Not hardcore, but determined with goals

Where I live is getting hit with one heck of a cold spell. We are into day 7 of an extreme cold warning.

It’s really hard to be motivated when the air you breath hurts you and even hurts to just be outside. But I’ve let excuses get me to a spot I never want to return to again.

I decided to skip my long run on Sunday and do it Monday instead as my body was hurting from just returning to training and doing 2 weekend outdoor workouts back to back instead of just one.

I sort of regret it as Christmas Day is when the cold spell hit even worse then on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day was low key so after an early turkey dinner lunch to accommodate my sister in law’s 2pm shift for her nursing job, my boyfriend and I went home. I bundled myself and Ginny up and off we went.

My goal for my long run this week was 10k. At -40, I knew it may not be that long but thought I’d manage 8k. By 4K, I could tell that no matter how bundle we were, both Ginny and I were not going to make it past 6k. Even that 6th kilometre was painful for us.

So Tuesday, we bundled up again in another frigid day and did a short 4K to make my 10k goal.

I normally don’t run Tuesday’s but thought it would be a way to get in some kilometres since I couldn’t go past 5 or 6k in a run at -40 right now. Sure, I could use a treadmill, but I hate that treadmill even more than this cold weather.

Wednesday we managed a short walk with me wearing my 20lb weighted vest.

I was crosssing fingers and toes that by weekend hit and my training group was facing our outdoor workout, the weather would improve even if a little. Nope. We can sign up for either a Friday or Saturday workout but are allowed to do both if we feel up to it. I signed up for both and decided to see how it went. Friday’s evening one had us facing the coldest temperature we’ve seen yet at -45. It was not easy at all. I layered right.

But working out in multiple layers is not easy. It restricts you a lot! I normally wear runners with cleats on them for these workouts but at -40, I needed the warm boots. Running in heavy boots also adds to the workout. I actually had a (minor luckily) asthma attack midway through. I began to panic worrying I was going to have to stop or I was going to slow everyone down but then I just slowed myself down, stopped for a moment. I slowed my breathing down, dug out my inhaler, first puff, second puff. I could feel it help almost immediately. I waited a few moments and kept working at slowing down my breathing and regaining control. I did. With that, I had another decision to make. Stop or keep going. I wasn’t feeling that severe exhaustion or chest pain of a severe attack so I made the decision to push but go slowly. And I did! I had to be careful to not let breathing to get out of control so I worked at keeping my body working at the right level that I was pushing as hard as I can but without crossing the line of another attack.

I finished the workout.

So this morning came and I could slightly feel the affects of my asthma due to the cold air. The core temperature was extreme at -36 before even the windchill which made it feel like -40. But I had a tea, took emergency inhaler in morning and my daily one before I left. I had time to relax this morning with reading a book for my thesis. And by 9, I felt great.

I went to the workout. It was tough but more so because of the layers. I need them but they sure make it hard! But I was warm and I was healthy and I was strong. And I finished today’s workout too…without asthma attacks.

Asthma used to be an excuse of why I couldn’t do these things I do now. Now I push through and work with my doctor to make it work with me and not me work around it. I’ve learned when an attack means slow down or when it means stop. Working out has actually made the attacks less. That was the first one I’ve had since a a minor one due to humidity in the summer. I used to have them weekly, sometimes daily. Last night, it was the cold air that triggered it. I couldn’t have done anything to stop it. But I read the signals early instead of waiting until too late and treated it right away and followed my body signals to slow down.

I was told I was hardcore today. I’m anything but hardcore. I am mentally battling myself about being out there. I’m whining in my head when the hill sucks to run up with boots. But I have goals in my life now. One is not going back to the person who used to say “Oh sorry asthma attack. Have to stop now.” Or “nope sorry, can’t do that because my asthma may act up”. I am not hardcore, I am determined with goals.

Bring on 2018.

Sometimes the easiest races are the hardest

Fall flew by and I failed at writing anything. Even though I was on a sick leave due to complications from a dental surgery all of October!

After my first Spartan Beast race in Sun Peaks, BC at the end of September that earned me my first Trifecta (I wish I would have written about it right after as what an experience!), my life became a blur of dental appointments, pain and pain meds. It was one of the worst pain I’ve had in my life. I was on a liquid smooth diet and so much pain for 3 weeks. I couldn’t talk or eat well.

