10 ways a Heart Attack at age 35 changed me.

When thinking about the last 2 plus years since my heart attack, I cannot help but run through the ways I have changed.

My heart after having a Heart Attack. August 11, 2013
My heart after having a Heart Attack. August 11, 2013
  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Ya, it is totally a cliché, a book has been written and many people will say they don’t sweat the small stuff.  I don’t anymore.  It is funny to think of the things that use to get to me or that I would worry about.  Now, most times my first thought is,  “ Is this worth worrying about or spending my time and energy on.”  Stress, my friends is something I try so hard to avoid.  The downside to this is that I become impatient with those who try to make small issues bigger than they are.  It does piss people off or I come across as not really caring.  In some situations, I really don’t.  Nowadays, there are things that I do procrastinate on because things can wait and it is not worth the stress and let’s be honest here, I try to have more fun.

 

  1. I prefer to be alone.

Ask anyone who’s known me a long time and they will tell you I always had to be around other people.  This use to be how I got my energy, my zest for life. Mini loves people !  Post Heart Attack, I find in many social situations I get anxious or very awkward and have to leave early.  This is why I never car pool with anyone.  I need my escape.  I spend more hours alone than I think most realize.  I use this time to read more, work on many of my projects and try to sort through my head.  I find it easier to be alone than to be in large groups.  I know I have become socially awkward and I am ok with that.  Being alone allows me to not put myself in an awkward situation or worry about upsetting someone.

 

  1. I have a new normal.

This took me a long time to accept.  I am still figuring out what certain limits are but I accept I am not who I was.  I like who I am now.  So who am I now ?  That’s for another post.  With my new normal, I have had to find new ways to do things I enjoy, accept restrictions and learn which lines I can push. Example, I will never run as fast as I use to but I can run.  I may accept the new normal but I will NEVER give up trying to succeed at what I can.

 

  1. I dream bigger.

I have many big dreams.  Most are of the humanitarian and Heart Disease awareness type.  I have so many dreams I hope to share and work towards in 2016.  Some are way out in left field but I would rather put those dreams out there and get laughed at than keep them to myself like I use to.   There is one dream I once had that I never made my move on now someone else made it famous.  Lesson Learned. So, I may never become famous for a dream I pursue but I really hope one of them leads to creating the life I desire.

 

  1. I actually like myself.

Most of this could be in another post but here is a start.  From 2010 on I actually had a strong dislike of who I was and I had almost zero confidence in myself.  I got good at putting on a show.

I like me J   I am awkward, I am social, I am fun,  I am smart in different ways, I am a good looking guy, creative, determined, flirty, playful, goofy.  I am uniquely and imperfectly ,me.  I am not for everyone but I do like who I am.  This doesn’t mean I don’t have some insecurities but I am more confident than I have ever been.

photo

  1. Experiences instead of Things.

I have always had a hard time buying things for myself.  Even when I bought my first DSLR Camera I was anxious.  Over the last 2 years  I have focused more on spending my money and time on experiences, dinners with friends, coffees.  My time is valuable.  I would prefer memories with my friends and family than something disposable.  It may be morbid but I want to think that when my time comes and I am 6 feet under that I leave those I care about with good, fun and maybe slightly wild memories of “Mini.”  No one will remember how many things I owned.  After my Heart Attack I questioned how people would remember me.

 

  1. Now I lay me down to sleep.

It is no secret that my sleeping patterns are messed.  Sometimes I go more than 24 hours without sleep, sometimes I nap an hour here and there just to function.  I have no idea how I function most days to be honest.  The thought of not waking up consumes my brain before bed almost  nightly.  I want so bad not to think this way but living with heart disease I am aware of what could happen.  PTSD is a bitch and that is one way it gets me.  Every night I go to bed wondering if the day I had was a good one, did I do something positive?  Did I make at least one person smile ?  Did I smile ?  Did I try to make a difference in this world ?

If I ever should die and not awake when the sun rises, I just hope the day before was a good one.

 

  1. I want Love but I am Guarded.

It is no secret that I have been single for a long time.  No girlfriend in almost 5 years, yep, you read that right, 5 years.  I have dated but can’t seem to keep anyone interested long enough, combine that with the fact I keep myself busy.  Just like most everyone, I have been hurt before but that is NOT why I am guarded.  I am guarded because I want simply to be accepted for me but sharing my health issues has scared some females away.  Can’t blame them because there are always things we as people can and cannot live with when it comes to a partner.  I am an amazing man as soon as someone can see beyond both mine and their imperfections.  I know I need to be a little more open with heart but sometimes it is so damn hard.

 

  1. Random Acts of Kindness.

I give more than most people realize.  I am not one to brag nor share every little Random Act of Kindness I do because I feel that defeats the purpose.  One per week, I do something.  Whether it is buying a coffee for someone, paying for their gas, leaving a random note or simply giving a homeless person a $10 or $20 bill.  I do something.  I want to feel like I have made a difference, even if for only a moment.

