Sunday, November 6, 2016

Excuses, excuses... and a new life ahead

There is a post in my drafts about the Barrelman Swim/Bike, another one about the Zoo Run 10K, yet here I am starting another one full of excuses instead. Life happened, again. About the same time last year I abandoned my blog, but for entirely different reasons. I was about to hit a concrete wall, quite literally. This time around, life is pretty full of awesome.
Fall is my favorite season. The smile says it all.
At the end of September, the Monday after Barrelman, I left my 16 yr long career in computer engineering to start a new adventure. I went back to school to become an arborist. I am in a two semester program at the Humber College that will give me a diploma in Urban Arboriculture sometime in April 2017.
Humber North Campus and the daily sunrise
To say that it is intense it is an understatement. We learn tree biology, how to identify over 50 trees, everything about safety in working at heights, operating a chainsaw, a chipper and other sharp and dangerous objects. We learn about tree diseases, fungi, how to identify failures in a tree and how to deal with hydro, wildlife, construction, root damage etc. And that's just the theory. We learn to make more than a dozen knots (blindfolded), how to climb a tree, walk on limbs, do aerial rescues, prune, fell trees, chip brush, set up our climbing system, use a lanyard and much more. For people with little upper body strength like me, every practice session is a full body workout. You can probably understand how much soreness and muscle tiredness I deal with on a daily basis. You may think it's an excuse, but I had weeks when I could not even hold my fork and knife at lunch to eat. Going to Taekwondo, swimming, biking or running was just too much physically.
Climbing trees has never been more exciting, especially when you do it safely.
Welcome to my classroom
Tree identification bouquet after a walk through the Arboretum
Then mid October I started not one job, but two. I work as a server at Swiss Chalet and Uber EATS driver, just so I can help Zin make ends meet. It hasn't been easy. I've been learning the value of money the hard way. When I earn 15 bucks from a delivery and then I spend 15 bucks on my lunch, I see exactly where the money is going. This is the kind of perspective that I didn't have before. But such is life, and it is quite humbling to go back to earning minimum wage. But aside from bringing enough money to help pay our bills, I have no other sources of stress, which is a huge step forward from what my life used to be. I spend 3 days a week outside climbing trees and cutting wood, then evenings making other people's day by bringing them food, be it at their table or at their door. I am actually having a lot of fun, in a new and challenging way, and I have zero regrets about leaving the corporate world behind.

Alas, working weekends and evenings also removed lots of opportunities for working out. I thought about going for a run today, but my last "excuse" is that I have also been sick for the past two weeks. I have been coughing, and coughing often and hard. Combined with the crisp, cold autumn air and my asthma, the cough has been relentless. After 10 days of Tylenol Cold and Sinus, I went to the doctor and begged for a Codeine cough syrup that should do the trick by knocking myself out for a few nights.

And these are the reasons why I stopped working out in the last month (my last run was on October 10) and concentrated on surviving my new arborist training days. I really hope to be able to get on top of this cold and at least go back to Taekwondo. I decided to wait for January to start my training for Ironman Mt Tremblant 70.3. Until then, I am going to concentrate on my next belt grading at the end of December and maybe, just maybe, being able to sneak in a run or two.

One thing that happened though and I almost forgot about, is that I attended another Taekwondo tournament and I didn't get my ribs broken this time, yeah! I ended getting silver in sparring and gold in patterns in my division. Besides, I got my Encyclopedia signed by the founder of Taekwondo's son, and president of the International Taekwondo Federation, Grand Master Choi Jung Hwa. A day full of win, indeed!
Two gigantic medals at a very special tournament
Humbled to have the Taekwondo Encyclopedia signed by the founder's son
And this is all I can share today, with the little time I have on my hands. School exams are going to occupy most of my free time going forward, aside from everything else that has to do with being an adult, like saving for our kids' college and paying our mortgage and taxes on time. Maybe I will find some time to write race reports, maybe I'll choose to take a nap instead. I honestly don't know. I am living so much in the present, I rather not make any ambitious plans. Right now, it's all about enjoying the special moments in the canopy like the one below.