the minimum weight for ladies to lift was 12lbs and based on my weight I had to complete 60 reps. Oh god, I was practicing all weekend with 8 and 10s and god only knows how many reps I could do in a row! I was doomed.


Look at me I'm a certified kettlebell instructor!

Look at me I’m a certified kettlebell instructor!

Somehow I did it. I lifted and listen to John as he coached me and I listened to Lance (a fellow student from Ottawa) who was a natural and calming coach (thanks Lance I needed that!). Looking back at the course I was surprised at how much of the material was focused on the sport of lifting other than the instructional components of design a class or taking students through a kettlebell class. Although my expectations were far from what I got out of the actual course, what I got was much more than I could have ever asked for.

My weekend wasn’t over there. With time ticking away I needed to get back to Digby to teach a yoga class at VP Fitness in Digby (my new teaching gig for the fall). But I couldn’t leave the club. I needed to stay and cheer everyone on, just as they did for me.  Like I said the physical test took courage and determination and I’m so proud of the fact that everyone there (me and the CB ladies included) did it. It was one of those things you can’t really explain or prepare yourself for until you actually experience it. And I’m so glad I did.

And I did make it back to Digby in time in case you were wondering. What a weekend.

Here’s a video proving my work. Thanks again Master Tim (Halifax Kettlebell Sport Club)


Making it in Digby

It’s been about a month since I’ve been home. How did that happen?!! I think the harder part to believe is that I’m still trying to recuperate from traveling. At least that’s the excuse I’m sticking to. It still saddens me inside not seeing Cecilley on a daily bases, and waking up in a different part of the world, but as they say home is where the heart is. Only time will tell how long mine will call Digby home, again.

Don’t get me wrong, not all is lost in Nova Scotia. After sleeping away the first week due to pure exhaustion and power outages – what a welcome home. “Jill a hurricane is coming!” my mother enthusiastically explains just days after my arrival.  And sure enough a hurricane hit. We as many Nova Scotians and New Burnswickers did lost power for almost a week. Let’s say serious action is taking place in the Balser household for future hurricane prevention.


The hurricane is coming!

As the world has heard and now seen, my father is a born again mountain man. And in so many ways I love it. I believe my mother does too seeing how we spent her 62nd birthday stocking the freezer with, yup you guessed it, chicken meat. The chickens, well… what’s left of them, run around the yard all day everyday. Mom loves them so much! I, however, enjoy the company of the chickens, but choose to eat all the things possible in the greenhouse. I really have nothing to complain about here other than not having a solid work and fitness routine.

The hardest part about being home, as it was on the road, is getting myself into a routine. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy coming home, but it’s getting kind of ridiculous. Work gives you structure to go by. Knowing when you cannot workout makes you accountable for the time you can. I’m just starting to figure it out for myself. Hopefully next month will be a lot easier.

Having Erin visit definitely helped. I hadn’t see Erin since the day I left Toronto all those months ago. You can tell from her Instagram photos how delightful Nova Scotia really is.  Knowing Erin’s marathon training is starting back up should be enough motivation to get myself back in the swing of things too. I also picked up Brendan Brazier’s second book Thrive Fitness as another source of encouragement – I want to re-marathon train Vega style! I’m convinced it worked last time. My time at the County Marathon gives me enough reason to believe so.

Right now it’s not about kicking myself for all the things I should be doing. Instead it’s focusing on all the great things that have happened so far (and the things to come!). Another important lesson I picked up while travelling.


Me and the chickens! Post  Mom's birthday.

Me and the chickens! This was before mother’s birthday.


So, the job! Yes, the job that brought me home in the first place. You must be wondering how that’s been going and what I’ve actually been up to. I’m working at the Fundy YMCA. It’s keeping me somewhat busy, but it is filling that need to be active just a bit. The facility blew me away when I first visited. Digby and Annapolis County need a place like this – a family friendly, health and wellness driven community, and a place to be active and feel good about doing so. We take it for granted in Toronto having classes and studios at our disposal. But here in rural Nova Scotia it doesn’t exist. If I want to practice yoga I have to do it on my own or take class I’m not teaching. This has been a hard adjustment for me. Self discipline is a must here and something I’ve been lacking in more ways than one. Oh goodness, all the baked goods and homemade bread in this house is not good. If my goal is to run a fast marathon I don’t think it’s possible living at home.


