Podcast Love

My experiences training for half marathons, & completing my recent run streak, have involved many dates with the treadmill or the trail. Some runners are motivated by music, & while there’s definitely a place for a catchy song or two on race day (I have a weird love of Flo Rida & Nelly pump up music. Anyone else??), music just doesn’t entertain me for more than a mile or two during long runs. But . . . podcasts definitely do! My love for both learning & story telling make podcasts a perfect fit. Here’s my top 10 picks:

  1. Stuff You Missed in History Class: I feel like hosts Tracy & Holly are my best friends, they just don’t know it! These awesome ladies publish two episodes each week, featuring little known, but important, historical events in an absolutely engaging & charming way. I’ve even incorporated several episodes into assignments for my Social classes.
  2. Serial: Cause ‘duh! Season 1 > Season 2, but both are worth a listen.
  3. Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids: This is possibly the funniest podcast on earth. Adults dig through their old writing, & share the most beautiful/honest/cringe-worthy pieces in front of a live audience. I once had to pull over on the highway because I was crying from laughing so hard. P.S. I read some of my own deep, dark secrets from an old journal at their Saskatoon show last spring, but, thankfully, they didn’t make the podcast episode.
  4. Criminal: Phoebe Judge is an amazing host with an amazing voice. Every two weeks the good folks at Criminal publish a quirky new episode that looks at crime in totally unexpected ways. They’re also the creators of my favourite podcast episode of all time: “He’s Neutral.” It. will. blow. your. mind.
  5. Invisibilia: Like Serial, Season 1 > Season 2. This podcast from NPR is all about the invisible forces that control human behaviour. This one makes you think, & think, & think . . . in the best way possible.
  6. Death, Sex, & Money: Anna Sale is the bomb, & probably the best interviewer on the planet, at least in my opinion. She talks to celebrities & ordinary people about subjects that are normally taboo. This is the meaty stuff of real life.
  7. Only Human: From WNYC, this is a show about the human side of health that doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable conversations. Relatable & refreshing.
  8. Revisionist History: If you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s books, this one is pretty self-explanatory. If you haven’t, take a day off work, go directly to the closest Chapters, & emerge enlightened.
  9. The Doc Project: As I’ve gotten older, my dream job has morphed from journalist, to teacher, to career counsellor, to English prof., to radio documentary creator, partly thanks to this show. Every episode is a unique look at a new subject, since the show is a collection of documentaries produced by a variety of individuals.
  10. Someone Knows Something: This is pretty much the Canadian answer to Serial. Season 1 had me hooked, & the first episode of season 2 was just released & is just as intriguing, & perhaps even more so.

Happy listening!

Continue Reading

Movement is Medicine: Reflections on a 40 Day Run Streak

I headed into the final 15 day stretch of my October Run Streak Challenge feeling hopeful that my running habit would be solidified, & that it would become something that I could carry forward once the month ended. I am confident in saying that I have been successful on both accounts!

I hit the gym for days 17 & 18 with few problems, but faced a challenge on day 19. Having spent my evening helping with set-up for a grad fundraiser, & partaking in several delicious slices of the pizza we had ordered for the kids , I had to suffer through an extremely full mile at 9:30 at night. Days 20-26, went by without any significant hiccups, but day 27 brought another scheduling nightmare. I spent the day in Wainwright at a PD session, came home to change, rushed off to a special dinner meet holocaust survivor  Eva Olsson (you can read about the amazing experience here), went directly from dinner to Eva’s evening presentation & then returned to the school to make sub-plans, as I was registered for another PD conference the next day! Whew! After all of that, I was emotionally & physically  exhausted. I literally had not had a spare minute, but I made it to the gym at 10:00 p.m. & got ‘er done. I spent day 28 at a conference in Edmonton, then met up my Mom & brother, who came back to Vermilion for a visit. They drove along beside me as I took advantage of the beautiful weather for a night run. On day 29 we returned to the city, & I spent some time shopping with my Mom. Knowing I wouldn’t make it back home until after midnight, we measured out the distance in the Toys R’ Us parking lot, & I jogged 8 loops around the make-shift track in my mukluks. Having supportive people around really makes a huge difference because they help to hold you accountable to your goals, even in less than conventional circumstances! Days 30 & 31 were uneventful in comparison, & I enjoyed Halloween night, soaking in my sense of accomplishment for having completed my goal.

However, my feelings were obvious: I wasn’t quite ready to give up on my streak that easily. After all, I’d already ran for 31 days straight. Couldn’t I do a few more? So, I did. My streak officially came to an end on Day 40. While I was sad to see it go, I also felt an enormous sense of relief.

  • The streak taught me that excuses about lack of time & energy are just that: excuses. They aren’t valid. If you decide you want to pursue a goal badly enough, if you care about something deeply enough, if you are invested in something passionately enough, you can (& you WILL) find the time to make it happen.
  • The streak taught me that running is natural. A body in motion, stays in motion. Our bodies are meant to move. They are meant to carry us. They are meant to be strong. Running consistently feels so good because it’s what our bodies were built to do. It also helped me to maintain my weight without being constantly worried about the effects of indulging in snacks & sweets.
  • The streak taught me that movement is medicine. Running is a cathartic exercise. There is both immediate & lasting relief in the steady regularity of steps, & in the rhythm of heartbeats. I began to crave my uninterrupted tine to run each day because it was dedicated to ME. My wellbeing & my body were put first for those few minutes, & I would put on a podcast, & lose myself in the act of running, untangling the knots in the fabric of my life that had accumulated throughout the day. I almost always finished a run feeling better than when I started.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What does one do after running for 40 days straight? Well, I have a weight-loss goals to meet before the New Year, & I still have three races to complete to meet my goal of 16 races in 2016. The last six weeks of 2016 will see me continue to run consistently, I promise.




Continue Reading

Our Wedding

When I first met Brian, it was hard not to like him because he made everything fun. We could go grocery shopping together, or cook together, you know, things that are normally mundane, necessary tasks, & his energy transformed those ordinary experiences into the extraordinary. Three years later, he continues to bring joy into every single one of my days.

I am so lucky to have met the man who supports my quest for adventure unconditionally. He’ll drive two hours to surprise me at the finish line of a half marathon, then completely shock everyone by giving a 10 k a try himself. He’ll  spend a cold, rainy weekend in Jasper helping me with my super heavy SCUBA equipment so I can accomplish my dream of becoming a certified open water diver, & he’s always game to help me practice my terrible Spanish. He’s the person who’ll jump in the boat beside me when I want to try ocean kayaking, & is a good sport when I decide we should hike through swarms of mosquitos. His support & unwavering confidence allow me to live life completely, richly, & with the confidence that I always have a teammate backing me up. He’s my best friend.

This summer, we began life’s greatest adventure – together. I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes us.







“A life of adventure is ours for the taking, whether we’re seven or seventy. Life for the most part is what me make it. We have been given a responsibility to live it fully, joyfully, completely, and richly, in whatever span of time God grants us on this earth.”

― Luci Swindoll

Continue Reading