Unplanned Planned Rest Day

I’m trying to take at least one (preferably only one) rest day per week, usually on the weekend.   This week, I was thinking it would be tomorrow,  but my body let me know this morning that it would be today.

I got up to pee this morning, and when I went to sit down, it felt like someone shot me right through the tops of both kneecaps.  Crap.  Okay.  Finish up in the bathroom,  try a few knee bends.  Nope.  Dammit.  Google says it’s a common overuse injury in cyclists, and I don’t like where it’s headed. With my goals, and my races coming up, I can’t afford a lot of rest days, but I sure as hell can’t afford to blow out my knees.

So today is a rest day, although I am on my feet at work all day, so it’s more an active rest day.  Tomorrow I will run, and cut the grass, and Monday I will go back to cycling.
I found out last night that I have a decision to make at work, too.  Right now, I am working 2 part-time jobs, and barely clearing 20 hours a week.   

One is at a pet store.  I make minimum wage there, get a shift once every few weeks, and there are no benefits – BUT I get a 15% discount on pet supplies, which is a huge help when you have as many babies as I do.

My other job is at a home improvement store.  No discount there, but it pays a little more, has benefits, bonuses, and they treat us well.  During the summer, I was working 30-40 hours a week there as a cashier.  Now I’m getting 15-20.  If I go below an average of 20 hours a week for too long, I will lose my benefits.  

Last night, I was offered a job within the home improvement store that would mean significantly more hours at a higher pay rate, no more dealing with customers, and Saturday nights guaranteed off.  All shifts would be full shifts, no more 4-5 hours at a time, and I would get free licensing on all kinds of cool equipment.  

Sounds like a no-brainer,  right?

There’s a catch, of course.

It’s night shift.  I don’t know what impact this might have on my running/cycling/swimming/racing programs.  And I live in a town where nothing is open at night, so if I want to keep my sleep schedule fairly consistent on my days off, I’ll be pretty much stuck at home.  I won’t be working with the people I’ve come to love, and when my dad comes back from sick leave (we work at the same place) we won’t see each other.  I also MIGHT lose my job at the pet store because I won’t be available during the day for cashier shifts.

HOWEVER: Starting work late in the evening means dinners at home with my partner, and most of the evening together.  It means most of the weekend together after my Saturday morning sleep.  It means I’ll be able to predict my life better.  Finally, and most importantly,  it means getting to our financial goals quicker.

And it won’t be forever.

I think I have to take it.

New Shoes, Crazy Exercise Day and Cycling Loot

I tried to make my “new” Salomon shoes work, I really did.  I stretched them multiple times in the freezer, and tried to break them in gradually, but nothing worked, and so Thursday night, my partner and I headed out to Sport Chek to get new shoes.  It’s not easy for me to find good shoes with my size 11.5 feet, and almost every pair I tried was too small (the biggest any of the brands had was an 11, which fits sometimes,  but not always).  I tried several beautiful pairs of Asics, but they were just snug enough that I knew I wouldn’t be able to run in them.  Then I tried on a pair of New Balance and oh my god.  Damn.  Okay, those are comfy.  Not as flashy or pretty as some of the others, but not ugly, either, and so comfy!   I got a pair, and we got a good pair of Asics for my partner, both of which were on sale.  Then we had enough Scene points for $50 off, and I had a coupon for 10% off the entire purchase.  All in all, a pretty good score.

I decided to start breaking in the new shoes as soon as possible, with  three 10k races coming up – so I ran 3 miles yesterday morning with them, and it was amazing!  Beautiful weather for running, although it started to get hot towards the end, so I dumped some of my water over my head to cool off.

We had guys digging up our yard Thursday and Friday, so I was trying to spend as little time at home as possible.  I got home, cooled down for a bit, then headed back out on my bike.  I did 9 miles.

I saw this in the water under a bridge. It might be one of the creepiest, saddest things I have ever seen. (Don’t worry, I looked around, I didn’t see any children in the water. Thank God.)

One of the challenges that Nerd Fitness suggests is Walking to Mordor – a journey of 1779 miles.  There have been many articles written on this task – even websites and apps dedicated to it.  In fact, my partner is currently walking to Mordor to earn going back to school (another story) – it’s win-win-win, because it’s a good way for them to work on leveling up fitness while working towards leveling up career at the same time, it forms healthy habits, and it buys some time to save the money we need.  