July teaching calendar

My teaching schedule at the Y!


Being home has a lot of positives. It’s good for hanging out with the parents, reconnecting with old friends, family and the local folks – although Erin, Anne and my legacy as the Balser Girls is not working in my favour. Everyone here thinks I am Anne, fair enough given Anne is a national champion and the best golfer of the three of us. It’s clear now I’ve made a lasting impression. The pains of being the middle child, they’re haunting me all over again! Thankfully this weekend my cousin got married (congratulations, Glenn!) at least my family still knows who I am.

Home, home again it’s true

It’s official after 8 months and 12 days I am back in Canada! And I have to say I am rather excited. Conflicted, but excited. If anyone out there thinks traveling is easy think again, although I may not be the best person to ask (as the overly emotional being that I am) Cecilley could give you a better more practical answer about traveling as a whole.

But back to my current emotional state – I’m conflicted for many reasons, one being the idea of coming home. Way back when, when Cecilley and I set off to travel the world coming home early would have been a failure in my eyes. When I set out to do something, I want to do it. We set off to travel for a year, that was the goal. Hacking it out with only each other and our backpacks was the test. Do I have what it takes to make it 12 months abroad? I thought so, and I still think so, but now I’m trading my flexible schedule and freedom, my ability to chose my next home and destination based on where I currently am in the world and where I feel like going next, with a fixed work schedule, a fixed home, and sticking to one location. Why?! Why would anyone voluntarily give up this life of luxury?

Because I got a job.


A new someone to meet at home! And who is the bearded man... Dad?!

A new kitty to meet! And a real mountain man? Dad, is that you?!

Yes, a job. I know it sounds like a total cop out from the free living lifestyle of the average backpacker, but from the very beginning, Cecilley and I were not your average backpackers. Being slightly older than the average globetrotter (the compliments of being very mature for our age never got old), we also wanted to work and volunteer while we traveled  This wasn’t going to be a glorified vacation for the two of us, and we made sure that it wasn’t. Running a marathon and walking over 1000 kms over 50 days is straight up work if you ask me! We wanted new skills for the old resume and we got exactly that and more. So much more!

Traveling has taught me many things about myself and the world. The people I’ve met to the places I’ve been, I can look back and be very proud of my accomplishments. With a tentative “plan” in mind we weren’t committed to anything but each other. But (as travelling has taught me on a number of occasions) plans change whether you want them to or not. I am no longer in a place to think that not competing the year would have been a failure. I am no longer in a place to think I have to keep going because I’m in Europe and when will I ever be back?! I have no idea, but maybe that’s a good thing. Ending 4 months sooner then planned would have upset me earlier in our travels, but now it’s the right thing to do. I’m ready to go back and face all the things I left behind, I’m ready for my new challenge… living at home with my parents. Yup. After 10 years of living away from home and on my own, I am going back home. Is this karma biting me in the ass? Nah, I think I am ready for it. We shall see. I will however, be working and planning my next adventure, this should keep me busy. For a little while at least. I’ve been conflicted with the idea of home and not going back to Toronto, but when opportunities present themselves sometimes you have to let go of expectations and just go with it. But at the time it was scary to think I may not go back to my life in Toronto. I trust it will be there, waiting for me when I do go back.

But the job wasn’t the only reason. I no longer felt as though I was running away, I was no longer scared to go home, I wanted to see my family and friends, and wanted to look forward to working again. But before that, I wanted to enjoy what Cecilley and I did together. I found the answers I needed to be proud of our accomplishments, and I found the clarity to realize what we’ve been through. We saw the world! I know this adventure seems like it’s over, but really it’s only over for now. I know I will keep going and travel more, but I have time, joy, and balance to figure out what my next phase will look like. These were things I didn’t have before. That Camino, man, I tell ya, it’s something else. It really is.


Cats and chickens! It's almost like a zoo!

Cats, the new cat, chickens, and more chickens. It’s like a zoo!

When I left Toronto a lot had happen in my personal life, but it was travelling that really tested me in ways I needed. Leaving my familiar life behind, along with the few belongings I had left, getting on the plane to Bali, I was in over my head. Travelling took me down some pretty dark paths, but I feel as though I know myself better because of it. It has it’s way of dragging you so far down, but then brings you right back up. I saw what I needed to see and I did what I needed to do. And it’s totally okay it didn’t take me a full calendar year to figure it all out.

