2016 was my year Part 3 – A Muddy Girl and a Love Story.

 

2016 was my year Part 3 – A Muddy Girl and a Love Story.

 

There she was, covered in mud and doing burpees, looking like it was tough, so I looked at her, told her “ You’ve got this”  gave her encouragement.  Her green eyes shined through mud and we began to talk as she joined Sarah, Al and I for the rest of the challenge.  I will not say it was love at first sight but I was entrapped by her smile and energy immediately.  A few obstacles later, a mesh climbing wall, I told her to go ahead of me, to be nice…ok, I will be honest because she knows the truth.  I totally got her to go ahead so I could check out her muddy bum.

 She was fun and doing great, she completed the race with us.

We lost Sarah at the end briefly and took some photos together and separately. 

A few photos later, I asked for her number under the guise of “texting her the photos I took on my phone.” While asking for her number, the speakers were playing “ Call Me Maybe” by Carly Jepson.  HAHHAH….Smooth right ?  She had no clue of what I was thinking.  We went to the outdoor showers and cleaned off, each taking turns with the cold water from the hose, fully clothed just to be clear !  We were in public after all and of course, I am a sweet and innocent man ( BS right there my friends !)

Once we were cleaned up we met up with Sarah and Al and headed to the beer gardens where we enjoyed some food, a ton of wasp swatting and a beverage. Our conversations with each other went on for I think close to 2 hours before I knew I had to leave as I had arranged a photo shoot in Black Diamond.  I pushed our conversation right to the limit of time, knowing I would not have long to get to my shoot. Worth it !  I arrived at my shoot covered in Mud but that is ok, it was for a kids birthday.  I figured I would be rolling in the grass once I got there anyway, which rally was kinda true.

We walked towards our vehicles alone, Sarah and Al far behind us, or so I thought hahah.  As we got closer to where she was parked, we stopped and I asked her if I could maybe call her and meet up, kindly she said yes, little did I know how much this moment would change so much for me.  As I was asking, Sarah and Al were walking towards us and I stumbled on my words but still got them out just before they arrived haha.  We parted ways, me knowing how silly busy my schedule was and wondering how I would even get time to see her.  I wanted to see her, this was a first for me in a long time, could she handle my crazy sched ?  Would she get annoyed?  Nope and Nope.  That girl was ….well….

Persistent.  We couldn’t get together with my sched and of course me going out for my birthday ?  That is another funny story.  I had no plans originally, told her so, then after a last minute mind change and call from a friend, I went out.  Well, she was baffled and a little like WTF ?  This only motivated her more, we texted a bit more then she said…..next Thursday, let’s meet.  Direct and to the point, so a date was made for August 25th at Jamieson’s Pub in Brentwood.  Her persistence was exciting for me, someone ACTUALLY wanted to see me, little old me !  No one special, just me.

The first date.  Simple, conversation and beverages.  So much conversation, the hours went by faster than we both wanted, we were engaged in the moment.   Niether one of us wanted the night to end and her persistence once again came through as we decided to continue the conversation until late.

As I walked her to her truck, we talked some more and nervously I went in for a kiss.  I was not 100 % sure she was into me as most times with women I am clueless.  After that kiss, I knew I was in.  I immediately was drawn into her kisses, they filled me with all the tingles and warmth.

The conversation continued well into the evening.  It was nice to have some honest conversation.

8 months later, I am in love, I have met her kids and I feel more love than I thought I ever would deserve.  My office is covered in drawings, my time is spent now planning kid friendly dates going on our own dates, talking late into the evenings about everything both personal and humorous, reading bed time stories, building lego, playing kid card games and having a “kid “ calendar.  My life and heart are full.