 

  1. I care but it sometimes doesn’t come out that way and it sucks.

If you have read this far, then you now get  a HUGE TRUTH.  I say I Love You more than I ever did before and tell people I care as often as I can.  So what is the problem?  I have been told what I say doesn’t seem portrayed that way.  I have a hard time comprehending this.  For example:  There was a woman I liked, I tried to show her but even she said she was not sure, that it didn’t seem that way.  I tried so hard but I just couldn’t get what I was actually feeling outward by action or expression I guess.

I have PTSD, I struggle with understanding emotion and even portraying  certain emotion.  If you are emotional in front of me, like crying or upset, my brain is trying to empathize and understand but I just can’t ever seem to figure it out.  It makes me uncomfortable in the situation and I am trying to think of a way out of that moment.  It’s not that I do not care, it is that I just can’t comprehend why you are upset or even what I am suppose to do.  It is not easy to live with and it keeps me up at night.  I use to be a very empathetic and understanding human and I kinda miss that guy.

So, if you and I are in a situation like above and my face goes red or I slowly distance myself from you or I constantly look away…… please know I care, I just don’t know what to do, guide me or let me escape.

The Selfie Project Part 3- Unexpected Inspiration.

Recently Updated1

Ending on a good note.  The photo a day project.

When you take photos of yourself for 12 months straight or do anything that catches attention from people, unexpected things can happen.

I knew people would roll their eyes, maybe mock me ( which of course, did happen.)  I knew different people would like my photos ( they did.)  I knew people would say they liked the photos and make kind comments ( some did.) The one thing I did not know…..

There were a few who saw the photos and never said anything.  Until it was over.  I Inspired some people unknowingly.

4 private Facebook messages and 2 texts that went back and forth for a while.

48

“I am really going to miss your pictures, they made me smile each day and made my day better, especially when I was feeling like crap.  Then, there was your face, smiling.”

“I never commented on your photos but I looked at them each day.  It was nice to see someone smile , even knowing that you probably had some bad days.  You still smiled, I liked that.” 

“ Your smiling face made my hard days better, I am going to miss that.”

“Mark, you inspired me to smile.  I had some sucky days and kept thinking, he’s smiling, so I could try.  Knowing you and talking with you every few days, I knew not each day was good and you told me that this photo thing was hard but yet, you still tried every day.”

“You are a great guy, have a nice smile, you are inspiring.  For selfish reasons, I wish you would keep doing the photos.  I had some hard days, you helped.”

“I saw you’re not going to keep posting your daily selfie. Oh no! I was enjoying them! I hope you had a good year and looks like you’re doing awesome staying healthy!”

Recently Updated2

I didn’t embark on this project to inspire anyone, in fact, that is the LAST thing I thought would happen.  I am not one to take compliments well, nor do the words “ Inspiration or inspirational” make me comfortable.  They make me squirm actually.  I have never once thought of myself as inspiring.  I am just me, trying my best to live my life better and trying different things.  If someone gets inspired or I make someone’s day then I guess I am doing something right. 

I did love hearing that I made some people smile.  That, I am ok with hearing.  I strive to make people smile or laugh.  I love smiling, it is my favorite haha !

So what does “ Unexpected Inspiration.” teach me ? 

You or I may not strive to actively inspire but our actions, even the ones that seem crazy or dumb can affect others, motivate them, make their day or inspire them to just smile even when it is hardest for them to do.

Unknowingly people are watching our every move, even more so since the invention of social media.  What you do or say can and will impact others just by being you. 

My advice ?  Keep being you because being you is authentic and awesome. That is what I strive for.

 

Mini.

The Selfie Project- Part 2. The Bad. Narcissist.

The Selfie Project Part 2-  The Bad. Narcissist

 

Recently Updated1

I like to end things on a good note so, I have decided to write about the bad before the good.  Which will be part 3.

When you take photos of yourself for 12 months straight you are bound to face criticism or get mocked.  Heck, nowadays anything you do consistently and publicly will have it’s trolls.  I have definitely faced this by a few individuals and one in particular felt it necessary to comment on almost every photo and then not explain why. 

I did receive messages from a few people that my photos were annoying, narcissistic. Some went as far to say they were getting sick of seeing my face daily.  Even people who I was not associated on Facebook with sent messages ( good and bad.)  That mostly has to do with the fact that I made all of my posts  public.

Was I pissed ?  No, not me.  This project further proved to me I am a long way away from fully feeling total emotion.  On the plus side I was able to think logically and not let things get to me.

What always seems to surprise me and I am not sure why, is how people can be so rude and disrespectful even to people they know.  Now, I realize of course that not everyone I know on Facebook is a friend and ya, maybe at some point in my life those people may have been friends or a part of my life but are not now.  So most of their comments don’t really matter nor do the thoughts of people I don’t know.