Keep walking on

Back on the road again. And again!

Back on the road again. And again!

Yup it’s true. Cecilley and I just can’t get enough of this walking thing. After three short days of relaxing and nothing planned for the next little while, we decided spending our extra time in Santiago could be much better spent than trying to find cheap transportation into Portugal. Being as close as we are we figured why not visit Portugal? That and having an open invitation to visit an albergue (that’s Spanish for hostel) on the Portuguese Way also helped.

So it’s off to Portugal we go! But getting there, that was the question? Our transportation search was falling short so we decided to get there the best way we knew how. Walking!

The Camino has routes all over Europe and one route actually takes you out of Santiago all the way through Portugal to the very south part of the country. It was like it was meant to be. So when I told you Cecilley was going to burn her sneakers at Finisterra I lied. And it’s a good thing too. She may have found it hard walking barefoot or in flip flops. Although after the blisters poor Cecilley faced, barefoot might be the better choice.

The last arrow at Finisterra. But not the last for us to follow!

The last arrow at Finisterra. But not the last for us to follow!

Once in Portugal we’ll let the route of The Way take us where it will. We will walk on to Porto, a city of influence on the Camino, and spend time in awe and reflection. Walking for 40 plus days, eventually we’ll need to stop somewhere. But it’s interesting now looking back at the beginning having our year of travel somewhat mapped out, the Camino really shook things up for both Cecilley and I in a way we did not see coming. I know for myself I needed clarity and answers to questions like “what the hell am I really doing?” having this pilgrimage come to a close I think I might now know the answer. Or at least I feel closer to finding it. I am in a better place to figure it out then I was before.

This chapter’s close was a much bigger close on many different levels. I have found proper completion with my grand voyage. The Camino has given me that sense of completion and I can return home happy knowing I have completed something from start to finish. After all this time, that’s what I needed? Go figure! I suppose that’s why they say “there are no coincidences on the Camino”.

It’s also been said, time and time again, “the Camino will give you what you need and not what you want”. Let me tell you how true it is.

So after all of that the next, next adventure will be?? It’s starting to look like Digby, Nova Scotia of all places.

Finisterra aka. The End of the World

Standing at the end of the world!!

I’m standing at the end of the world!!

Well, I can officially say I have now been to the end of the world and back. Literally. Cecilley and I walked the 4 extra days to Finisterra and stood at the world’s edge. The wind was blowing and the rainy days seemed to last forever each day we walked. But it didn’t stop us, this was our real test. Making it to Santiago was nothing compared to this, but our 36 days of walking prior kept us on track we were ready for anything now. When we arrived, that was a whole other rush of its own entirely. We cheers-ed to our achievement, as good pilgrims should, naturally.

This time around the walk was very different. There was a sense of lightness and less stress about it. We walked with ease knowing the grand part of our journey was behind us. Our walk to Santiago was the big achievement, but afterward we both felt lost and a bit empty. We were excited of course, but there was still an unsettled energy to the whole experience. It felt wrong to have our pilgrimage come to an abrupt end in Santiago (both emotionally and physically). After completing the trek to Finisterra I understand why pilgrims keep going. There needs to be an end to the end. You need closure from the journey, from the achievement, and from the act of walking each day, everyday. Or, if anything else, it’s fun to say you know what the end of the world looks like!

There are no more km to walk we made it to the end!

There are no more km to walk we made it to the end!

So now what? What’s next on the traveling agenda? What are Cecilley and I to do now that we have been to the end and lived to tell our tale? We caught a bus (yes, an actual bus, oh my moving transportation!) back to Santiago to relive the magical moments of Compostela we were too out-of-it to take in, or too teary eyed to see. Hanging around Santiago for a few extra days wouldn’t hurt anyone. So that’s exactly what we did. It’s finally time to take a break from walking and do some sightseeing. We’ll figure out the rest later.

Santiago de Compostela, I made it!

Cathedral de Compostela! I finally made it!!

