My Instagram turned dear diary post got a little lengthy. I blame it on the night shift brain. The picture was of my FitBit scale: 149.6 lbs, 17.7% body fat. Then many reflections ensued and soon had literally nothing to do with the picture. Here it is: My weight this morning. I’m happily entering 2019 at my new set point that I’ve maintained for the last 7 months. My weight is something I’ve obsessed over my whole life. Well definitely for the last 22 years or more. It’s really too bad that it was such a torment for me. My self worth and my self esteem were so affected by the number I saw on the scale and what I thought I should see. I actually named my FitBit scale my SelfWorth scale, kind of joking but really not. It’s sad to think of the contempt I felt for myself just because of something so superficial. I’m realizing now that many of the symptoms I’ve had for decades were related to my thyroid issues. Now that I’ve corrected the issue I can see and feel the difference to a problem I didn’t know I had. I’m so thankful for the series of events in 2017 that led to me deciding to see a naturopath. I started training and building a foundation for a couple ultramarathons later that year (Denmark and Arizona). My friend Tanya Horton went trail running with me for the first time out at Kenna. I introduced her to the trails. Then shortly after she went out rolled her ankle on the trail and had a very bad injury that plagued her for way too long (Sorry Tanya!). She had prolotherapy and that was effective for her. I became injured at the conclusion of my 115 day run streak after spending a week in Vancouver, beating my legs up running faster than my body was conditioned for along the sea wall. I returned to Kamloops, not missing a day in the streak, to nail a half marathon PR and develop a pretty severe case of shin splints. Classic too much too soon. Classic me. I was desperate to get back into running but after my first treatment I wasn’t allowed to run for a week. That killed me! But after one week I was able to start running again. I gradually got into it. I was pain free! I couldn’t believe it. Then I got kicked in the face at work which resulted in whiplash and a concussion. I was laid out on the couch for a couple weeks. My head was so heavy. I could only lay down. It hurt so much to stand or for my head to be unsupported. I remained horizontal for a week or two. My neck was in rough shape so I had prolotherapy on my shins and on my neck. After several appointments I thought I should investigate my bloodwork further and I requested different blood tests. I was happy to pay for the extra tests. I felt like something wasn’t right. I discovered that I actually have an autoimmune disorder: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. My T3 and T4 were extremely low, my TSH was really high. My antibodies were really high. An elevated thyroid stimulating hormone indicates that there is a problem with the thyroid since your body releases greater amounts of this hormone to do the same job. I didn’t even realize it until it got better but I had almost all of the symptoms of hypothyroidism for so many years. There WAS something wrong with me. As soon as I started taking the thyroid hormone I felt like a different person. I had so much more energy. I could think clearly. I didn’t realize I was so foggy before. You don’t know what you don’t know. All of a sudden I wasn’t so hungry all the time. The dose was adjusted. Everything came together June 2018. I dropped 20 lbs and was barely exercising compared to the ultramarathon training I did over the year before. I feel so good now. It’s a night and day difference. It is so empowering to be able to take control of my health in this way. If I didn’t go to the naturopath I never would have been tested for this. He tested my antibodies and they were elevated showing that my body was attacking my thyroid. If I didn’t correct this issue it would have only gotten worse. If I didn’t do that run steak I wouldn’t have gotten that injury. At the same time my friend got hers, sort of because of me introducing her to the trails. If I didn’t have that neck injury I wouldn’t have had so many appointments at the clinic that led me to investigate further. Butterfly effect. It’s so funny how every little experience in life can take you down a different path based on your decisions and choices. I feel so good now. I can definitely say that I am the healthiest I have ever been mentally, emotionally and physically. It’s been a wild ride and I like where I am right now. Plus I’m stoked for what’s to come. #2019 #letsdothis
First time blowing up on the bike – the lessons are in this description:
Yep, I totally blew up: Quad muscles cramping; like that was crazy. 😬 I slept late and then had a banana before my ride. (I should have had a pre-workout style smoothie). I had two bottles of water (one liter total) and I started the ride a little dehydrated (I hate having to stop to go pee). I was so hungry most of the ride (I forgot my cash and would have bought an orange juice for the gas station that was about 3/4 of the way along the route).
