All a blur

This week went by too fast. Stupid short week. I’m having to look back at my Facebook newsfeed to figure out what I crammed into my days lately, because my brain isn’t functioning so well at the recall. And you all thought I post things just for you’re enjoyment, HA, it’s really just because I need some sort of tracker for my life.

What I’m getting so far from my week is that I practiced a lot of first responder scenarios. Like, every day a lot. I am very comfortable with a spine board now. First with Nikki, my football supervisor, and her study partner as they prepared for their CATA exams which took place this weekend (so glad I have another 1-2 years to fret about that one). From this we learned that I am a horrible actor. Unless I actually have had the injury in the scenario (good chance of that). Otherwise it’s clear that I made the right decision to leave my theatre minor when I did. Other practicing took place with some of my classmates, as we prepped for a scenario presentation taking place this coming week. Only a 5% version of our actual 45% final practical. It was very, very interesting going from practicing with two basically certified therapists, who have miles of experience in the field, to practicing with other rookies. There was a lot more awkward silence and panicked looks in the latter.

Wednesday night I attended the Clansmen’s end of season football banquet. Where I was initiated as a team rookie. Apparently its tradition for rookies to be told that the banquet dress code is game attire (jeans and black collared shirt), when it is actually more of a dressy event. Since I am a newbie, I was told just that. I got ready at Nikki’s house, and she went as far as to dress in her game attire, only to change last minute and fill me in on the joke. Didn’t really bother me, I was happy to be going and I was definitely not the only rookie on the team. Also, as a resident kin student, jeans are pretty much my dress-up anyway.

On Thursday apparently the only thing I did was change my profile picture.

Just kidding. We all know my Thursdays are never that simple!

I’ve been picking up my regular evening shifts at MORfit again, both of which with Claude. Tuesday was the crazy day, due to a significant increase in clientele both in the gym and in the clinic, as well as a staff meeting in the middle of it, I was running between the clinic and the desk all night. Thursday was much the same, however I was able to spend a bit more quality time in the clinic. I got to observe and input on an assessment, as well as massage two clients. The second client was my first deep pec massage, and I got to do it with Claude standing over my shoulder. That wasn’t intimidating. However, he gave some really good advice- and soon I was much more effective for both myself and the client. That evening ended with Claude first making sure I was working with him next week, as he had booked extra clients already, and then giving me a legit pat on the back and a “great job tonight” before going on his way.

I remember last week writing something about not knowing what to fill my Fridays with, now that football is over for the year. This week I found a worthy replacement, as I got to have a flat lesson with C on Megg’s horse Justinian, our favourite import over at McMullan’s! I love it when she goes away and asks me to exercise him! Mostly because I get to avoid studying..

Anyway, flat lesson! Probably the most out of shape I’ve felt all year.. It’s definitely my off season. After huffing and puffing my way through a warm-up, I started to get back into “the zone”, if you will. Justinian is a completely different ride from my own Willard. And completely different shape, and has a completely different attitude. But it didn’t seem to take long to adjust to his style, it definitely helped that I’d hacked him a few times this summer. C tuned up my equitation, and reminded me how much I’m missing being in training. Stupid school, stupid career goals.

It was nice to have some guidance with the very minor details in the equitation of working with younger horses, though, especially to gain some exercises to throw good ol’ Sonny into next time I ride at HC. I fully believe every rider should have a few lessons a year on a horse that isn’t their own, just for the added benefit of learning the adaptivity needed to be a well rounded rider. When you’ve been working with one horse predominately for a while, the ability to just think something and have the horse respond instantly because he can pretty much read your mind and you his, can be taken for granted. Getting on a less familiar mount, things change. You have to be crystal clear with your questions, because if you aren’t you for sure won’t get the answer from the horse you wanted or expected.

And then here we are at the weekend again. I actually did get some studying in, but I also spent a good chunk of time with my brain in park. Which is what my weekends turn into. My crazy weeks turn my head into mush, and it usually takes me to just before I write my weekend blog posts on Sundays to recover. This weekend I had some delicious home cooked food, as always, visited with my grandparents over grandpa’s massage, and got to spend time with a good friend. Old fashioned slumber party and all. Thank you bad roads!

This week is bringing more practicing, working, studying, and hopefully eating better then I did last week. I really started to notice how much I’d fallen off the “not eating gluten/sugar” wagon when I just couldn’t keep my energy up no matter how hard I tried. So half way through last week I reevaluated my eating habits and started getting myself back on track. With exams coming up I really have to keep the right things for my body available, because nothing is possible without that piece of the puzzle. I’ve also started adding a few more gym days to my schedule. My body is much happier when I eat right and actually use it.