Because I am not a believer in public shaming I will not name on my blog the person who felt it was ok to comment on almost every photo saying “ You are a brave man.” Or giving me a generic, elaborate story as to why or why not he kept commenting.  

However, I will say this……  He crossed lines when questioned about why he did it.  He insulted a friend, a close friend who I have the utmost respect for.  A friend who decided to defend me.  In messages he said I need to get her Laid and for her to “calm her tits.”  This is something that is not acceptable in any way, shape or form.

Insult, criticize and call me all the names you want, I can take it.  I can take verbal abuse…wel,l at least right now because I feel nothing.  Insult my friends and that is where I draw the line, especially when it is behind their back.  If you don’t like being called out for your childish acts by a friend of mine defending me then shut your mouth and hold your insults.

Damn rights I am brave, I am brave to have tolerated some disrespect for almost a year.  I am brave because I do put myself out there knowing that not everyone will be pleased with my actions.

In conclusion.  I dislike negative things, therefore this post is shorter than most. I take chances, not always smart ones but I would rather fail doing something that sit on my butt and do nothing.  If I succeed at a project, then great and if I fail and I show that it is ok to fail every once in a while then I am ok with that too.  This photo project in my mind was a success even with the criticism and disrespect I received which leads me to my next post…..Unexpected Inspiration .

Mini

The Selfie Project- Part 1

For one year I took a photo of myself once per day.  I only missed 3 days.

Recently Updated1

 

As a Photographer I ask people to stand in front of my lens and for brief moments show themselves as natural as possible in order to “get the best shot.”  Many times as these people are getting ready to pose for the camera I hear about their insecurities, physical insecurities.  It is my job to make them comfortable.

26

That last sentence is why I did the photo a day project.  If I am to make people comfortable with their insecurities I had to become comfortable with mine.   I needed to see myself beyond my thoughts about my physical imperfections.  I have always disliked seeing myself in photos.

17

I actually had larger plans with these photos.  I wanted to be super creative and do fun shots but after the first few I quickly realized that me in raw, authentic form is what was needed to make this work.  I did my best to tell a story from my day and not all the days were exciting or funny.  In fact most days were completely uneventful, some tough, some quite fun.

11

In the beginning it was easy.  Smile, take photo, add the date, the story or blurb and post to Facebook.  As the weeks passed it became harder because I began to do the things I had sometimes read about.  Instead of taking one photo then posting, I began to take multiple.  I tried to find the best angle, hide the bags under my eyes maybe limit my double chin.  I would waiver back and forth and some days I would only take the single shot.

25

Side note:  Before I began this project I was perfectly happy with my appearance, my smile and who I was.

23

It was when I began taking multiple photos before posting the perfect shot that I began picking apart my appearance.  I smiled everyday in each shot except I think 2.  Those 2 were days I was exhausted, too exhausted to even smile.  It doesn’t mean I wasn’t happy those days, just tired. 

13

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did I not like ?  My sometimes lazy eye, the bags under my eyes, my scar under my left eye, the cyst I have under my jaw or how exhausted I looked somedays. I hated when I could see how dry my skin was on certain days or the scars I have from small facial lacerations.  I hated that no one would really see what was going on behind my eyes, I hated even more that I did not have the courage to talk about it.   I started to not be comfortable with how I looked.  This is not acceptable.  We are all imperfect and yet we compare ourselves to what we think may be perfection.

 

3

The smiles.  Oh the smiles.  The good and the tough days I still smiled in the photos.  Why ?  That is a simple answer.  Everyday, no matter the joys, challenges or feelings of loneliness, I had a reason to smile.  The reasons differed but each day I could smile.  The biggest reason to smile is that I was given each new day whether I deserved it or not.  I was able to smile because each day I was trying to be better a better person than the day before.  Some days I succeeded, some I failed. But I smiled.

Recently Updated2

 

So what did I learn?  So, so much my friends.  Good, Bad and Ugly.  I could probably write a small novel about my lessons and leanings.

 

5443

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I learned just how much one person can really beat themselves up for thier own perceived flaws and how outwardly we can show people how much we like ourselves, our appearance and our lives but inside we question those same things.

22

 

 

 

21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I learned just how easy it is to manipulate our social media presence. 

Through photos, stories and daily posts that our friends see and read we can make our lives seem so damn amazing, meanwhile, the reality is that many of us are lost and our lives are not as amazing as they appear. 

Why would we show our real and Facebook friends anything other than perfection online ?   There were only a few who were able to notice my less authentic days through my photos.

2447

 

I learned that it is ok to be authentic. Yes at times I was criticized but who cares, I was me trying to be me.

 

25

16 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Authenticity. 

I did my best not to allow myself to create a perfect presence in these photos but I also bet very few people would really know the difference between my authentic smile and the one I forced on the harder days.  With each story that accompanied the photo I shared what I was doing, where I was ( sometimes) and a few of who I was with.  I was as authentic as I could be.

2841

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Likes. 