36 days and 867km later I have arrived! Exhausted from the heat, the lack of greens in my diet, and the soreness in my aching bones (it was enough to make me break), but I have arrived! Cecilley and I started this journey on April 13, 2014 and now we can say we have done it. And what a feeling it was to march that last 5km into Santiago to the Catedral de Compostela. I walked with pride, saddness, and slight confussion. All of a sudden this epic pilgramage has come to an end. The one thing I’ve been thinking about for so long was standing there in front of me. I can honestly say there hasn’t been anything in my life that I’ve done (at this point) that can compare. This was beyond what I have ever could have imagined it to be. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster of a lifetime.

My adult Browie Camp and kind of Amazing Race (or as close to the Amazing Race as I am going to get) has come to a close, so now what? The people I have met over the past 36 days have changed me in a way I can’t explain. And I can’t express how gratful I am for each and everyone of them.

But after walking all this way what does one do? They walk to the end of the world that’s what! So Cecilley and I are walking another 4 days to Finisterra (aka. the end of the world) where we will jump in the ocean and burn our clothes! Well maybe not, but her shoes will not be coming back with us that I can promise you.

See you on the other side!

My Way to Saint James

One of our last sunsets in Montesquieu. Has nothing to do with my pilgrimage, it's just stunning!

One of our last sunsets in Montesquieu. Has nothing to do with my pilgrimage, it’s just stunning!

Now that a week has past since the marathon Cecilley and I have had a few days to unwind and think. More sight seeing in Paris lead to perfect evenings picnicking in a park, dinning over lunch in the coolest of places, then leaving the beautiful city to do the se time in our next favourite city Bordeaux. We’re now approaching our 6 month travelling anniversary – I know I can’t believe it either! – I’ve been mentally and physically all over the place looking back at the time that’s past. Bali was a huge wake up call, Tokyo made me cry it was so cool, London took my breath away, and Paris stole my heart. With each new stamp on my passport comes stories and experiences I’ll take with me to my grave. But each place also came with its own struggles, personal hurdles, and time to reflect. Which is exactly what I want and need at this half way point. I need a new challenge one of personal gratitude and self reflection. I need to find my way.

What else am I to do? What does one do now, now that her marathon is over, perhaps needs to shed some access weight because of her new French lifestyle, and then realizes how close Spain actually is to France? The answer came to me one night in the tiny village of Montique after a movie night at Little French Retreat. After watching the 2010 Emilio Estevez film The Way. She decides to take on the voyage many pilgrims before her have done. She walks. She walks El camino de Santiago.

The last supper in Bordeaux. Things I will miss on the trail!

The last supper in Bordeaux. Things I will miss on the trail!

April 12, 2014 will forever be the day Cecilley and I started our own historic pilgrimage. Trekking the scenic coast of Spain all the way to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela we will stand before the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great himself. This grand journey should take us about month and a half. If all goes according to plan. Only time will tell, it’s a long road ahead. But one we’re both ready for!

And so, I bid you all adieu as it’s hard to say when I will have internet access again. I will give updates along my way when I can. But I will promise another full story in the end (another to add to the list!). It’s time to turn off distractions and dive into the world around me. Feet first and one step at a time.

Bon voyage!!

Erin’s February

photo (35)
I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions and words of the year. The beginning of the year is a time for change and to do all these things, but I’ve always found making a resolution — and sticking to it for an entire year — to be overwhelming. Same goes for a “30 by 30” list, which I made and never shared.

I’ve been toying with the idea of setting monthly goals and, in Word-of-the-Year style, choosing a word to guide me throughout each month. In January, I had the word “restore” in the back of my mind: restoring my health, my marathon training, my schedule. But I didn’t put it on this blog and didn’t articulate it to anyone. Partly because I was unsure if it was a good idea, and partly because my Advent Fitness Challenge failed so miserably. I was reluctant to put any sort of goals beyond my marathon out there, in case I failed (again) and had to explain why (again).

But screw that. This is why people have fitness blogs, right? To set goals, share goals and discuss what it takes to achieve them, and what it means to succeed or fail.

So here it goes. This month, I will choose a word to frame my efforts. And I will set a few goals. Vague resolutions (be happier, be kinder) are tough to execute and tough to measure, so these goals will be specific and executable. I’m good at “run this race in XX:XX.” I’m bad at “be a happier, kinder person.” So let’s play to my strengths.