2 weeks til Finals! Ah!

“The young do not know enough to be prudent- and therefore attempt the impossible- and achieve it- generation after generation.”

Looped Conversations

Do you ever find yourself having the same conversation, over and over again? Whether it’s with others- or inside your own head. It could be about your goals, the latest thing to happen to you, where you plan to go next, what so and so did last weekend and how hilarious that thing was. Or maybe it’s that you have to work harder, things are happening and you can’t slow down otherwise they’ll stop. Anyone been there? How about  the classic “nobody will respect me if I don’t do this, or achieve this”. Along with this conversations, inwards and outwards, might be arguments. Differences of opinion, causing a ongoing discussion- many times within our own minds.

I’m not the only one to do this.. right?

It’s a good thing most of the time. Allowing us to push past the barriers we set for ourselves, break our own standards, and get closer to our goals. It’s what keeps determined people determined. It’s what helps us break bad habits. Whether it is people in our lives telling us that we can do something, even when our head is saying “no, I can’t”. It’s the opposite of that, the “yes, you can” voice when everyone else is saying “that’s impossible, you’re crazy”. I believe it’s important to have a balance between those two. They generally keep things in a good perspective, when utilized properly. Often it’s that inner voice that helps us to do what’s right for us, when that is the most important thing.

What about those conversations, those stories we end up telling day after day, to different people (or sometimes the same people again and again)? Are those words, those events we keep retelling, what make up who we are? I read somewhere once that our memories are reconstructed every time we think of them. I know from personal experience that memories I have seem to become different over time. Usually becoming more positive as I realize how I’ve grown and learnt from the original events. Things that once seemed like it was the worst thing ever turn into a good story and something to laugh at. Life is always changing, and so are we- therefore it’s pretty hard to let something like words describing an event, or a continuing debate or conversation define us. Who we are today is not necessarily who we were yesterday (coming from someone who is recovering from  concussion, I can vouch for the truth in that statement #moodswings).

Where am I going with this? I’m not really sure, I lost that train of thought 400 words ago.

I was having trouble thinking of what to write about this week, because my life has drastically slowed down as I’ve been doing my best to recover from this concussion. I would usually write about how crazy my life was, and what I did in the past week to work towards goals, or what new goals I’d set, or what crazy obstacle the universe had thrown at me. I’ve already covered the concussion issue a few times, so I didn’t want to focus on that for yet another week. Truthfully, I’m tired of thinking about concussions, and symptoms. As much fun as they are.

I have lots of those “looped conversations” in my life (you’ve probably noticed a few in my posts.. I natter about the same things over and over sometimes (sorry)). Whether it’s about school (which courses am I taking, what order, with who, planning the final years of my degree, etc), riding, working (you’re doing how many jobs?!), time management, diet, and it goes on. I often refer to my life as being 3 separate lives, my time being split between studies, riding, and work- with some time left over for my own fitness and friends and family. All those things kind of tie into each other though, and more and more I am finding ways to integrate all those different parts of me into one big me. The things I study not only have drastically improved my riding and fitness, but also changed the way I think about things. Work not only pays for riding, but more than one of my jobs also lets me use skills I’ve developed through both sport, school, and past experience. My friends and family are a big part of the reason I can handle all those different things at once. With all these things going on and feeding into each other, how could I not have lots to talk about to those around me- but also within myself. Those conversations didn’t necessarily stop when all the other things got put on hold. You may have picked up from the earlier posts regarding this injury (and other for that matter), that I wasn’t in the best state of mind.. necessarily.. when it came to accepting the whole rest and recovery idea. I looked for every excuse I could find- going as far as asking many of the people in my life for advice, somewhat hoping they would say something that I could interpret towards not slowing down and just pushing through. Luckily for me, I was only met with the answer I needed to hear (over and over again). So while those ongoing conversations inside my head are something that keep me moving and determined so much of the time, this week I had to work towards using them to do the exact opposite.

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Nothing.

Surprisingly, I actually was able to also quiet all those conversations in the process. Which was actually really nice. I spent a couple days just laying in the sun, on a dock, on the river. Listening to the birds, instagraming the crap out of the scenery, sprouting more freckles, and just doing and thinking nothing. Absolutely nothing. How’s that for brain rest? To steal a quote from a friend, being a “human being, not a human doing”.