After taking time to review each photo before writing this it was clear to see it was almost the same people liking my photos each time.  I found at times I loved getting a lot of likes, it was rush and I actually felt maybe this wasn’t such a bad project.  There is a whole other piece to the likes that I will share in another post.

3731

Unexpected Impacts. 

Beyond the obvious likes and comments that regularly happened something else pretty awesome happened.  Something that I was unaware of until the photos stopped.  There were people who never liked a single photo, who didn’t comment once but made me aware of how much they appreciated and enjoyed seeing my photos daily.  One person going as far to say that seeing me smile each day helped them get through some of their harder days.  There is more to that story and I will be sharing in another post.  Whether you know it or not, people are watching even when you think no one is.  You can impact someone by just being you.

3229

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People will mock you. 

People will write unpleasant messages, people will block and remove you from their online presence. People will even post almost daily, in a mocking way and not explain in a clear manner why it was important for them to take that 20 seconds to post under your photo.  They didn’t seem to see how it was disrespectful and wrong Even with the mocking posts I still saw true friends who stuck up for me.  Good from the bad right ?

5143

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This project challenged me, made me happy and at times made me dislike myself but in the end I own every part of it and what it took to actually complete it.  It taught me that I need to keep doing odd stuff that people might find odd or intriguing because it gets me away from my comfort zone. 

In the end I have to say this.  I can’t promise I will never look at a photo of myself and be slightly insecure but I can promise that I will see beauty in my smile and what it can do, if even for a moment in mine or someone else’s life.

4933

Dear Universe. The Love Edition.

 

Universe, I am tired of the Friend Zone and being stuck there.

So. Damn. Sick. Of. it. IMG_2913   So, here it goes, are you ready ? 

Help Me Please.

4 and a half years single.  Yes, that’s correct.  That is the amount of time since I last seriously dated someone.  My last actual relationship definitely de railed me for far too long because I let it.  I am beyond that and have been for a while now.

For the first couple years after it ended I struggled with my own lack of confidence in myself and wondering if I could actually find someone who just wouldn’t give up when life went sideways?

The last couple years it was about my own healing my heart after my heart attack both physically and emotionally.  I am always healing and progressing from that.

I am as ready now as I feel I can be.  Waiting for the “right” moment may mean one waits forever. There is never the right time, nor the right moment so if I keep waiting until “I’m ready” then I may never be ready.  There is no perfect moment my friends.

I want love as much as anyone.  It is the one area of my life that I am really starting to notice the void.   I am actually starting to feel what lonely is.

You see, Universe.  Today I come to you with my Love life.  I am ready.

JULY WEDDING 838

You see Universe, I have tried dating and have not succeeded much at all. In some cases it was not the fault of the women with I spent time with.  Dating today is far different than the past. I struggle to adapt.

Universe, If I am to be honest, I have not really cared about dating or finding a girlfriend for a very long time.  That, has changed.

You see Universe, I get shy or as you know, I have trouble showing how I feel even though I do mean what I say. The struggle here is my worst enemy.

You see Universe, I don’t make my “move”, rather I say I am being patient or I make up an excuse for my lack of taking that chance.  I get confused easily by the signs I may or may not be getting from the fairer sex.

You see Universe, the most common question I get after a date is:

“Did you kiss her ?” My answer is always no.  This needs to change.

You see Universe, just once please give me the courage to kiss the girl and stop making excuses as to why it didn’t happen.

You see Universe, I ask you to prepare whomever may be someone special to me to be able to handle me.  I am not easy to love, at least in my mind.

You see Universe, I have not been confident with women or in myself since 2011.  I am now confident in myself but struggle with becoming more than friends.

You see Universe, I ask you to prepare whomever may be someone special to me to be able to handle me.  I am not easy to love, at least in my mind.


ME:

Universe, I need to you open my heart, help me to be open to love.

PICBLOG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Universe, please remove the fear inside.

Universe, help me to not want to run away just when I start to become close with someone.

Universe, I want to be comfortable enough to be myself around her and not who I think I have to be to capture her attention.  I am awesome in my own unique way and worth it.

Universe, help me to own my past, to be free to know that anyone who is not ok with my past health issues is not someone who I need to spend time on.

Universe, help me to not be scared to talk about it. A woman must know for it is only fair to her even if I get hurt in the end and she walks away.  I do not want to waste any woman’s time.

Universe, help me to never not be me because that is I need to love in order for someone to really love me.

Universe, help me to really realize I deserve to be loved, that I someone will see beyond me being just a friend and the nice guy.

Universe, allow me to be free to risk my heart and not be afraid to have it broken again.  In love, I have to accept that risk is always there but the upside to that risk is that there could be a lifetime love awaiting me.

Universe, help me to adapt to this new world of dating.

Universe, I am a traditional man, one who stills believes in romance and  little things.  This is how I was raised.  Help me to never lose sight of that because at times, I have in the past, thought that stuff didn’t matter anymore.