But fortunately that’s in the past! However, that one long painful experience has seemed to bring some bad luck to me. I’ve managed to get second degree burns from spilling tea and dislocating a pinky from slipping on ice just days before my second Spartan Beast race in Florida! Luckily I was able to still do the race.

Sun Peaks was a highlight of my 2017. It was 3 mountains and almost 10 hours of racing. I felt fantastic through all of it! It was over 2000 ft of maximum elevation and was 26 kilometres long. After finally crossing that finish line, teammates who had done several Beasts said this was the hardest one they’ve ever encountered.

So heading into Florida, it should have been a piece of cake after Sun Peaks. However, I went into it knowing I shouldn’t be racing with second degree burns. I went into it mentally exhausted by all the little accidents I had been having. The weather ended up being wet and rainy – making my apprehension of obstacles due to my little bad luck streak intensify. This race was flat flat flat. It was only 59 feet of maximum elevation. It should have been a laugh to complete especially as someone who has fallen in love with running.

But each time I reached an obstacle, the little voice in me said “What if?” What if I slipped? What if I got my arm wet? What if I bumped my arm too much? What if landed wrong? What if, what if, what if. My self doubts overpowered this race.

If it weren’t for my teammates pulling me through and talking me down every time I had anxiety, I don’t know how I’d have made it through this race. Thank goodness for the bucket carries, sandbag carries, log carries and farmer log carries that I crushed and helped build my confidence!

It is amazing what the mind can do to someone. I have never been the most confident in myself and have always battled self doubt. My family and friends believe in me more than I do. I think my lack of trust in myself and my lack of fighting to do things for me is why I almost ended up diabetic and obese. And unhappy. I had to push through a lot of hard work and mental battles to lose 97.5 lbs. But I did it. So yes, I may have had a bad streak of injuries. Yes, I may be short. Yes, I may not be the strongest yet. But I’ll be so much more if I can learn to let go of doubting myself and begin to believe in myself. I have a lot of goals for 2018. Behind each goal means letting myself know I can do it.

So Florida was not the race I expected it to be. I did cross that finish line in only 4 hours and I improved in many ways as an athlete if I compare stats to Sun Peaks but I lost more of myself on that Florida race.

In Sun Peaks, I never said I can’t do that. Sure, I got help on some obstacles but I did so with confidence and doing as much as I could on that obstacle. In Florida, I immediately froze at almost every obstacle and began questioning what I was doing. Now post race, I know exactly why I am doing these Spartan races. It’s to prove to myself that I can. It’s to work towards being able to do the obstacles I can’t do yet. It’s to learn that I can do anything I set my mind to. It’s to find that confident woman who was grinning ear to ear all the way through a third Sun Peaks mountain climb that was a straight incline that we had to crawl and saying “I’m living life hard and loving it”.

I don’t want be the girl crossing the Spartan finish line with regrets that I didn’t trust in myself more, failing obstacles I know I could have had and that I relied on others to finish a race for me. I don’t want to look at the finish line with relief that I’m finally crossing it. I want to be the girl who crosses a Spartan finish line after a super hard race with a huge smile of pride in myself knowing I did everything I could for myself on that course – knowing I’d do that race again in a heartbeat even though it just took almost 10 hours to complete. But that I had done it on my own strengths and belief in myself.

I hope that I can revisit this post this time next year and tell you how much I could do in 2018…just because I believed in myself.

The Power of Photos

I took a selfie on a long easy walk with Ginny today. It still makes me uneasy taking photos as I used to despise them. After I took the photo, I look at it and I am yet again surprised when I don’t get that depressed feeling while looking at the image staring back at me. Instead, I find myself happy with the image and in shock that the person staring back is me. And it isn’t just about the difference of how I look because of weight loss. I couldn’t pin it exactly what it is besides the size of person that is striking me so. 