When I wasn’t doing nothing, I was doing passive activities like making paleo cheesecake, napping, instagraming pictures of my food, testing my concentration levels, and visiting my horse (while being watched like a hawk by M- I swear, he thinks I’m going to somehow spontaneously melt). Speaking of the horse- A HUGE thank you to everyone at the barn who as gotten him out of the stall for me every once in a while (looking at you Lauren, Laura, Megg, and Marilyn). So comforting to know that he is in good hands.

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So now we’re entering Week 3 of recovery. Here is where I attempt a slow progression back into my regular lifestyle (don’t worry I have permission this time). Slow being key. I started by a short, easy 3 mile ride on the stationary bike while at work. Exercise progression starts with aerobic, once I am back to a higher intensity on that front I can move back into resistance training and riding. I worked a full day yesterday, and felt great.

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The absolute mountain of paperwork I was greeted with Monday morning. Just screams “welcome back” doesn’t it?

After work I made the mistake of trying to work on my case study- and had to stop after 20 minutes because of dizziness. I was only able to work half a day at my full time job this morning, as the dizzy spells were aggravated by my tasks at work. Should have seen that coming as when I woke up in the morning and was getting my stuff ready, I tried to pack my phone charger which I was convinced was my water bottle. Can’t explain that one. Tomorrow I’ll try a full day again. The only on-going symptom left over is fatigue. I just can’t seem to get my energy back. The doctor said that was likely, and that with time it would return. It’s still very much one day at a time. Definitely hit my head a lot harder then I originally thought.

How was that for writing about a week of nothing? I tell you I could make an essay out of just about anything. Mad talent.

Below you’ll find many snap shots of food, and random photography from the week. Just for fun.

Wish me luck with getting back to normal, or whatever you call my life!

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1 week (well, 6 days) and -6lbs later

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Willard says hello.

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And that he’s sorry for always being so dirty when I’m come to see him….. Right.

So it’s been 6 days now since I began the restricted diet of all restricted diets. Almost used to it now, managed to only drop about 6 or 7 lbs this week (I’m going to be some kind of unhappy if all the new clothes I just bought become to big after next week)..but let me tell you the first 3-4 days were pretty rough. It takes a couple rounds of the grocery store to adjust your self to finding things without sugar in them. OR dairy, gluten, or yeast for that matter.

This week has been a little insane anyway (what else is new). Two exams early in the week took up most of my focus (along with trying to find food in my cupboards that I could actually consume). Tuesday night was the first time I had a chance to grocery shop (had to make time as I realized driving home from the barn at 8pm that I had literally nothing I could eat- and this was after not really eating anything of substance for 6 hours) and it was an eye opener. For someone like me, who eats a pretty healthy diet- but relies on quick things to make, often finding food groups from fast sources, and has an deep love for KD, taking basically all those options away is like throwing a duck into a desert and telling it to find water. Okay, so that makes it sound awful. It wasn’t THAT bad. The fact that I was operating on an empty tank and in between exams probably didn’t help. Regardless, I was pretty lost in that grocery store. A friend gave me some good advice afterwards, which I learned quite quickly was pretty relevant.. “Stick to the outsides”. All the fresh (relative) veggies are on the outside. Which is a large portion of what I bought, and survived on this week.

Wednesday and Thursday went by pretty quickly. Wasn’t able to really make a real meal until late Thursday night. I started my full time job at MMSL Thursday, and barely made it through the day on what I had prepared to eat. My brain isn’t quite used to functioning on the rice crackers, veggies, and almond butter I was surviving on. Staring at spreadsheets and computer screens all day while taking in new information from my supervisors wiped me out by 11am. By the time I got out of the office and out to the barn that evening I was pretty much useless. The ride I did that night was pretty much me doing a lap of trotting and having to take a breather. Not myself at all. Thankfully I was able to get creative with some quinoa, farmers sausage, and veggies later that night. The only creative part, really, was making my own “pesto sister substance”. Olive oil, and some greek spices did the trick just fine!

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So good.

Since Thursday I’ve been getting along much better with meals. I cooked up a large amount of quinoa that night, which I’m able to concoct into many different things. Friday I created french toast style quinoa patties.

IMG_2643 If there is one meal I don’t have any problem with lately, it’s breakfast. Nobody has taken away my bacon. And Lord help them if they try. Usually I go for a 3-egg omelette bacon and spinach frittata/omelette type deal. This morning, since I had gone through all my eggs already, I got creative with some sweet potato, bacon, spinach, onions, and left over cinnamon quinoa.

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Speaking of bacon, I need to buy some more.