None of this would have happened if I had not opened my heart or let someone in.  My girl’s persistence is the one thing that stands out most to me.  No woman has ever pursued me like this before, no one has shown me love the way she does, with actions far more than words.  She is appreciative, romantic and I love the look on her face when she sees me because it is the same look I get on mine and I know how she is feeling.  Her smile is my favorite feature because her whole face lights up and I love the crinkles she gets beside her mouth alongside her cheeks.  Admittedly her cute bum is a close second 😉

She is not perfect but she is perfect for me.  I am excited to see where this goes.

 

2016 was my year Part 2 – Dodgeball

2016 was my year Part 2 – Dodgeball

 

I love playing Dodgeball, this is no secret to those who know me well.  2016 was a great Dodgeball year. 

I play on two different teams and have been doing this for as long as I can remember.  Sometimes, I wonder how many years I have left in me, my body gets so tired and sore but I keep going back.  I love the punishment haha.

In 2016, my teams won 4 championships.  My Wednesday and Thursday Teams won in the Spring seasons.  One of my teams also won a Dodgeball Tournament.  My beach team also won during Spring.  Every season is different, sometimes we play all great teams all year and in some leagues we play a few Douchey teams, which ruin the fun aspect of it but with the teams I am on, the fun eventually prevails.

Most of my team mates I have played with for almost 10 years, in some years they were on opposing teams and we came together to form other teams.  These people are friends and to varying degrees like family to me, we spend so much time together.  We have been through a lot together as teams and friends, I love these people.

My Dodgeball families, when we are not having fun and trying to win games are there to support me in my biggest endeavor each year.  Teddy for a Toonie Dodgeball Tournament to raise money for The Alberta Children’s Hospital.  

5 tournaments now and each one so much fun and the support is amazing, we have raised close to $10,000.00 in 5 years and I am hoping the 6th year goes even better than past years.  My Dodgeball family has stepped up without being asked each year.  Whether it is creating schedules, organizing themes, prizes, baking cookies,  creating drafts, finding teams and lifting me up when tournament 3 almost didn’t happen because I was recovering from my Heart Attack.

I could easily write an entire blog post thanking the people each by name, that is how great the support is.

Last years tournament followed the fun, raised about $1500.00  ( i cannot remember the exact # in my head right now.) , created new friendships and renewed fun rivalries.  Every year there are new teams, and faces, friendly familiar faces, odd photos and each tourney is different in it’s own way.  This is always a highlight of each year, all the hard work, stress leading up to the event becomes worth it on event day.

I find it hard to put into words how much all of these exciting events last year mean to me.  Dodgeball in an odd way is one of my fun reasons to live, it gives me a sense of meaning, belonging and friendship and truthfully it brings me so much love, love that is not defined by status but by a common love for a sport that abuses the crap out of us haha.

Soon to come is my 2017 Teddy for a Toonie Dodgeball Tournament, I am thinking positive here and just know it will all go well and again we will come through for the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

This post may be short but it means so much in so few words.  Dodgeball, my sport, my fun, my friends,  a huge win in 2106 for me, even if we had not won anything.  Ultimately it brings my people together and I would not change it for the world.

 

Next up: A muddy girl and finding love in a race.

2016 was a Great Year – Part 1

I have wanted to write this for months but found reasons not to.  I was afraid of upsetting those whom had bad years.  I realized, i cannot control if they compare their wins and losses to mine, I can be proud of what I do and share it.

2016 was rough so many people I know, it seemed like a shit year.  NOT FOR ME.

Yes, I had a great year, one of the best years of my life.

So, why write about this now ?  Because there comes a point when you have to share your wins, how you not achieved your goals but totally annihilated them.  It also can allow me to share how I did it.

I also want to start moving forward and working on new goals for 2017, that I have kinda left behind.

My accomplishments in 2016 were as follows.

  1. Completed Goofy Challenge, a half marathon on one day and a marathon the next.
  2. Completed 3 Spartan Races, each with it’s different challenges.
  3. Won 2 Dodgeball Championships with great teams.
  4. Had my 5th successful Teddy for a Toonie Dodgeball tournament to raise money for the Alberta Children’s Hospital
  5. Took my dream trip to Thailand, it is finally time to talk about this trip.
  6. Met my girlfriend after 5 ½ years of being single, because I opened my heart up.

