A lot of people think I’m crazy when they find out I’ve run up to 50km but it’s really all relative. I have friends that train to do a 5km and I have friends that run 100 miles. It’s getting out there and doing it that matters. And it helps if you like doing it!
I started running when I was 23, when my boyfriend at the time had signed up to do the Manitoba Marathon. It intrigued me so I signed up for the half marathon and started pounding the pavement, running part of the perimeter highway to get my kilometers in. I loved and hated it but I had a goal to complete my first half marathon. I wasn’t a fast runner but was surprised how emotional crossing the finish line was. And when I did, I said I’m never doing that again!
I still ran short distances on and off when I moved to Calgary and Edmonton. I signed up for a gym membership and met with a personal trainer who warned me that running wasn’t good for a woman my age (I was 35!). Since I wasn’t in love with it I used it as an excuse to quit.
In the middle of winter in 2010 a good friend of mine invited me out to her running group, which she promised was fun and social. And it was! There were walkers and runners and ultrarunners. One day I was asked to fill in for an injured runner for a leg of the Death Race. If they were asking me I knew they were desperate. Since I love helping people and it was downhill I agreed. That’s when I discovered trail running! How did I not know about this? Out running in nature, breathing fresh air and completely zenning out while being aware of rocks and roots on the trail. I was hooked! I did another leg the following year and then for Sinister 7. At home I signed up for the Five Peaks races. I still wasn’t a fast runner but I discovered I could do distance. Soon I was running 25kms on hilly terrain at the Blackfoot Ultra and then I ran the Skyline trail, the Grizzly Ultra 50km and the Blackfoot Ultra 50km. And don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy! Spending a chunk of every weekend doing a long run, some minor injuries, various weather conditions and finding the motivation were all challenging. But never, ever, did I regret any of my runs. Getting out the door was sometimes hard but I always felt better after I warmed up and was always glad I had done it. And when you’re spending that much time with a running buddy, you get to know each other really well!
The year I signed up to do my first 80km, my metatarsals started dropping which caused Morton’s Neuroma (pain and numbness). I was told to stop running and the worst thing was they couldn’t give me an idea of if and when I could run again. Running was all I did, I didn’t like anything else. After about a year of doing nothing I got depressed. Running was my life and also my social life. Eventually I tried biking and aquacise. It wasn’t the same but at least it was something. I finally resumed running this year. I may never do another 50km but now I’m grateful for each run I get.
While I was injured, I heard a doctor acquaintance of mine talking about these stubborn injured athletes. These patients who were told to give up their sport, would beg and plead with them that there must be something else that could be done for them. These doctors were frustrated by how these patients just don’t get it. They’re done, it’s over, simple as that. And sure, maybe it was for some or all of them but what these doctors don’t understand is that it isn’t just a sport to them. It’s their life! It’s difficult to understand if you haven’t been there and I thought about how I would try to explain it to them. So here it is. I run for exercise, for weight loss, for better health. I run to meditate, think better and improve my memory. I run because it doesn’t require a lot of equipment, it’s not expensive and you can do it anywhere. I run for the outdoors, fresh air and scenery. I run for community and my social life. I run for more energy, for stress relief, to commit to goals and increase my confidence.
I now appreciate cross training but if I’m ever told to stop running, I’m not going down without a fight!
Healthy bath and body products and a healthy lifestyle are important to me but I also try to consider the environment in everything I do. My products are made with organic coconut oil, shea butter, sunflower oil, aloe, tea tree, eucalyptus, cocoa and jojoba oil and Alberta beeswax. Although I minimize packaging, at least 79% of my packaging is recyclable. The paper bags I use for your purchases are made from 100% recycled paper and are reusable and recyclable. If I'm shipping your purchase, I reuse boxes and packing material that I receive from my supplier orders. I shred all the Kraft paper I get my hands on to cushion and fill gift boxes. And I even reuse my personal coffee grinds in my Coffee and Spice soap! There's still lots of room for improvement but its a start!
Some people balk at the price of my natural deodorant. And I understand, it shocked me a bit too! But I'm not interested in making a cheap deodorant, I'm interested in one that is effective. Here's the short version of how I arrived there.