If it works in February, I’ll give it a go for March. As soon as it doesn’t work, I’m done.

February’s word: Work.

Why work? It’s time to step up. There are two freelance projects I have neglected since 2014 began (for obvious reasons: working double shifts means that LAST thing I want to do at home is work some more). I have some personal things I need to complete. I have a new boss and want to work hard to show her I’m passionate about what I do. And I want to put the extra effort into my marathon training. January was a good starting point, but if I learned anything from week 4 of training is that I need to step up my game if sub-4:00 is even going to be a possibility.

There’s a difference between working hard and working a lot. In January, I worked a lot. February will be about working hard.

My goals for February:

1. Plank every day.

I planked this morning, when I decided to make this goal a goal. It seems straightforward enough: I can do it any time, anywhere, and it will help my core, which will help my running. I’m going to start at a minute and work my way up.

2. Go to the gym once a week.

I have built 2 gym trips into my schedule this week. If I go once, I will consider this a victory. This will be my plan all February. Let’s see how dedicated I can be.

3. Finish those two freelance projects.

I don’t really want to talk about them here, but I have two proposals I need to write. Let’s finally write them.

4. Go skating.

I’m putting this down, because I really want to go skating but have yet to have found the time to do so. An excuse, I know. But if I put it down here, it’s more likely to happen. Right?

5. Go swimming.

This goal is contingent on the St. Lawrence pool getting fixed. Go swimming. Just once. And then build from there.

Okay, that’s my plan for February! In addition to my regular marathon training, of course! What about you? Have any goals for this month?!

Run this London Town

Here we are. The Reebok Bromely FitHub Run Club!

Here we are. The Reebok Bromely FitHub Run Club!

Having arrived in the UK just in time for the holidays (I know it’s hard to keep track of my whereabouts!), but I can promise you this I’m going to be here for a while.

I made it! I finally made it to London! After all these years, the countless hours spent dreaming about it, imagining myself living here, meeting my future husband (I am sorry but I’ve been destined to marry Prince Harry since I was 10 – just ask my mom), this city is actually real. I was a child in a candy store, I couldn’t help myself or contain my excitement. But now that I’ve arrived it’s time to get serious.

Find a place to stay: Check.

I’m living with Charlie’s family in a town called Chistlehurst and I’ve settled in quite nicely. I really like it. Okay, so I’m not in London exactly, but I’m working on it. I am, however, only a sort train ride away.

Practice yoga: Check.

I can finally say yes to this. Having to make a last minute present purchase before Christmas I made a grand discovery, the Reebok store in Bromley has free fitness classes. Knowing I would be back in the new year I left my email for more information. And sure enough I got an email in January about free in-store yoga. I was sold.

Find a yoga studio: Check.

I knew practicing once a week with Reebok wouldn’t be enough – not while I’m marathon training! – I need more yoga then that. And let’s face it I’ve been horrible at practicing on my own. So, I made it my mission to find a studio in the area. After a thorough Google search I discovered my options weren’t great. But, thankfully Reebok came trough for me once again. The free yoga classes are in partnership with Breeze Yoga Studio, so off to Breeze I went (their first class is free for newbies too!). I even went for a second time and plan to be a regular from now on. I managed to land a mat monitor role at the studio. This means lots more yoga for me!

Find a running group: Check.

Reebok is killing it! Not only do they have yoga, but a run club as well. This club meets twice a week and runs 5 to 6 miles (so far that is what we’ve done). Perfect! Now I have somewhere familiar to run and people to run with. The run club is in partnership with Petts Wood Runners and Richard is our coach (hi, Richard!).

Thanks Reebok Bromley for yoga and the picture!

Thanks Reebok Bromley for yoga and the picture!

Wow, all the things I’ve managed to check off, it almost feels like home. Now to find myself a job and more friends. I do need to get out once in awhile.

And Jill’s next big race….


Hanging out in Bali gives you lots of time to think. Probably more time then what’s really necessary… but then again is that really a bad thing? Either it’s good or bad, I’ve definitely had more then my fair share of time for reflecting and being with my own thoughts. As much as downtime is good for the soul and brain, so is goal setting and a sense of achievement. I need running and accomplishment to keep me balance – something that came up during the Balance In Bali retreat (more on that later) – being in a place to think only about me and what I want, what on earth have I spent all my time thinking about, besides the serious stuff like my purpose in life and what am I trying to achieve? Running! Naturally. And what my next big race will be??!!

