Who am I now?

I’ve been thinking about this blog lately. I re-vamped it earlier this year when I started marathon training again. Then I got injured, and I wrote about that experience. But I’m healed now, and making marathon plans for 2018, so who and what does that make me now?

Are you still an injured runner after you’ve healed? Can you still fall into that category when you’re back to running pain free? Or am I back to just being a runner, with no distinct quality about my running anymore? What do I have to write about now that I’m just a normal runner again, making plans for another marathon, taking spin classes and continuing with deep water running. Does anyone care about my workouts now that I’m not in the rehab state? Did anyone care when I was injured and trying to get back to running?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t see a need for this blog any more. I feel bad when I don’t write enough, and then I feel pressure to write. I don’t want that. I just want to be able to share my thoughts, about running and life, in the moment. I’ve been doing a digital cleanse lately – I got rid of my Twitter account, I’ve cleaned up my Facebook and Instagram – so I think this blog is just the next thing on the list. It’s not something that sparks joy in my life, and causes more pressure and stress than I want or need.

So, to all my readers, thank you. It was fun while it lasted. And if you want to see what is going on in my running life, follow me over on Instagram: @a2_aliabel.

Ali out.

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I can’t handle it: My view on media coverage of #ymmfire

My morning routine during the week at work consists of making a pot of French press coffee, eating my breakfast, checking my email, and listening to CBC Radio while I get through the morning. I need background noise to keep me focused (is that weird? I used to study with music I could sing along to…), but over the past few days, I’ve had to turn the radio off. I can’t handle it.

Most of you reading this likely know what’s happening in Fort McMurray, Alberta, right now. The city is burning and more than 85,000 people have been evacuated. I lived in Fort Mac from 1990 to 1998, and my parents were up there for 19 years total. I still have really close friends up there. I’m worried about them, and about everyone in the city. I’m doing what I can, in my own way, to help out.

What I can’t handle is the media around this story. CBC Radio has been broadcasting constant updates on the situation, taking over whole programs to cover the story. It’s all over the newspapers. Social media is a constant bombardment. I’m not criticizing that – people need information, especially those who are directly affected by what is happening – the people of Fort McMurray. But to listen and read and share posts all day every day…that’s what I can’t handle. Why does the fact that the leader of the Wildrose Party lost his home the top headline in the newspaper? The “deepest thoughts, prayers, concerns…” from the leaders of the political parties mean nothing to me, and likely means nothing to many of the people of Fort McMurray. What are you going to do to help? How will you help them rebuild, to return to their homes and their lives? To start over?

Yes, it’s still early days. But I want to know what the oil companies who operate north of the city are going to do to rebuild. I want to know the concrete details of what the provincial and federal governments are going to do to help everyone get back on their feet. I want to be absolutely sure that every dollar I donated through the Canadian Red Cross is going to help at least one family rebuild their lives. If you’re going to bombard me with information 24-7, give me this information. Is everyone safe? Good. Is it going to rain? Tell me that. Will you help people? That’s all I want to know.

You may think I’m a heartless bitch, but that’s not it. For me to be exposed to the media around this situation all day every day makes me more upset about it all. I really do care about the well-being of the people I know and care about, and of all the people of Fort McMurray. And I will support the recovery and rebuilding in my own way. But for now, I need to stop being constantly bombarded by info from the media, and from my connections on social media. I know we are all affected by this in some way, even if not directly. I’m not being cold, I’m dealing with my emotions about the situation in my own way. If I am no longer sharing photos/memes of support, don’t judge me. If I’m not liking your Facebook post or your hashtag, it’s not you, it’s me (and it’s not really helping anyone). If your ratings or readership drop by one point, I’m not sorry about that.

Let people deal with this in their own way. Support the recovery in any way you can. But don’t feel you need to be the rock star by consuming every single bit of info available and regurgitating it to everyone you know. Give an evacuee a hug. Send your buddy you lives in Fort Mac a text to see how they are doing. Donate whatever you can to the Red Cross or the food bank. Give meaningful support, but do it in your own way.