Universe, In the last 2 years I have really met “Me” and I like me, a lot.  I want someone to see that in it’s true Genuine form.

Universe, I am a fun, playful, silly, romantic, serious when I need to be and a very hopeful man.  A man who is in it for real, for the long haul.  I understand this may take some emotional endurance and time.

Universe, I know love is not all puppy dogs and rainbows, I know it takes work.  Always remind me of this. Always.

Universe, allow me to be accepting of her and all that she comes with as no one is perfect and we all have “something” or some baggage..  Help me to fall in love with her imperfections, quirks, dreams and  not just the things that may be perfect, charming, sweet, fun, endearing or great about her.  She is more than the perceived perfections.

Universe help me to not give up when a relationship challenge arises for that is when things really matter.

Universe, help me to learn to free up my time to make time for her.  Help me to want to be less busy and stop avoiding what I consider the emptiness of alone time, for I know, that is when I feel the most lonely.  I don’t want to be busy but I also don’t want to feel lonely anymore.

Universe, as a part of hoping to find someone special please help me keep the drive in my own passions for passion in one thing can lead to passion beyond.

Universe, most of all, open my heart to the possibilities that surround me and give me the emotional endurance to know it may take many dates with many women to find my perfectly, imperfect woman.

HER:

Universe, when it comes to the her, I ask for a little but ultimately just want someone who, when with her, we compliment, encourage, grow, love and challenge each other.  A woman who just keeps being herself.

HANDS

Universe I hope she is perfectly imperfect, independant,  confident and her own woman.

Universe, I want to her to have patience, especially because she will need that quality to date me.

Universe, I want her to be able to laugh at herself and be ok with laughing at me because, I am a goof and very clumsy.

Universe, I want her to be active in any manner that is enjoyable for her.  I am active and hope we can support each other in this area.

Universe, I want her to have her own interests as well as some we can share together and grow with.  I don’t just want her to like what I like because she likes me and vice versa.

Universe, open her heart to adventure, quiet nights in, cuddling, inside jokes.

Universe, I want her to be comfortable enough to be herself with me and not who she thinks she needs to be to capture my attention.

Universe I want to her know love and relationships take work and that she won’t give up when life challenges or upsets us.  I really need someone who won’t just walk away when things aren’t perfect or romantic comedy like.

Universe, you know I am done with the previous statement except to say I need someone who can handle the good and the tough.

In Conclusion:

Universe, I believe in love, I believe in you and I believe “my girl” is out there.  Believe in me.

Universe, should it be that I am not to meet someone and be a single man, that is something in which I will understand and always be happy with my life.

Please guide me in the direction for Love in whatever form that may be for the life I am to have.

 

Mini

HAPPY 2 YEAR HEARTAVERSARY TO ME !

IMG_2654

August 11, 2015.  This day,  I celebrated  me and 2 years of life post heart attack.  I wanted to be alone this day because it is my day, for me.

So how do I share a day so personal to me ? A day in which I think about the previous year and my growth.  I also begin to think about how I envision the coming year.

So what did I do ?

I started this day by visiting the beach court where I had my Heart Attack.  I sat alone for a while in thought….surrounded by kids playing at a day camp around me.  I smiled as these kids played tag, threw dodgeballs at each other and had sand fights.  Then it came to me…..sorta.  Seeing all of this around me gave me a Happy Heart 🙂

Now, before I continue…..I used the hastag #happyheart for the day but #happyheart is not my original idea.  For this, I give credit to my heart sister Sarah Klena from http://heartattackat31.blogspot.ca/.  She created T shirts this year to raise money for American Heart Association.  Ultimately that hashtag was created by her and I will give credit where it is due.  I think about #happyheart a lot since Sarah first brought it forward.

So, after I took the photo below, I posted it to Facebook and asked my friends to share with me their stories that made gave them a #happyheart.  I would read these at the end of my day when I returned to social media.

IMG_2648

Now, I will get back to this in a moment.

My Heataversary is like my New Years minus any drinking and kissing someone at midnight ( unless someone wants to join me in a kiss. )

The rest of my day was driving through Southern Alberta and stopping to take in the scenery.  I wanted badly to just be alone.  Alone to be with my thoughts and to go about my day with only having to worry about where or what I would do next.  There was no direct plan other than to drive and take photos.

IMG_2757

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2731

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2765

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2838

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2994

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2967

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2998

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photos above are from various points along the route I drove and places I stopped. Truth is, I did not think much for the first half the drive, I simply took in the scenery.  Whether it was the vast fields, mountains in the distance or the various Horses, Sheep and Cows along the way.  It was completely breathtaking and relaxing.

Then came the drive home and although earlier I had thought about the direction I hope to go in the coming year, another thoughts came to me.

IMG_2976

You see, I have definitely grown in the last 24 months and come so far but one thing occurred to me.  I still play things too safe and don’t take as many risks as maybe I should.  I still play it safe. So then my mind wandered as to why.