Selfie taken on today’s walk

Photos circa 2011-2012

After thinking about it, I looked up some old photos. It is immediately obvious what the difference is in these images. And it isn’t the weight I lost. It is in the smile. The person before would pose for photos (after trying to find my best angle…) and stress about it. I would sometimes avoid photos too. The person I was before would spend hours finding ways to edit it to make it look better. The person I was before would struggle posting photos that I couldn’t even look at without feeling ashamed. The person I was before smiled for photos on the outside but on the inside, I wanted to run away from who I was and looked like in photos. It is so apparent that I am sure even you can see that smile is so different from the one today. 

In those old photos, I was living life forcing smiles to appear on the outside when inside I was depressed and miserable. Today, I smile with ease and the happiness that shows outside is what is inside too. Not everything is perfect but it never will be. What has changed is how I embrace life and take control of it instead of letting life and its problems control me. 

The life I live in my photos today truly represent who I am and how I feel most of the time. Before the photos were attempts to be normal and try to portray a happy life.

Photos have a power. They tell a story but can also hide a story. I cannot wait to continue to upload photos that tell my new truthful story of inspiration, happiness, motivation, and dedication. I am beginning to recognize the girl in today’s photo and feel that strength she so powerfully shines through unedited. 

Life moving faster than I can write! 

Life has been moving so fast that finding time to pause and write has been challenging.

I have overcome new challenges and ran my first Spartan races 3 weeks ago in Red Deer, Alberta. I ran both the Sprint and Super. 

For anyone just beginning to change their life, don’t let the fear of how long it takes affect you. When September rolls around this year, it will have been 4 years since I changed my lifestyle. It feels like forever ago and it feels like a blur. But here I am, almost 4 years later, and still pushing forward. 

On this journey, I have lost 96.5 pounds – lost 1.8 this week to make this total. I weigh 158.4. When I began, I was 254.9 pounds and just found out I was testing pre diabetic. I have now lost 37.8% of the body weight I used to have.

I was terrified to began as I had tried so many times and failed. But this time I did it differently. I made healthier meals and decided to focus on getting myself moving. I was ashamed to do anything in public and started walking on a treadmill we bought second hand. I also did some Wii activities – wii fit, Zumba, dancing games. In April 2014, I began to run. I couldn’t run 200 metres without gasping. But I kept at it improving slowly. My almost year long dedication to changing my life opened up the conversation with my boyfriend of getting a dog. I always wanted one, and he did too, but we were living pretty much sedentary. My previous lifestyle would not be fair to any dog. At the end of May 2014, we brought home my running partner, Ginny. We have become almost inseparable on most workouts and runs. It was the best decision at this point to keep me going. When winter hit, she needed to get out even in -40 C. She kept me going in my first year of winter running. 

Ginny and I running Wascana Trails August 2017

I began to sign up for 5k events and eventually led up to training for a half marathon in September 2015. 

The weight flew off quickly at the beginning. I lost about 60 pounds when I hit a rock solid plateau. The problem was that I was only running and walking. I realized I needed to do more and that strength training was what I was missing. As well, I had made changes to the calories and some of the food choices in my diet but often used workouts as excuse to pig out on junk after. 

In November 2016, I joined Conviction Fitness in Regina. A Spartan SGX coach and nutrition certified trainer who is also the husband of a friend and colleague. Initially, I was saying I joined only to go once or twice a week to improve my running and continue my weight loss. After one session, I realized how much my body couldn’t do but could learn to do. I began training as a regular Pro paying athlete with Conviction working out 3 times a week with the team as well as doing running and training suggested by trainer. 

I changed my eating habits drastically. I no longer used workouts to eat junk but to eat healthier carbs. I increased protein and healthy fats. And carbs were reserved mainly for post workouts. Sure, I have a cheat day here and there but I have developed such a routine with my diet that even fruit post workout feels like a treat! No longer do I need to have a cheat day every week or come home to order pizza on a bad day. Food has become a part of my success and not a part of the problem. 

Some of my meals…

Since joining Conviction Fitness 8.5 months ago, I have lost almost another 40 pounds. It took me 3 years to lose 60. That says a lot! I haven’t been at a weight this low since around grade 9? Maybe even longer! And my initial reason to join of just improving running? It worked. I keep improving and achieving new Personal Bests. However, I forcefully told everyone “I am only doing this to improve. I am not interested in Spartans at all. Nope. 0 interest. Not happening.” 