I research all the possible ingredients I can use, how they work and their benefits. I look at problems with other deodorants. I learned stories about deodorant stains, irritation such as armpit burns and deodorants that pulled out armpit hair! Ouch! I make a list of requirements my deodorant needs to meet and some added bonuses:
Did you notice that price is not in there?
I select a few different recipes and test them on myself. I test out arrowroot powder, bentonite clay, magnesium myristate and zinc oxide for their ability to prevent odour. I find that arrowroot powder leaves me a little stinky and eliminate the bentonite clay as it can cause irritation. The magnesium doesn't seem effective but wow, that zinc oxide! I keep improving the recipes and testing the scents, oils and butters for the best results. I spend a lot of time smelling my pits! I ensure it's moisturizing and use clary sage in one scent, which is known to help with sweating. Once I'm happy with it, I provide samples of my top two formulas to my testers to get their feedback. My testers confirm the zinc oxide sample was more effective (no odour for 8 hours or more!). As an extra bonus, you won't sunburn your pits! And then, and only then, do I calculate the price! And yes it shocked me a little but I confirmed its in line with similar products. I mean, I could make it cheaper by substituting other ingredients but why?
So if you find a cheaper one that works for you, that's great. Every body is different. If you can't find anything that works - please give mine a try!
For more information on natural deodorant and how to use it, see here.
I remember going to my very first market, as a customer, many, many years ago. I was afraid to be too interested in a booth or talk to the vendor for fear of the hard sell. And those prices - yikes! I could get 4 of those for the same price at (gulp...) Walmart! Now I'm on the other side of that table and understand the time, costs and the quality that goes into those items and that most vendors aren't going to harass you. And I very, very rarely step into a Walmart anymore!
Based on my experience (and others I've heard about), I'm going to give you a sneak peek at what it's like to be on the vendor's side of the table. But before you even get a table you have to apply - sometimes 6-12 months in advance. I hate thinking about Christmas in July! If you're accepted you submit your payment and start plugging the event on social media. Sometimes you're asked to submit a prize or donation. You spend a week or more creating your inventory. You drive to your event an hour and a half early so you have time to set up. Then you wish you took that extra five minutes to stop for a coffee! You cart all your stuff in, find your booth and get to work with quick introductions to your neighbours. Then the show starts. You hope its gonna be good. At least good enough to cover your costs.
And rarely, you're stuck beside another vendor who is loud, obnoxious and almost aggressive, distracting customers while others avoid them and the booths on either side of them. But more often you meet vendors who go out of their way to give you a plug on social media or valuable tips and information on a variety of things. And sometimes this person is you.
The rest of it is mostly up and down. Sometimes, for whatever reason, it's a ghost town. Other times it can be packed with people who may or may not be spending. And sometimes it seems that today's the day that you're going to sell out. No two shows are alike and they are all unpredictable! You get to know your neighbours better as you check out their wares and cover each other's bathroom breaks. Sometimes your heart sinks as nobody seems interested in your booth. Then you notice those food vendors are always busy and wonder if you should have got into something else! You talk to a lot of people - mostly customers and vendors. Sometimes you are approached by other companies offering their products or services. And every once in a while someone stops by your table and tells you they absolutely LOVE one of your products. It makes you do a little happy dance!
It can be lonely. Sometimes you see someone you know and they avoid you. What? I just want to say hi to you, not sell you something! Then you get that one customer who buys more than you've sold in the past hour. I smile most often when watching people who have tried my lotion and they're walking away as they're rubbing it in. They smell their hands. And smile a dreamy smile! Then they stop and MAKE their friends smell their hands. I smile every time! Sometimes things happen that you'll never forget. My most heart-warming story happened at the Make It Show. Mom, grandma and grandson stop at my booth and spend a lot of time looking at my lip balm. Grandma comes over to pay for one and is ecstatic because she's so happy her grandson is willing to try the bubble gum flavour. This poor kid had red, dry, inflamed lips but had always refused to use lip balm. She was absolutely grateful and he walked away putting it on his lips. An hour later they were back. Grandma bought four more and told me how it was already making a difference for him. It's the ultimate feeling when you know you've helped someone!
The show ends and you start packing up. It seems to go a bit faster then setting up - hopefully there's less inventory! You say goodbye to the new friends you've made and cart your stuff out. You're tired but you're already thinking about your next show.
Loves living a healthy lifestyle and sharing what she learns along the way.