The answer is not as simple as I thought.  I thought I have been taking more chances the last 2 years and yes I have taken a couple BUT I still played it safe by not pushing myself to reach beyond what I think are my limitations and in matters of the heart.  I won’t go into too much detail as this is a little personal for now but I will say this……

I NEED TO STOP BEING SO AFRAID OF NOT BEING QUITE GOOD ENOUGH.

I NEED TO MAKE A MOVE

I NEED TO TAKE HARD STEPS

I NEED TO TRY EVEN MORE

I NEED TO BE OK WITH MAKING MISTAKES

BECAUSE ALL OF THIS MEANS……I AM BEATING MY OWN FEARS.

IMG_2939

The drive home passed quickly with no stops for photos and although I was deep in thought, I was actually happy.  Happy because, if you remember at the beginning of this post I said I wanted to be alone.

Somewhere along that highway I realized I wanted to be with friends, I really wanted to be around people to end my day.  Lucky for me, my team had a dodgeball game that night.  I had planned to skip the game to be alone, I honestly did not want people to see me at all.  I am thankful that I changed my mind.

That game was our first win of the season, it was a fun game and I felt completely in my element being with people I love being around, playing a sport I love.  Playing the sport in which I was playing the day my heart attack occurred.  Kinda like slaying the demon in my head.

IMG_3058

 

After the game we were invited to a our team mate Jesse’s place for a BBQ and a Beer.  I had declined this invite a few times actually but eventually decided to go.  BEST DECISION !

Ending my day with these amazing people was the perfect ending to a great day.  A day of celebration, reflection and just being one with myself, nature and in the end, my friends.

I am thankful for life, thankful for growth and I am thankful I get another shot at living every single day.

2 Years later I am thankful for my Heart Attack because it was my eye opener and my life line.

IMG_2873

 

Celebrate life and make someone happy, make them smile because as a quote I read the other day said.

“If you have the power to make someone happy, do it.  The world needs more of that. “

–Don’t know the author.-

Happy Heartaversary to me 🙂   Here is to many more !!

My First Tattoo :) 38 by 38

Fire and Ice Heart- The Heart represents the soul; who someone truly is.  The Fire represents passion, verve, emotion.  The Ice represents logic, confidence, calm. The two together fuse into a combo much stronger than their individual parts.  Synergy.

 This synergy makes up a large of the soul, hence the Heart.

tatt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have always wanted a tattoo and like most people ( definitely not all)  I wanted something that was “ME”.  So, 37 years of age, it finally happens.  I mean, granted it took a life changing event, recovery and thinking about my own traits.

Oh and I can’t forget… 2 missed appointments and months of sneding random messages of what I was looking for to my artist.

So ummm obviously the tattoo was going to be Heart related considering I had a little heart misfunction almost 2 years ago…..holy crap…2 years !!

The final result is a Fire and Ice Heart described meaning above.  Each part of the description describes me or traits I wish I had or had previously possessed.

She is not complete yet but I am so proud of this tattoo.  I love it more than I can express.  It is a reminder of how far I have come, how far I will go, to never give up.  I love showing it off every chance I get.

My Artist.  I cannot say enough about this woman.  She has patience like no other, I mean she had to deal with me right ?

Her name: Ashla Bee,  she works at Human Kanvas in Airdrie, Alberta.

TATT2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have known this fantastic, talented  woman for close to 10 years. I we worked at the same place and even starred in commercials when we were younger for that company.

There was no doubt in my mind that she was the one who I would ask to take on my tattoo.  I loved seeing her artwork on Facebook and seeing how much she loves what she does.  I knew she would  listen to my craziness and add a little touch of “her” to the design.

Thank you Ashla for making this man so proud to wear your art, for making the experience a lot of fun and for being patient with me 🙂

 

MINI

 

 

1st Half Marathon Post Heart Attack- What an experience !

My First Half Marathon Post Heart Attack !

 318778_199854622_XLarge

It took me a while to write this.  I had to sort through all my thoughts on this race.

I trained hard, I was dedicated, I pushed when I wanted to give up, kept going to the gym even when I didn’t feel like it.  Every moment leading up to the race was a challenge.  I was as ready as I was going to be.  My mind, my body felt strong.

Now, before I dive into this further please understand I am very proud of finishing the race and no one can take that away from me.  The pride and the finish.

I spent time before the race meeting friends, taking photos and having my photo taken many times thanks to people loving my race shirt ! The Shirt….that is for another post.

JUNE2015NEWPH 3832 JUNE2015NEWPH 3833 JUNE2015NEWPH 3834

To say I was nervous would be the biggest understatement of the day. 

I was ready to take this race and make it mine.  In my training I had felt amazing, was running an 11:45 min/mile.  I only had a few blips while training but worked through it smartly.

Smart.  That here is the key word my friends.  I trained not for speed, I trained to be smart, healthy and to ensure I was having fun.  Trained not to think too much about my heart attack and what could go wrong.  I felt so amazing !