Spartan Sprint and Super Weekend Red Deer 2017

In January 2017, I signed up for 3 races. The Spartan Sprint in Red Deer in July and the Calgary Sprint and Super in August. Last month I also signed up for the Super in Red Deer as a friend was running it so thought we could partner up. 

The first day, I walked onto the grounds and wondered what the hell did I get myself into? I see the map and 25 obstacles and began to overthink. I can’t do this! I am not ready. My 9:30 heat came faster than I was ready for but off we went. First up was a through wall, a vertical cargo net, the rolling mud and dunk wall. My body was going for it and my mind began to realize I was more ready than I wanted to believe. Out of the 25 obstacles that day, I only struggled with the walls (inverted, 6 foot, and 7 foot wall. Part of it is needing more upper body strength and another large part is mental), the rope climb, and the evil rig. I almost did the Z wall but fell at last second. Being in open meant I could try again but my grip from first attempt made me shaky and it wasn’t happening. I did burpees and thankfully a friend shared. I had to do burpees for the rig – that thing was insane! Rings at different heights and bars and ropes! I made spear throw for Sprint but missed it next day. I did do walls but with help so at least no burpees. Otherwise everything else seemed easy! The next day for Super only 4 obstacles added – the 4 foot wall, 8 foot wall, the tyrolean traverse, and tire flip. Crushed tire flip and almost made traverse without help but needed help at the end as rope in calves killed. Of course the 4 foot wall I crushed but 8 foot was insane. I got help and did it but terrifying. I realized I am more scared of getting down without landing wrong or slipping than I am of getting up the wall. I ran Sunday’s longer (5km more than the 7.5 Sprint) Super at a way faster pace than the Sprint. It took us 2 hours 29 to finish Sprint and only 3 hours 10 minutes to finish Super. 

Post Super Sunday
Post Sprint Saturday

I fell in love with Spartan racing that weekend. I have never been one to get dirty or take risks. But seeing myself fighting mental fears and overcoming them felt amazing. Climbing the Stairway to Sparta or the A frame cargo net made my stomach twirl a bit. But I proved that it is possible. 

It started as a joke with 2 friends who took upon the challenge to convince me to get in the mud pits. And it ended with me finding a new passion. 

Conviction Fitness Pickle Squad

It was these 2 with me above along with my colleagues and friends, Samira and Amanda, who inspired me and motivated me to this point. The medals I received this weekend were emotional for me. It was that recognition of coming from where I was in 2013 to running in 2014 to running obstacles today. 

I cannot wait for Calgary this weekend. This trip will be special too as Brad, my boyfriend, is joining me for the trip. I am excited for him to see what I have been doing and why have been doing it. I am excited to see him at the finish line as he is a huge reason why I am able to cross it. 

Never doing a Spartan race? Well 2 down, 2 to go… and heck, let’s add a Beast in Florida in December. Why not end the year of overcoming new challenges with the ultimate challenge? After Red Deer, I instantly knew I’d regret not trying to do a Beast and get my Trifecta. 

2017 has been owned and crushed by this girl! I am still in awe of where I came from and excited to see how much further I can go. 

Left – one of my 1st running events in 2015/Right – Red Deer Spartan Super 2017

Less than 3 weeks until my first Spartan “Aroo!”

I woke up yesterday with the first thought being “Holy crap, my first Spartan race is in 3 weeks”. My heart raced in my chest and I had to take a few deep breaths.

I have to admit as each day passes and the weekend comes closer, I find moments of my heart racing. Am I ready? Will I like it? Will I get hurt? How many flipping burpees will I have to do? As well, I keep thinking of little things I never thought of until now like “Where the heck should I put my inhaler?” and “What clothing should I wear?” I find myself googling tips but there are so many different preferences and opinions.

I begin to think about how I can’t do a pull up yet, or haven’t climbed a rope ever, or that I am 4 foot 11 and the walls are terrifying me (even in some nightmares). I don’t even know the obstacles well enough like many of my teammates I train with do. They can name them and describe them but without experiencing them, I forget many of them as they share their wealth of Spartan knowledge.