 

Lets start with the physical accomplishments:

 

2016 was my most physically challenging year, I put myself in training mode for all of 2016.  I got in the best shape of my life so far.  I also completed events that I never believed before that I could.

It is not new news that I had a heart attack in 2013.  Since then, I have done a lot to get better and healthier, I have screwed up along the way. I trained most of 2015 for my first big event in 2016.  While others were sleeping, I was at the gym, out running on the streets because I wanted to complete Disneyworld’s Goofy Challenge. 

That event was so big for my mental and physical health, it cannot be understated that it was a huge turning point in my life.  I began to feel emotion the very second I knew I was going to finish The Marathon part of the challenge.  I cried, I let 3 years of pain and thoughts release.  I knew at that point, I could do anything.  Which leads to Spartan.

My friend Sarah Waite had signed up and encouraged me to join her.  This was her goal, her races, her proving to herself that she could do it.  I did not know how much it would change me and my life, I signed up to support her and in the end I learned so much from her and the races.

 

Spartan Sprint:  August 13, 2016.  5 km of running/walking and obstacles.  The race did take us a couple hours, by the end we completed 5km covered in mud with bumps, bruises, excitement and yes some hard moments.  I also during that race encouraged a woman while doing burpees that she “had this” .  In that moment, I met my girlfriend and in turned my life changed.  We all went for drinks after at the beer tent but sadly it ended early due to commitments we all had.  I was so proud of Sarah for pushing through the first of our 3 Races, the smile on her face was so large.  She is pretty awesome.

Spartan Super: September 4, 2016.  14 km of running, walking, obstacles and facing fears.  This race was far more challenging.  Ruuning through fields of cow crap, harder obstacles, more bumps, bruises, cuts and mud.  Sarah and i both had to encourage each other to press on at various moments.  We both got tired, hurt all over and I faced a fear of jumping into water and swimming across a small spot on a lake.  I was scared shitless but Sarah was there to encourage me to do it, she helped instill confidence in me that I could do it.  I did it and felt so proud of me and Sarah said she was proud of me.  That made me happy, afterall, I was suppose to be the one supporting her and she showed me that goes 2 ways.  We finished that race in like 4 hrs and went for a drink after, we were the last ones in the beer tent at the end of the day and it was such a great moment sharing that with her.  Next up would be the beast……in Kamloops.

Spartan Beast:  September 24, 2016.  26 kms of what I could best describe as a pure Hell.  35 obstacles, more scrapes, pains, bruises, mind fucks and not so much mud this time.  This race was so damn hard, the first 7 km were uphill, we encountered rude volunteers that tried to get Sarah kicked off the course for standing up for self.  There were many moments we both had to help each other get out of our own heads, push through the pain and push through the moments when we both wanted to stop.  Having a friend to push and encourage you can make so much of a difference.  During the race we met a team from Edmonton called the battle monkeys.  These humans made a difference in our race, we all supported each other, different people took on different leadership roles at times when it was needed.  These people included us in their race and at the finish, they even asked us to join them in their finish photo jumping over the line of fire.  We all laughed, shared in our accomplishment and  now will do another race in 2017.

Lessons learned here: 

  1. Surround yourself with positive people, you may even find them in the oddest of places.
  2. Push yourself, even when you feel like giving up.
  3. Set goals and go about them silently, leading by example rather than by voice.
  4. Get uncomfortable
  5. Be open to the unexpected
  6. Listen to your heart
  7. Do what others won’t so you can do what other can’t
  8. Encourage everyone you meet, it may change your life.

 

So, if you are reading this and comparing, please don’t, in fact share with me, your wins.  Ask me questions, maybe just maybe I will challenge you.

Next up, Dodgeball and meeting a Girl.