I want to get a SmartHalo for my bike, and decided that I would have to cycle a certain distance to earn it – rather than just saving up stones for it, which would take far too long.  I decided Mordor was too far – if it’s worth a full education for my partner, it seems a little excessive for a bike accessory – even though it’s faster to ride than to walk.  I decided to see how far the Hogwarts Express would have travelled in the Harry Potter stories.  Using this article, and then this map,

I figured out that the ride from King’s Cross Station to the estimated location of the mythical school would be a distance of 612 miles by bicycle.  Perfect.  I want to get the SmartHalo before its official release in December,  because I can save a bunch of money by preordering. I picked November 25th as a deadline, and I officially started tracking on September 1st, which means 86 days for 612 miles.  That amounts to an average of 7.11 miles per day.  Now: I have three 10k race days in there, and 2 “away” weekends, so I know there are going to be missed days.  To make up for those, I plan on averaging 10 miles a day when I do ride, and hopefully that will give me enough of a buffer to hit my goal in time.

Now I just have to figure out a goal reward for my own walk to Mordor.  Maybe I should run instead…

Lots of Changes Old Max, Lots of Changes

My cat Oreo during his most recent health crisis, titled “in which we discovered our newest cat has major kidney and bladder issues that will require months of treatment and very costly special food for the rest of his life”. Sigh. That’s a story for another day.

So in my Epic Quest post, I listed becoming a veterinarian as one of my ultimate goals.  When I listed it less than 2 weeks ago it was a pipe dream.  A remnant left that I couldn’t let go of.  

As a child, it was the life I dreamed of – well-past the point of “every little girl wants to be a vet”.  In Grade 7, I gave my final speech on James Herriot – my idol as both an aspiring author and future (so I thought) veterinarian. My teacher told me I would have done better if I’d chosen a topic that was of interest to anyone but me (like a hockey player, apparently).  Incidentally, James Herriot (real name Alfred Wight) died while I was writing my speech.  It went from being a biography to being a tribute, and I wanted more than ever to follow in his footsteps.

I was off to a good start – I loved animals of all kinds, as well as science.  I even won the science award at my grade 8 graduation.   Then I got to high school, and I became terrified of science – what if I had to dissect something? (Don’t worry, I’m past that now).  I started looking into other options.  I was going to be either a lawyer or an architect.  Law interested me, as did psychology,  and I figured the two went well together.  Architecture fascinated me.  I did an independent study course, involving building a website on ancient architecture,  photography, a sketchbook, and a scale model of my house.  

When it came time for university,  I didn’t have the math or physics grades to get into architecture.   My overall average would have been more than enough, but calculus had stumped me (despite hiring a tutor), and so I settled for psychology.   I was going to be a youth counselor,  then a psychologist or a lawyer.

After my first year of the bachelor of arts program in psychology I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do.  I found psychology fascinating, but I still wanted to be a vet.  I changed schools, switched to a bachelor of Science in psychology, and began taking biology electives. Unfortunately,  I was going through some diffcult health issues at the time, and I didn’t have the energy or focus to put into it.  I passed most of my courses, but not with the grades I needed to pursue anything further – not vet school, not teaching, not my Masters in psych – nothing.  I had shot myself in the foot, and it didn’t even matter that it wasn’t entirely my fault.

I walked away again.  Finished my degree, went to college, and got my diploma in social service work. I didn’t like where that took me either.

I went back to college for architectural technology, hoping to get into a university architecture program after that, and discovered that I just didn’t have the artistic ability. I left the program, and worked in child care for a bit.

Eventually,  I went back to school for the paralegal program, and thought maybe I had found my way into law school.  I was offered a job as a receptionist in a law firm after my fist year, and left the program to take the job.  I worked there for four years, and went nowhere.   A few jobs later, I work retail part-time, and I have a far better understanding of what giving up a dream will cost you.  

Through everything I’ve done, every other career goal I’ve had, I have still always wanted vet school – I just never thought it could happen.  Not since I messed up in university. Every time I walk into a vet’s office, it’s like a punch in the gut.  A little voice says “could have been you”, but I shake my head and ignore it.  Then when I sat down to work on my Epic Quest list, it came unbidden.  What would my life look like at Level 50?  I would be a vet.  My own practice, a successful writing career, and a house on the lake.  

Oh. 

Nothing short of that will get me to my ultimate life, and I will never be happy if I don’t try.

I told my partner,  who has always been incredibly supportive, and got an even better response than the one I had hoped for. “I was just waiting for you to make the decision.”  So we started planning.

For the next 3-4 years, we are going to save like crazy – enough at the very least to pay for my first semester at Guelph.  Then my partner will find a job there, and I will get my store to transfer me to their Guelph location, and we will move.  We’ll rent a house or apartment there, and I will go back to school.  Because I have a degree already, I can take two years of general study, get the prerequisites and the grades I need, and apply for the DVM program after those two years.

This is going to be extremely difficult.  I’m going to have to be frugal, and more than that, I’m going to have to study.  HARD (I’ve already started taking free online courses to prepare me so that I can get the grades I need when I start the classes).  But in the end, it will all be worth it.  This is what I’m supposed to do.  I’ve always known it.

Time to stop dreaming and start DOING.