Things I should have done and to remember before next time: fuel better beforehand, energy gels would have been golden, electrolytes would have been nice too (hello, a necessity —> cramping muscles are the worst and totally slow you down.
What else? Um. 🤔I could have paced myself better or how about pace myself period. I felt so good I was sprinting up the first major hill. I pushed too hard from the beginning and I definitely don’t have the endurance for that right now – I was riding beyond my fitness level.
It was good though. After a period of time training for ultras, I did lots of long slow runs and always trained at my forever pace… Oh snap! This might as well be a blog post.
I’ve never been in that kind of pain before and I like to push myself to that point so I can appreciate how it feels. 🤔 to be continued….
🚨 Spoiler alert 🚨 this is a bit of a dear diary post that will find its way to the blog I haven’t written in for months. I seem to like to reflect and write and I know my blog is a better audience for this outlet than Facebook. 🤷🏻♀️ but I don’t really care so here it is.
Here’s a little video memo to myself. I’m focused and moving forward. It’s finally making sense and things are standing out to me now whereas initially I felt overwhelmed (I simply wasn’t ready). So I didn’t get everything done when I started, but this isn’t something I want to rush anyway. It’s actually a process that you can’t rush and to rush is to do yourself a disservice. Truly.
I won’t beat myself up about that. Although I thought I was ready when I started this project, it’s taken me a bit longer to get into the right mindset. I’ve listened to both audiobooks a few times. I am ready now. There is no rush. The timeline for completely decluttering my life the way I want, and am going to, is 6 months. So I will allow myself the time I need to putter away and work on it until I am done. Too often my “timelines” for completion are wildly unrealistic which often leave me feeling like a failure when I can’t achieve perfection quickly. (Who would have thought? 🤔). But I will be kind to myself. I am trying my best and that’s really all I can expect of anyone, especially myself.
I’ve accumulated so many material possessions over the years. Especially when I was in an emotionally raw place and was hurting I tried to make myself feel better by buying things. It sort of helped. It provided the distraction I so badly needed. Hindsight is 20/20 right?
At one point, I was in the middle of a bachelor of science in nursing. I worked straight nights as an LPN and was in school full time during the day. I so badly wanted aspects of my life to change and to be free from certain things. But all the stuff I accumulated just caused me more stress, definitely as the years went by. It only made me feel better initially. (Typical numbing and desensitization – see Brené Brown’s TED talk ‘the power of vulnerability’).
Hauling these things around as I moved from apartment, to basement suite, to apartment, to condo was like clinging to my past in some way. (My poor father and brother and sister in law who all helped me move. And my dear friend Frudd, he’s such a kind soul). I’ve grown and changed so much over the years. Why would I hang on to things that no longer suit or serve me? As the author of these books says, while tidying you are being confronted with who you are. Cleaning is confronting nature, tidying is confronting yourself. The clutter in my life is caused by me. It’s my choice to keep or part with what I don’t need. Needs and wants. Needs and wants. Does it spark joy? If not let it go and set it free.
(Yes, I’ve been awake all night. I get pretty introspective after listening to audiobooks and reflecting on my life and who I am – I loves me some nightshift mode)
Right now I am breaking free of the habit of accumulation. If you don’t love it, or use it, it’s clutter. If you hold that shirt, or dress, or item against your chest and hug it, does it spark joy? Allow your intuition to guide you as to what you really want. As I’ve said, over the last two decades especially, I’ve accumulated so many things. However, most of what I own does not spark joy. I can just let go of the things that no longer serve me with my current mentality as the person I’ve grown into. I’ve changed a lot over the years, especially over the last four years. I don’t need to hang on to things from a previous life or phase that I am no longer in. Right now is about revamping my lifestyle in every sense to help me become my best self to live the life I’ve always wanted. I’m in control of that. This is pretty fun actually. This will absolutely without a doubt change my life. I highly recommend this book. Listen to her first book first!
I will say no more. Listen to these books in order to learn the right way to tidy and organize your life. It will truly set youfree.