2017 Time to write again.

2017 Time to write again.

 

For most 2016 was to put it lightly was a pretty rough year.  I saw many friends hit some lows, struggle with themselves in relation to the world.  I spoke with friends who battled depression, loss, illness and many other things that made life tough.

For me, 2016 was a mix of both challenge and greatness but the great did not come until I began to open myself up.  I stopped updating my blog, in part because I got super busy and part because I was struggling with myself.  It is so hard to write when your mind wanders so much that you have no idea what to add to your blog.  I was struggling with my direction and struggling as I stepped away from comparison.  Comparison with other bloggers, photographers and others whom I deem successful.  I wanted to be like some of these people but needed to figure out how not to keep selling myself short. To accept talents that I play down, things about me that although drive some people crazy but others love immensely.  I am “just me”.

 

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Photo Courtesy of POP Photography. Maggie Manchester

You see, I also made myself way too busy, which only briefly distracted me from the fact that although I am a caring person I began to pull back.  The pull back came from stress, from loneliness and from rejection from some people.  I made myself busy to block people from getting too close. To me, my heart was too valuable to allow it to keep getting rejection from people who, now I realize were not worth the effort.  This lead to just being afraid of even trying for the ones who were worth it.  When you are afraid of people getting too close because you don’t think you are worth people’s time then you find a way to still be around people but keep them at a distance.  Because, I love people and the energy I gain from them.

I did surround myself with things I enjoyed doing like my photography, volunteering, reffing hockey and for a brief moment…writing.  I would say around May, maybe June I began to realize that by keeping people at a distance, I was hurting myself.  When you desire companionship, like most humans do, pulling away only increases the loneliness.

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The one thing I have yet to mention, is that since January, I began to feel a spattering of emotion again.  Now, you may be thinking, awesome dude, I know how much you were struggling with no feelings.  Ya, wrong, not awesome.  My first emotion to come back was anger.  I was not being as patient as I use to, this was affecting me at work and I wanted to be alone a lot more when I was on my own time.

I began taking forever to return messages, texts and calls.  This did lead to losing potential clients and made a few friends angry.  I know when stressed or anxious, I tend to pull back, to think and also to be sure I do not say something harmful to people.

As time went on, I knew something had to change, I needed to learn to deal and to make a few changes.

So, the first step was to finally book a trip I have wanted to do for years but made every excuse not to.  May 2016, on an impulse I booked a trip to Thailand then asked for the time off.  Risky ?  yes, there is a chance I could get the time declined.  Toss it into the universe, I thought.  My hunch was right and it worked.  This became life changing for me.

I had also signed up for another insane physical challenge as this is something I need to keep moving forward in my life.  At the urge of my friend Sarah, I signed up to do the Spartan Trifecta challenge.  Little did she or anyone know then, that this stretched my budget, I really couldn’t afford it but I also couldn’t afford not to.  I wanted to support her in her journey not knowing exactly how all of this would affect me.  Supporting her changed me.  These events over the summer and fall would also be life changing for me.  I still battled anxiety and even some self doubt going into these but it was, just like the Goofy challenge in January about remembering what one person can overcome when they stop doubting and start doing, even when scared.

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I have no idea what 2017 will bring, nor am I making resolutions.  I will, like always make some goals, sign up for a few things that challenge me and continue on the road that I started in 2017 which has help me build confidence, open my heart again and start to realize that even if the things I do drive people nuts, they make me who I am and why some people love me.

Writing has been a great outlet and I have so much to talk to about and for  the first time, I don’t care if people “Like” what I write because at the end of the day, my blog is for me to share my wins, my losses, my challenges and document my life and my continued journey since my Heart Attack.

I may have readers, I may not but that is ok.  Let it be what it will be as I go along.  Set goals and keep kicking ass. 

I cannot promise I will be perfect at updating this blog, I can promise, in the very least, I will try.

Cheers to a rockin 2017 my friends !

 

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