Then came race day.  Up at the crack of crazy ( 3am) for a start time of 7:00 am.  I never publicly stated I had a goal but in my head I wanted to finish in 2:25.  That is what I trained for.

I won’t detail every kilometre, I promise. 

The course was amazing, flat, scenic.  The weather was cool at the start and quite warm as the race progressed.  The first kilometre and a half I ran with my friend Susan but realized her 9 min per mile pace was too much for me and out of my training zone.  I let her go ahead because I did not want her to stay behind for me.  I really wanted to do the whole race with her but realized she was a lot faster than I was.  Respect the pace, respect the distance is exactly what was going through my head.

318778_199569242_XLarge

The first 5 KM I felt amazing, was matching my 12 min/ mile pace and just before the 5 km mark I stopped to see my friend Danielle who was waiting kindly for me by the Starbucks in Bridgeland.  It was so good to see my friend Danielle on the course, it gives you a little boost to keep pushing forward.  I took a photo with her and off I went.

Danielle and I :)
Danielle and I 🙂

 

As I ran back across Memorial Drive I was loving the race having fun with other runners and was still keeping a 12 min mile but  that was not to last much longer.

It was slightly before reaching 17th avenue that a little fatigue had started to set in.  This was between kilometre 8 and 9.   

17th Avenue.  What do I say about this part of the course ? It was definitely the worst part of the entire course.  It was 2.5 km of uneven roads, pot holes and a narrowing of the course.  Pedestrians crossed at a few points from the sides of the street.  Just before Kilometre 10 is when my race started to go downhill.

I went to pass 3 runners who were running side by side by side.  As I cut to the right I hit a dip in the road hard, twisted my knee, tried to brace myself from falling right over ( BIG MISTAKE !).  It took about another KM before I started feeling immense pain.  Now in theory this could have absolutely ruined my race but something great came out of it.  The Injury?  A Sprained Knee which I am still battling the pain of a few weeks later.

I MAY JUST BE IN A LITTLE PAIN HERE :(
I MAY JUST BE IN A LITTLE PAIN HERE 🙁

 

As I went to walk to the side once the pain started, I bumped into a young woman, apologized and we laughed.  This woman would be one of 2 that I ran/ walked the rest of the race with.  Her name was Lindsay.  The other girl was Shona.

The rest of the race we paced each other, taking walk breaks and although I admitted being in pain, I downplayed it.  I remember at one point,  Shona had said I was the reason she was running and staying in it.  That was awesome to hear and yes, it motivated my ass to keep going.

318778_199751586_XLarge

318778_199516843_XLargeMy pace slowed to between 14-16 minutes per mile.  There were far more walk breaks than I had hoped for but I knew pushing harder would have made this injury worse.  So I did what I seem to do best in hard situations.  

I laughed.  I danced.  I chatted with those around me.  I posed as I ran past cameras.  I hugged a random person.  I pretended to be Superman, only, I was missing my Lois Lane.  My Knee was my race kryptonite but it would not wreck my spirit.  I kept repeating encouragement to my run mates as they did with me. This race was still mine.

 

The final kilometre was upon us and yes I continued to run/walk right up until the final corner where I ran, in tons of frickin pain but I ran.  That finish line looked so close and yet so far away.  The three of us kinda split at the end.  I would run into Lindsay again at Bag Check and a few days later on Instragram.

Crossing the finish line.  OH. MY. GOD.  So much awesome that it is hard to put into words.

I Crossed, I Cried ( that is again  for another post), crouched to my knees after crossing, got up and walked up to… and this is where it gets really cool.

 Her name is Sarah Lynn Stephens.  The day before the race she saw me at the packet pick up and told me I would finish and do amazing. Little did I know til later that the girl I got my medal from, who’s shoulder I cried on was the same girl who had encouraged me before the race.  A Girl who’s sister is actually on one of my Dodgeball teams.  Small World.  318778_199763060_XLarge

Seriously such an awesome finish, I would not have changed a thing.

The Race was fun, tough, but fun.  My Heart felt amazing, not once was I worried about my heart. It was my heart that got me through to the finish.  My body was up to the task at hand and I had fun for the entire 21.1 km.  I made a couple new friends, experienced brief emotion ( again a different post), finished a race and became very proud of what I accomplished even if it wasn’t the goal time I had hoped. 

 

 

 

So what else is there to say?

 

318778_199841262_XLarge

 

 

When you set out to accomplish a goal, No matter how hard you train, how prepared you are…..Sometimes things don’t go as you had hoped or planned.  Sometimes we search and try for one thing but discover another.  There is no reason to be disappointed if you don’t get your time or PR and complete your goal.  Use it to move forward but don’t beat yourself up, be proud of what you did accomplish and look for what made the experience great. 