I love the food this diet forces me to eat. Building the habit of pre-planning a week of meals is the hardest thing for me. I’ve had numerous discussions with friends this week, at work and other places, who have given me tips on what and where to buy things, been able to relate with me as they are on similar restricted or paleo type diets, and given me some great ideas for things to cook and integrate into my already crazy busy lifestyle. For what I’ve lacked in gluten, dairy, yeast, and sugars this week- I’ve received ten-fold back in support from those around me. Which is awesome. And I love it.

As you probably have picked up from what I’ve already written about my experiences so far, it’s been kind of a roller coaster ride for my body. When I’m hungry, I get less of the usual stomach grumblies, and more of a major head ache and loss of all things concentration related. Shocking my body with a new, extreme, eating style the same week as two exams and starting a new full-time job, taking shifts at the gym, maintaining my usual work outs and riding schedule…Probably not the greatest idea in hindsight.  The first 4 days I was in a zombie fog. Fatigue like I’ve never experienced. Some of those fun symptoms like cramping, lack of appetite, and nausea as well, which Dr. Shrayder said may come out to play the first couple weeks, but nothing really. Thankfully between shifts this weekend I’ve been able to catch up on sleep and calories. Starting to feel way better.. Not completely firing on all cylinders yet though- just directed a very male client to the very female change room- luckily whatever cylinder that was kicked in BEFORE he opened the door. I’m 20 years old and I still mix up my right and my left. Terrifying.

Today before work I went a did some (still have more to do) shopping for the next week or so. Where I used to spend max $50 a week on groceries.. this week I’m already over the $100 range. And that’s still me being skimpy. I’m hoping once I get the basics I need for some of the recipes and meals (coconut everything (oil, flour, etc), beans, nuts, spices, and more), that I can get my budget down a bit again. Regardless, it’s a good thing I have a few different sources of income for the summer. Besides MMSL, and MORfit, I also agreed to coach the Graysville Light Horse 4H club this year. So starting next week I’ll be working with those kids for a few months. Also hoping to do some private lessons again this year on the side.

I’m actually kind of loving the challenge all this is giving me. Hopefully it will get a little less exhausting as I get more into the habits. I’m getting to exercise my creativity in the kitchen (as my mom will tell you I am the worst at actually following recipes) by making up things as I go half the time. This is forcing me to build those skills, and habits to live the kind of lifestyle I’ve been headed towards anyway. As I’ve told many people this week- this is just life shoving me off the cliff putting things like this off. It’s not like I was going to get less busy this summer and suddenly have time to make a change in my lifestyle. There is only one way for me to do this sort of thing- and that is to just do it.

Since I’m risking being long-winded here.. I’ll end with some pictures from throughout the week!

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Lessons, Habits, Progress

Decided to take a study break to write a post. And now I have writers block. THANKS BRAIN.

We’re in the home stretch. Only two exams left this week- after a quite successful run of five.  Found out today that I got a 94% on the psychology paper I wrote on the power dynamics Eric Lamaze used to influence the series of events surrounding the disqualification of Tiffany Foster from the olympics and FEI’s hypersensitivity protocol. I also got a B on my A&P lab exam, and a B+ on my P&C practical. Both those written exams felt very good as well, so hoping for good results there.

Besides studying like crazy, I’ve been working as much as I can, as well as riding and working out. So basically the past month all aspects of my life have been colliding into one big happy fun time. There were a couple weeks in there where I managed to pick up around 4-5 shifts in the week, as well as got out to the barn 5 times (as well as other forms of exercise), and wrote 1-2 exams. There is a reason “time-management skills”  has it’s own section on my resume. I’m getting used to living out of my car and using gas stations for wardrobe changes. Between driving across the city for work and play, and out to the country for training, I don’t have a lot of time to spend at Ainslie St. The time that used to be taken up by classes is quickly being replaced by five billion other things. Speaking of which I should really figure out when my spring class starts.

As of today I’ve had three lessons with M&C, and they have all brought significant improvements (for both me and Willard). The first lesson was really fun. We focused on grid work, and it was clear the Willard missed jumping over things. I felt great in the tack, confident and focused. The second lesson was a bit different. I was less focused to begin with, but that quickly changed as the lesson progressed. In the beginning I was sluggish in the saddle, my back hurt and my knee was not enjoying much of anything. Then I realized how much I was falling into old bad habits (hip angle too closed, shoulders forward, leg back). Then I thought about all that work I put into that biomechanics project I did my first term, and between that and Charlene manually adjusting my position in the saddle, I quickly fixed my own biomechanics and had quite a productive lesson after that. Just took me a while to wake up that time apparently. But it was an enlightening lesson for me in many ways, one of those ways seeing how my education- all those technical things about the human body I’ve been studying all year- are truly helping me to progress as a rider. It’s helping me change my perspective on things like those pesky old bad habits I’ve been trying to banish for so long. I stumbled across a quote the other day that fits this situation.. “When bad habits are hard to break, try bending them”. A lot of it is about perception.