I definitely need to update this blog. I DNF’d at the ultra in Denmark and didn’t end up writing a race report of my learning experience. I’ll write a belated post after this trip since I’m not interested in reflecting on that now. I have way cooler stuff to talk about!! (I did go on to finish my first 100 km ultramarathon in Arizona in October 31st and that was simply AMAZING – more about that later).
What’s my much cooler stuff you might ask? (Maybe you didn’t but come on, im pumped!). I’m in Colombia right now on a ten day cycling tour! Just finished day one. Before I get some sleep (pretty good idea considering the longer day we have tomorrow) I want to do a quick update.
The first day was incredible!! It was quite an adjustment weaving around traffic along the busy streets near Medellin (route from today uploaded on Strava, Instagram, Facebook, ya know 🤭). I am simply thrilled to be here. The support crew has been amazing. There is never any concern about being left behind and they supply us with fuel and water.
I am so thankful for the help I received today! While riding the steep terrain I really wasn’t that efficient with shifting gears. One of the guys was driving a motorcycle beside me and really helped me out by encouraging me to shift up or down. I have so much to learn and thrilled to get more time on the bike training at high altitude where pros from all over the world come to get more awesome. 😊
***sidenote: I’m basically self taught and I can definitely use the guidance and advice. (got a road bike when I was a fire fighter back in 2005. Bought a bike my first year instead of a car).***
I want to do a play by play of my day but considering my alarm is going off in 5 hours I best get some sleep. More updates to follow.
After I registered for this race last November I was contacted by a local journalist, David. He asked me to tell him a bit about myself, why I chose this race, etc. I, of course, told him way too much about myself, added him as a friend and told him to feel free to use any pictures he wanted for the article. 💥 I was very surprised with the extremely kind and detailed article. He really talked me up! 🙊 Big shoes to fill tomorrow. I’ll see if there’s enough space on here to post the translated version my dear friend Maria translated for me. ***nope, too long. I’ll post it on my blog and leave the link here***
Small picture (I guess from the front page?)
Iron woman on her way to/coming for ultra race
32-year-old Candian with a mind of her own/with (strong) grit and hunting for/with the courage for big challenges want to run the Mors 100 Miles.
Canadian nurse seeks new boundaries on Mors
Ambition: Melissa Rose Irvine wants to overdue herself at the Mors 100 Miles.
She has been a volunteer at a Brazilian orphanage. Put out forest fires in Canada and worked at an oilrig to earn money for new adventures in a life full of speed. So it is quite the adventurer who signed up for the Mors 100 Miles 2017 and who will be the first Canadian in the local ultra race this September.
– I’m a nurse at a psychiatric hospital and my working schedule makes it possible for me to go to Denmark from September 6.-16., so I get a week to visit friends and my old host family before I return home, says Melissa Rose Irvine to Morsø Folkeblad via Messenger.
The 32-year-old woman from Kamloops in British Columbia on the Canadian west coast knows Denmark already. At 16, she was an exchange student in Næstved and she describes her months in our country as absolutely wonderful.
– I had an amazing stay and I loved Denmark and the people I met, she says.
Back in Canada, she finished high school and earned money for college – among other things in masculine surroundings as a forest fire fighter and by working at an oilrig. Following that, the adventurous Canadian went back to Europe, now as a backpacker med stays in London, Munich, Paris – besides staying two weeks around Denmark.
– Ever since, I have wished to return to Denmark and now, after 11 years, it is finally possible, sounds the happy expectation to the reunion/return in the fall (meaning that you sounded happy and excited about returning!)
However, it will also be a tough return. True, Melissa Rose Irvine is a woman with strong grit/a mind of her own and hunting for big challenges. And true, she has broken several boundaries as a runner – among other things by running in weather that was so cold that her eyebrows formed ice crystals.
But she has yet to reach distances comparable to Mors 100 Miles.
It doesn’t terrify her, though.
– I’m passionate about my running and for many years I had the wish to run an ultra race, she says.
– My father ran the Comrades Marathon (90 km in Sourh Africa) in 2003 and ever since I have wanted to build up my distances and run further and further, says Melissa Rose Irvine, sho ran her first marathon in 2005.