After my first marathon was over I may have experienced a bit of the Runner’s Blues that the folks at the Running Room warned me about. Which makes complete sense given I just spent a huge chuck of time (my entire spring and summer!) training for one race. Just one! It doesn’t seem right or fair at all. Then to just stop after it’s all over? How is one supposed to quit cold turkey? What would I possibly do with my Thursday evenings not seeing Julie, or my Sunday mornings… was I supposed to sleep in? And not go out and run 30k before noontime? I was confused and sad. Just like that I missed running completely. I tried not to run for a little while at least, I didn’t want to do anything stupid like injure myself during post marathon recovery. I put my body through a lot, taking the time to recover properly was super important. But it dam well drove me crazy.

When I returned from Picton and back to my regular life (but now I was a marathoner!) I made a promise to do lots and lots of yoga until Bali and wouldn’t run until the retreat was over. I went to two of Brendan’s classes at MYD, one of which we dedicated entirely to me. Thanks, Brendan! Not only did my hamstrings love and hate you all at the same time, but my arms, quads, feet, brain, and athletic soul did too. What a grad way to come back to the yoga world.

The plan was set and so was I. But now over a month has passed since my big race and I have not run. At all! Now more then ever I am going run crazy. Since moving to Bali for some reason I’m finding it super challenging to do anything. Even yoga is so far from my mind I can’t justify going to a class. I’m not sure what is happening here. Before leaving Canada (for an undetermined length of time), I went for one run. It would be my last run with Julie and my last run with the Running Room. It was the Thursday night clinic immediately following my marathon and I made a promise to Julie we’d celebrate with burgers and beers (our favourite!) to celebrate my race. I also wanted to run with the Running Room one last time, and of course see Alice too before my trip.

Can't wait to live this moment all over again! Even though it was unplanned. Sort of.

Can’t wait to live this moment all over again! Even though it was unplanned. Sort of.

Letting all this time pass have stirred my emotions to the point of total disgust and being at a complete loss. From the retreat, to leaving all of my belongings behind, scattered between Erin’s house and my friend Cait’s apartment, having no idea what is happening to them, wondering all the time what is going on back home without me? It’s so overwhelming, I didn’t think this was possible. At this time of extreme turmoil Cecilley discovered a sweet little spot in France for us to WWOOF at called Medoc, which just so happens to have a marathon. I was golden! Sadly, Cecilley said no to running a marathon, but would run a half. One thing after another, sadly, the sadness wouldn’t stop there. This marathon does not allow half-marathoners – there isn’t a half marathon option or any other distance for that matter – it’s a full or nothing! What ever shall we do?! Conveniently, I knew Paris had a marathon… but our luck would fail us again. This was another marathon only event (which I should have know, knowing it’s one of the worlds biggest races!). After one more positive discovery and very little thought we hunkered down and signed up for the Semi Marathon de Paris! On March 2, 2014 we will run a race in Paris. The day before my birthday! Celebrating my 28th in Paris sounds pretty good to me.

The good news didn’t stop there. While all the excitement unfolded – reliving Cecilley and my California dream, moving to France to train/work/travel, zenning out at the beautiful eco village, Desa Seni, enjoying life on a yoga retreat, I may have registered for the full marathon as well. Oops! Thinking it was a lottery race, or one you would have to qualify for, I thought why the hell not submit my name and see what happens. I already created an ASO Challenges account to register for the half and I want to run another full, so here’s my chance. Plus it’s pretty much a month away from the half, so I could use the half as a training run. Prefect! But an excellent question for Alice.

Another marathon?! Oh goodness what have I done?

Another marathon?! Oh goodness what have I done?

But sure enough that “Your registration for the 2014 Marathon de Paris is complete” email arrived almost a day later which included my bib number and everything. I guess the full isn’t a lottery race after all.

So that settles it. There’s one (or two rather) confirmed legs to this journey Cecilley and I are on, we’ll be calling Paris (or London!) home this spring. Which is not such a bad idea! But this marathon, that might be. And running a sub 4:00? I can totally shave 15+ minutes from my first and only marathon time, right? Well, here goes nothing! I better start running.