 

For me, it was two women who made me laugh, crossing the finish line, crying on the shoulder of someone who said they were proud of me and in the end……Kicking Heart Disease’s Ass for yet another day.

-MINI-

 

318778_199881081_XLarge

The post that wasn’t……Trained Well. What Are You Afraid Of ?

Before you read the actual blog post below, there is something I must say.

I wrote the following a few days before I ran my Half Marathon.  I did not post this because although I wanted to believe the words, a part of me was still too scared to share what was going through my head.  These words got into my head after I wrote this so, I decided not to post.

Until tonight.

Why is it that we all are afraid to admit what scares us ?  Even when we feel confident outwardly we still don’t share.  So, my friends, I was sacred, scared enough not to share.  I can’t let continuous fear hold me back, so here it goes… Read on, if you wish.

 

TRAINED WELL……WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF ?

If you have trained well, what are you afraid of ?

This question was posed the other day in a conversation when I was discussing my upcoming Half Marathon as well as my training the last few months.

I have put a lot of time into my training, truthfully, it has almost been to the point of obsession.  I have never felt more focused in training than I have the last few months.  I want to have my best run ever.

So, what am I afraid of ?

Well, for starters, I have run 5 previous Half Marathons.  I was training for my 6 th when my Heart Attack Occurred.  OK, well it didn’t happen while running but it happened a few weeks before my big race.

I know exactly what it takes to run 22 kms, 13.1 miles.  I know the toll it can take on the body. I know how hard it can be mentally.  The internal battles with every step.  I know how the elements of weather can change and affect a persons body.

 

My First Half Marathon- Jan 2012 in Disneyworld.
My First Half Marathon- Jan 2012 in Disneyworld.

I am now doing this race knowing all of this and being aware that I have Heart Disease, that I am running with a 70 % blockage that was never surgically fixed. Let that sink in a bit.  Not to mention the various other 70’s and 50’s you can see in the pics below.

It is like being told before you start something that you are already have a disadvantage. This is a a disadvantage that you must overcome and no one around you would know. 

That part will never leave my head.

HEART 018

This is the farthest distance I will have run consistently in 2 years.  My highest training mileage was 15 kms in the controlled environment of the Gym.  Kinda protected I’d say, wouldn’t you ?

To be clear, I do not fear death.

I fear the headaches.  I have been battling a small concussion for a few weeks now which has limited some running and other activities.  They have subsided for the most part.

I do fear that as prepared as I am, that my heart could shut me down.  Not another Heart Attack.  I fear not being able to finish the race that I have been so dedicated to training for.

2MILES

I mean, if my heart races too hard or the heat makes it too hard on my heart that I will have to pull out of the race. I will pull out.

It plays in my head that maybe I am not trained enough or that my heart may not quite be up to the challenge.

I fear my lack of emotion since my Heart Attack.

I fear the effect of my medications,

Let me explain.  

Most of my training was has been at night, 12-16 hours after I have taken my medication, a couple hours before I take my night time meds.

I take medication that does suppress my heart rate and my blood pressure.  I will have to take these within about an hour or two before my race.  So what is the effect ?

I have trained my heart rate to be at a consistent 145- 150 beats per minute at night while running. Given that I am taking my meds so close to race time, it will seem like more work and most likely my heart rate during the race won’t exceed 125-130.  I have done exercise on meds before but it has been a while, so, I truthfully don’t know how hard this could end up being.

My biggest fear ultimately is that I will let these thoughts get to me at some point during those 22 km.  I am so afraid that I will allow these fears to overtake the strengths I know I have and ultimately make me give up out of fear.

So why write about this ? Because tonight and until I cross that finish line I am giving a big F YOU  to these thoughts.  Why ? Because I have let them control me the last few weeks. and I am taking control back, for me, for my goal.

So, to answer the question.

 Today I fear nothing because I know I can do this.  I have already beaten many challenges in the last 20 months and I will finish this race.

I will finish because I am strong, I am healthy, I am confident and I am trained as best I can.  Let’s not forget… I am also…..

Pretty. Damn. Awesome.

IPHONE JUNE 14 581
My First 10 K – 9 Months after my Heart Attack.

Mini

 

 

7 DAYS

7 Days from now I will run my first Half Marathon Post Heart Attack.

calendar_week_on_2_pages-MonThruSun

7 Days from now I will put my training and hard work to the test.

7 Days from now, I will be 100% focused.

7 Days from now I will equipped and prepared.

7 Days from now I will face fear head on.

7 Days from now I will beat my fear.

7 Days from now I will take the first step to more races.

7 Days from now I will encourage others as I run.

7 Days from now I will have fun.

7 Days from now I will dance on the course.

7 Days from now I will feel physical pain.

7 Days from now I will beat that pain.

7 Days from now I will feel joy.

7 days from now I will embrace that joy.

7 days from now I will run, walk, crawl if I have to.

7 days from now I will finish the race, even if it’s in last place.

7 Days from now…..Simply….I WILL.

 

Mini.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...