It sounds crazy
But the ultra race on Mors will be her first ever. So it calls for an extraordinary preparation.
– Right now I’m building my running passes to reach 100 miles a week. Mostly, I do it to increase my mental strength, as my training schedule’s only brings me to 70 miles as the highest, she explains.
She does this with the consciousness/knowledge that it sounds like a wild plan making a 100 miles race her first ultra race. But her confidence and the belief that she can complete are both strong.
– I’m aware how crazy it sounds. But I’m determined and engaged. I have a training program with gradually increasing distances in my online calendar and I know that I can do it, she says.
– 60 runners have already signed up for Mors 100 Miles 2017. The record on the race day is from 2014 when 73 attended/signed up.
– Melissa Rose Irvine will be the first Canadian.
Melissa Rose Irvine tackles frightening challenges by just jumping into them without thinking much about it. Here she literally falls as a skydiver.
Fire fighter photo:
A period as single woman among the forest’s fire fighter helped her to earn for her studies.
Melissa Rose Irvine as a volunteer at an orphanage in Brazil.
Top runner photo:
The 32-year-old Canadian loves challenges and believes in herself. This September she once again will break a boundary when she on Mors will run further than she has ever run before.
Bottom runner photo:
Nigh running doesn’t seem to become a problem for the Canadian runner. She describes herself as a bit of an night owl who generally feels best in the dark.
One of the ‘golden rules’ of distance running and racing is never to try anything new that you haven’t tried in practice. It’s important to stick with what you know and what works. When you eat something completely new it may not agree with your ability to digest it while your body is also exerting itself with great effort. This is where severe consequences can be experienced such as vomiting and diarrhea: not not conducive to running an enjoyable race.
However, as they say, rules are made to be broken and also I don’t feel like those rules apply to me, even golden rules. So tomorrow I am trying everything new. I made pemmican because I think that will be the perfect fuel source. I have several different supplements that I will be trying. All kinds of new stuff. I don’t feel like blogging about it right now since I want to go drink wine and visit with these incredible people. Ciao for now! 🙂
The time has come. In exactly a week, I will be well on my way running my first ultramarathon. Last year when I made the decision to run this race I followed advice from various resources. I realize that the conventional progression from marathon to ultramarathon distance would be to run “at least one 50k and either a 50-mile or a 100-kilometer event as part of your buildup to the 100miler”. However, I don’t like to do many things conventionally (“extremist by nature” and all that jazz).
On September 9th I am going to hit the 100-mile starting line as an ultramarathon race virgin. I had so many plans on how I would prepare myself for this race but of course life can throw some curveballs and things don’t always work out as planned. That’s just life. I learned lessons about why I got shin splits and I know how to avoid that in the future. Getting kicked in the face (with resulting whiplash and concussion) really threw me for a loop and was not an expected type of injury. But through prolotherapy I recovered 100% from both. Right now my body feels stronger and healthier than it ever has. I have no nagging injuries. There is no reason for me not to toe the line next Saturday and give it my all. This is going to be a lot of fun and I already feel so welcomed by this ultra running community. These are my kind of people.
This race will be the ultimate learning experience in every respect. It will be the most challenging and painful thing I have ever done in my life. But I’m ready. One important aspect of my training has been “building mental toughness”.
The race I’m running is called 100 miles around the isle of Mors. After I registered last November a journalist who lives on the island of Mors contacted me and asked me some questions about why I chose Denmark for this race. I, of course, told him way too much about myself, added him as a friend on Facebook and told him he could feel free to use any pictures he wanted. I was very surprised with the very detailed and kind article he wrote about me! I will post it on here as a separate post. He really talks me up in this article. I don’t know if I will be able to live up to all that hype however I am going to dig deep and give it my all. I want ultramarathon running to be my ‘thing’, so I’m making it my thing. I have a coach and am following his great advice. I feel so thankful to have some guidance. It provides me with structure and saves me from myself. I was a bit ridiculous when left to my own devices such as when I ran 60 km one night. 🙊 I would often just go out and run and not really have a lot of purpose behind what I was doing (although I knew I should). I just get so excited and my runs got away on me. (Which I liked)