That lesson showed me that I am well on my way to gaining new perspective, and that maybe those habits won’t always hinder me- but instead help me to progress further.

Oh, and the horse was good too.

My lesson today was much more focused (from my view anyway). Since Willard is still pretty enthusiastic about the whole jumping idea (sound effects included). We did quite a bit of transition work, before and after jumps. While is is very keen to jump, he is listening much better than even a few weeks ago. Where he used to grab the bit and launch himself at jumps, he was waiting with me for deeper distances and actually rounding himself over the jumps (of course followed by a squeal and a buck after because apparently it feels really good to jump oxers lately). Today there was only some of that, moreso after the jumps opposed to before. Charlene thinks that one more week and this “spring freshness” should be out of his system. Can’t blame him really, jumping IS pretty fun.

The biggest difference I’m noticing in my riding so far this season is that I am also better at waiting in the tack. Previously I had a tendancy to see a distance, and wait for it, but let myself fall forward in anticipation- which would throw the horse off, and lead to a chip or a extra stride before the jump. Whether it be my common sense progressing, my improved over all fitness, or M&C’s strategies working (probably all three), it brings a lot more confidence into my ride. For both horse and rider.

So that’s riding covered. The only other sort of interesting news I have that is fitness related is that I’ve finally started making ground with my pesky quad injury. After a few months arguing with it (especially during running), with the help of my ATs awesome/horribly painfully effective thumbs and elbows, as well as well planned rehab exercises, it has progressed from quitting at 1 mile, then to 2 miles, and now last week we were up to 3 miles before it started feeling like WWIII was taking place in my left leg and glutes. That day I also did a 5 miler maintaining a 10:30min/mile pace! Personal best for this kid! My training has kind of shifted from being in the gym 5 days a week to being in the barn 5 days a week mixed with more running and more body weight/pilates style exercises. I’ve found that for now, with my schedule and what is most effective for my lifestyle at the moment, this is the program that works right now. I still try and do a heavy lifting day 1-2 times a week, because it really is effective for me as a rider. I’m really looking forward to this summer to expand my training more with new ideas that come up!

Between everything else, the mission to solve my GI problems is continuing. The naturopath I consulted in March originally suspected parasite, while the Gastroenterologist recently suggested it definitely was not a parasite, and although I don’t have too many of the symptoms, Crohn’s might be the case and would like to proceed with a colonoscopy to confirm, which I said I would consider after all the other tests came back. I did stool and saliva testing for the Naturopath, and more blood tests for the Gastroenterologist. The GI guy was correct on the parasites, as I saw the naturopath today and got my test results back. The tests also showed some inflammation in my small intestines, but that could correlate with the high levels of yeast, bacterial growth, and gluten build-up also present. So while I wait the next 2 months for my Gastroenterologist to get blood test results, the naturopath has put me on 3 different herbal supplements to rid my gut of the bad bacteria, yeast, and gluten- as well as recommended I try out a restricted diet. Restricted being the understatement of the year.

Long story short (seriously though, I got a 100-page reference package), I am to avoid all gluten, dairy, and sugar- limit my fruit intake and bump up my veggie intake. I’m not sure how my Starbuck’s addiction feels about this. However, while I initially panicked because, lets face it, that is a lot of things I can’t eat, I then realized that my diet lately has been shifting that direction anyway. It will definitely take a little more time and effort on my part to make the complete shift, but I have been looking at the “paleo” way of life for a while, and this restricted diet is not too far off that line of thinking. The past month or so, I have been feeling really good, and during that past month I’ve been eating less starchy/processed stuff. So maybe, hopefully, the naturopath is onto something with this. Either way, it’s a new adventure.. or maybe challenge is a better word! I hope to make time to record some of how it goes on here, so if you’re interested make sure you stay tuned!

I finish exams Wednesday, where I will get approximately a 12hr break before I start full-time at the Manitoba Major Soccer League as their program coordinator for the summer. It’s sure to be a crazy summer (per usual), while I keep around 10 hrs a week in shifts at the gym, plus full time at MMSL, riding, showing, spring courses, and everything else in between. Bring it on!