However, fortunately, I train with Conviction Fitness in Regina and our team is like a family. One of my best and closest friends (I will call her A) has been helping me through some of my panic. Reminding me to just take it slow and not worry about finishing fast. To enjoy the moments. She has given me tips about visualizing the obstacles as I am out running or doing a workout. A tells me to make sure to attempt all the obstacles, no matter what my mind tells me. Another friend I have made recently on the team, who is an amazing Spartan athlete, reminds me that I will fail some, but it is about overcoming next time. He reminds me that being out there is amazing enough. Just like A, he tells me to try every obstacle even if I don’t think I can.

I am not where many of the athletes I train with are, and that is okay. I am competing for me. But I am so thankful that I am going to this first Spartan Sprint and Super weekend with pretty much my whole team there. My successes in overcoming my new challenges (that are easy to most in the workouts) are equally recognized as huge accomplishments. I am often hearing “You got this” and “Keep going” and “You are amazing” from my team when I am struggling. And though I can’t always respond back – I hear them. Loud and clear.

Mountain of Hope Selfie.jpg
Majority of my Conviction Fitness Family, but missing a few. 

So what am I going to do?


I will continue to persevere. I am going to go to the event, fears and all, and do my best. I am going to take the advice of visualizing the obstacles in the next 3 weeks of my workouts. My challenge is I am not sure I know all of them so I have this new idea of watching some videos of some Sprints and Supers runs and visualizing me doing the obstacles as I watch it.

I am going to go to my first Spartan events in Red Deer and attempt it all. What I fail, I will one day overcome. I will go to another Spartan race and try it again and again. I will do my burpees without complaint, as I could not even do 5 burpees before I began this journey. I will remember what my trainer and teammates see in me and not give up. I will push forward, never quitting. I have only reasons to move ahead, and excuses to hold be back. I will not let those excuses return to hold me back as it was those excuses that led to me becoming extremely overweight, depressed, and pre-diabetic.

I am going to be proud of myself when I cross that finish line no matter the time I ran or how many obstacles I may have failed because as the Spartan saying goes:


However – please feel free to leave me some tips as well! Especially about where the heck to keep an asthma inhaler. Right now, I am thinking ziploc bag in a zippered back pocket of my running shorts.

Summer Shorts, Tanks, and Rolls

As the temperature continues to rise, I find myself bringing out the summer clothes. I own exactly 3 pairs of summer shorts and a handful of tank tops. I own even less running shorts – 2 pairs of the extra long kind!

However, I find as May turns into June that I cannot keep this up. I need more summer clothes, especially for workouts. On one hot day, I wore a pair of my navy blue summer shorts. A Grade 1 student asked me, “Mme Irvine, why are your legs like that?” He caught the attention of all the students around and suddenly I was being examined by about 100 kids outside at that time. I just told him “That’s how my legs are. Everyone is different.”

I think I responded well but I can’t say it didn’t pierce a bit of my pride I have gained in my 93.3 pound weight loss. The question he asked was referring to the way my leg veins protrude out – my previous excessive obesity caused varicose veins and such. Also, I have extra skin that is left from the weight loss. The date this happened was May 12. I have been extremely self conscious to wear shorts since that day.

In my workouts, I wore a pair of shorts and a tank and felt uncomfortable because even though they fit, some of the extra skin around me is more obvious when I were summer clothing. I went back to capris.

I have grown more uncomfortable as the heat gathers. The skin thing is something I can look at medically and I will – but that is my own thing. The problem is how I can learn to be comfortable in the person I am. This extra skin is a badge of honour. I should be proud of it. I am not proud that I let myself get to a point where I almost became diabetic, but I am proud that I had the strength and the courage to stop it from happening.

I decided I had to just get over this stage and be brave. I bought 3 pairs of Under Armour shorts and a handful of tank tops from Old Navy, Salomon, and North Face. The shorts and some of the tops arrived today and I tried them on.

First reaction – proud that I fit size medium shorts and size small tops.

Second reaction – while looking into the mirror, I can see the rolls and the bumps and lumps. And I almost tear off the clothes and move to grab my capris.