Just do you

I’ll admit it. I subscribe to newsletters, like Facebook pages, and follow people and companies on Twitter that claim they will help me better – at my job, in my relationships, in my community, in my creativity…in life. Articles about how to be more productive every day, how to make lunches my coworkers will be jealous of, how to invest my money to make millions. Article and websites with 10 (or 7 or 5 or whatever the magic number is) tips and tricks on how to be more productive in the morning, how to get your coworkers to like you, how to spark your creativity for that million dollar idea.

And after reading all of that stuff, do you think I do any of it? Do you think I’m doing all of the things the “experts” tell me to do to make me higher/faster/stronger/productive/creative…better? No, I’m not. You know why? Because I can’t change who I am deep down inside. I can only be me; I can only DO me. If all of those articles I read really worked, I would be blogging every day, inspiring everyone with my brilliant ideas, and rolling in the Benjamins because all of you were taking my advice (sound or not) and listening to me preach…trying to be me.

DSC_1714But that’s not reality. Look back at this blog and tell me the list time I wrote something. Or the last time before that. The creativity and brilliant ideas aren’t coming at me a mile a minute, despite what I’ve read. My days at work are structure how they are, because I know what works for me, not because of what some business magazine wrote in an article. I’m running better and more consistently because I’ve figured out what make me want to run and what I need to do to keep that mojo going, not because of what the “expert” said in a tweet.

We’re constantly looking for inspiration from external sources to make our lives better. But you know what I realized today while lying in bed today, having just woken up from a power nap? It all comes from inside yourself. You need to just do you, I need to do me, and the greatness will come. Stop trying to live up to others standards and expectations…

Wait…if you’re going to follow any advice…just do you.

The Grateful Challenge

This email came into my inbox yesterday, and yesterday evening, I learned that it probably arrived for a reason. My grandfather passed away last night. And it made me think how lucky I was when I last visited with him, a couple of years ago at the family cottage, where he was always the most happy. I’m grateful that this is how I will always remember him, and for the time we spent together that week in July.

So here is what you do. Set your timer for 10 minutes. Write down everything you are grateful for. Apparently you are supposed to be able to get to 99. I guess I wrote too much for each one.

The Grateful Challenge

1. My family, both near and far. Even if I don’t get to see everyone as often as I’d like, I’m still grateful they are here and have been a part of my life.
2. My spouse. He makes me laugh every single day, even when I don’t feel like laughing. And he loves me for who I am.
3. My friends. No matter how infrequently we talk, we can pick up right where we left off and everything is cool.
4. My boys (BB, TS and CR). You guys were exactly what I needed in high school, and even though our visits are few and far between, nothing ever changes and you are still so important to me.
5. Discovering that despite Starbucks’ discontinuation of the Chocolate Chai, I can still have it (order a chai latte with a pump of mocha. Yum!).
6. All of my bosses, past and present. You opened my eyes to what is possible in the world of PR and communications, pushed me to be the best I can be, and have given me so many great opportunities.
7. Sunshine.
8. Running.
9. Running in the sunshine.
10. People who shovel their sidewalks for those times when I’m running not in the sunshine.
11. Ucluelet. You have amazing fishing and have giving me great memories.
12. Music – it’s my escape, my creative bump, my mental lubrication.
13. Mountains for making me think I’m a great photographer…and for giving me a place to visit and explore.
14. Chocolate…see description for #12.
15. Coloured pens. Life would be boring if I could only write in black and blue.
16. My passport. It lets me explore the world.
17. Memories. Without them, we would be nothing. They define who we were, who we are and where we are going.
18. Two comforters on a bed. So cozy!
19. Coffee…see description for #12.
20. Netflix. Because cable TV sucks.
21. Lululemon Wunder Unders. You make getting dressed on the weekend that much easier. And running in the winter that much warmer.
22. BBQ.