Less Chaos, More Kick Ass

Bienvenido to January; the month for diets, resolutions and gym memberships …

… better known as the month which is severely annoying to work out in when you live in the subarctic.

The gym is full of resolutioners which makes me just want to bike, run stairs and ski outside, but outside currently has the potential to kill me.

Oh Canada!

severe weather warning edmonton

Lovely …. “A period of very cold wind chills is expected. The coldest wind chill values will be between minus 40 and minus 45. Temperatures will drop sharply behind a cold front that is sweeping across north and central Alberta today generating extreme cold conditions …”

Today while training over my lunch hour, I had to walk through a cardio induced wind tunnel to get to the change room from the weight area. The amount of people biking, running and elliptical-ing (yes, its a verb … just add ‘ing’ and wah-lah!) created more than just a small amount of breeze; my hair blew back and it all felt very movie-esque as Cake’s ‘The Distance’ played in my ears.

Thank goodness I am a ridiculous, goal setting maven and had already made all my resolutions for 2017, otherwise the ridiculousness in the gym may have caused me to set the New Year’s Resolution to avoid all resolutioners wearing stretchy pants.

Every January I sit down and think about the things I would like to have on my Have Done list for next January; all those things I want to be able to shrug my shoulders at and smile with satisfaction that they are completed and I didn’t die while doing them.

My mantra of 2017 is ‘Less Chaos, More Kick Ass!’

Oddly enough, there is nothing unachievable on my list and I find it rather boring to look at and nothing is calling my name.

  • The ‘less chaos’ part of my mantra for 2017 makes me want to yawn.

The only goal that even invokes some emotion is to not die while running leg 2 of Sinster 7 which, if you knew how clumsy I am, would invoke fear in you as well.

Leg 2 – Hastings Ridge. Beginning at the base of Hastings Ridge, runners begin a grueling climb to a rewarding view. Once atop the ridge, you get a view of the entire valley, including Crowsnest Mountain and the Seven Sisters; certainly worth the punishing climb to the top! There is no time for rest as runners drop down the other side and head towards Blairmore to the finish of leg two.

  • Distance: 17km
  • Gain: 852m
  • Loss: 1024m
  • Max Elevation: 1873m
  • CPs*: CP2 – 10km
  • Difficulty: 3/7 Note — Difficulty is based on how hard the leg is in comparison to the other legs of the race, in our opinion ie: Leg 6 is 7/7 meaning it is the hardest. Every leg of the race is hard.
  • Trail Type: Single track, double track, dirt road
  • Est Time: 1.5 to 3 hours

Seriously, I don’t know another woman who is as likely to fall over, trip, run into something while walking or crash on her bike. For example, earlier this year after successfully running over 10 kms of trails in Stanley Park, I literally fell over a small crack in the sidewalk on Robson Street and scraped and bruised myself up to the point of requiring a massive Band-Aid application and then a slow meander back to my hotel in order to avoid further harm.

  • For a woman with my bubble wrap requirements, the race could result in complete chaos … and not the good brand of chaos. 

Inspiration can come from the most random of places.

In the midst of being bored with my goals and ambitions for 2017, I ran across a very interesting documentary on the weirdest ultra marathon on the planet – The Barkley Marathons, The Race That Eats Its Young.

Beyond all the weird details around how no one knows how to apply, only 40 people are selected for no apparent reason, how you might need to bring a flannel shirt and a license plate with you in order to be able to run, the fact that the course changes each year and there is only one map for 40 runners to look at and when people quit Taps is sarcastically played while they contemplate the meaning of life; something resonated deeply with me about this race.

You need attempt to do things you will most likely fail at; fail incredibly at.

Failure is the greatest teacher anyone can ever have and if all you do in life are the things you can do, life is is going to be comfortable and really boring.

When I think back on when I have felt the most alive, they were the times I risked complete and utter failure. Training for a bodybuilding competition, quitting my job and starting my own coaching and consulting business, leaving a 14 year marriage, speaking in front of 600 women at a breakfast, publishing my own books and making a few massive career changes have all been fraught with extreme failure and incredible success.

“Sometimes you have to prove something to yourself when it defeats you; but I gave it everything and still failed and I’m ok with it.”
~ One of the crazy runner people at the Barkely Marathon who had Taps played for him two years in a row


One of the most curious things was watching the runners who had quit the race. They stayed around and helped those who were still running. It is interesting who you find in the trenches with you when you are struggling to reach a goal that is bigger than you are. As you expand yourself and reach for more, you find your people.

  • Shared failure can and often does lead to an incredibly sweet, shared success.

Looking again at my list tonight, I have a feeling a massive edit is about to happen as I answer the question, “What epic failures must I risk this year?”

And no, I am not going to apply to race in the Barkley or any other ridiculous ultra marathons. I may be crazy, but I am not that crazy.

There is a book / screenplay which needs to be written, a career change coming, thousands of kilometres to be hiked, biked and ran and some corners of the earth which need to be explored; all of which are still rather vanilla, if I am honest with myself.

  • Apparently I don’t want less chaos. It turns out I need to embrace chaos and kick ass. 

There, that’s more like it.

*Giant, happy sigh*

What epic failures are you risking this year? Who are you going to share your success with?

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  1. Elipticizing. It’s elipticizing. So anyways, The Barkley Marathons is a Netflix fave.

    Cheer, Donloree, and happy New Year!

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