Third reaction – I freeze. I stop. I can see my collarbones. I never could before. I can see a figure – I never had one before (well, except the one of a snowman or Pilsbury doughboy). I can see muscles. I never could before. If I look at myself as a whole – I look like an athletic person if I ignore what has been leftover from my struggle, my journey and my success.

So, I am keeping on these shorts and this top. I have a workout tonight that will total 100 kettlebell swings and 100 burpees in an non air-conditioned garage in +27 degree weather. I may flip and flop about but that’s ok.

This summer, I am wearing my shorts and tanks proudly. I will be working a day summer camp for the city all summer – and if the kids have questions, I will not be ashamed but proud. I am someone they can look up to now. I am someone who changed what I thought was impossible to do.

I am me, muscles, rolls, and all. I am healthy with some leftovers of a battle. I do not need to cover up who I am.

Whether you are just getting started, in the middle, or at the end of a weight loss journey – don’t let other people’s image of you make you cover yourself up to a point you are uncomfortable. You can allow yourself to be physically uncomfortable and melt in capris and t-shirts all summer, or remind yourself that you are moving forward. With that, you leave behind all the negativity and lighten the burden of that stress (physically and literally!). Become comfortable in the you that you are becoming. Wear those shorts. Wear those tank tops. Keep moving forward. I bet most people are thinking “Way to go” and who cares about the few who aren’t. They don’t matter. You matter. Get out there and be amazing.

As my new workout tank says – “Positive minds, positive vibes”.

The Kindness of Strangers

I have a goal. To write more! Between running, grad classes, teaching, Spartan training workouts, cooking, meal prep, and life itself… I find I neglect this. And I do love it so. But sometimes you have to wait for that moment that forces you to write again.

This moment came to me Monday. After work, I took my dog for a walk – it was a rest day. As we head into our neighbourhood park, I bump into one of our “park friends”. As someone who runs/walks daily (sometimes twice a day) in our neighbourhood park, I meet a lot of people. Some stop and chat. Some say hello. Some I know their names. Some I forget their names often. Some we don’t even bother to introduce ourselves – content being known as what we all know we call each other – that lady with the black lab; or old guy who bird watches. Some we only smile at and have never talked. The park is an amazing community of strangers of different levels. 

This Monday’s encounter was with a stranger who I do know her name. She goes by Kris. Kris and I met for the first time after Ginny’s attack 3 years ago. She was actually there when my dog was attacked by two dogs but was a distance away and could only hear it happen. Not see it. We bumped into each other a few week’s after the attack when she was in conversation with another park stranger I bump into often. When this stranger asked me how Ginny was, Kris realized who I was and told me she was there the day it happened.

Since then, Kris and I bump into each other at least once a month. We chat. Our dogs sniff each other. Sometimes our catch up chats go for 20 minutes. She always begins every unexpected meeting with “damn girl you are getting skinny”. She has seen me go from 230 pounds to 161. 

This Monday meet started like all of the rest. “Damn girl…you’re getting so skinny…I almost didn’t recognize you!” I changed the subject to her and we chat. We talk about how much Ginny has improved with her anxiety and hyperness. Kris tells me (as she has many times) how impressed she is with how I’ve worked with Ginny and her lunging at dogs, bikes… etc. Through this – Ginny proves her comments true as she ignores several dogs and bikes. Kris asks me about my running again and what I’ve done for events recently. When I told her about my recent half marathon I completed, I see a tear in her eye. It’s spring. I think it is allergies. When she asks if I mind telling her how much I’ve lost now… I tell her… 93.3 pounds. And now I can clearly see it isn’t allergies. She is crying. For me. With happiness. A random stranger who I meet here and there without planning. She tells me how proud she is of me and she turns away, embarassed of her tears. I smile and thank her.

We finish our chat, realize it is getting late, and we both mention having suppers to get to. We leave not knowing when we will next bump into each other again.

As I continue on my way through the park, it is the first time I realize how much this neighbourhood park means to me and has become a part of me. 

These paths. These views. They are a part of my “home”. They are where I first began to change myself. It is here where I first took the courage to try and run. It is here where I never gave up – even when I was slow, tired, and overweight. It is here where the possibility of getting my running partner became possible. Once I made my walks and runs routine, my boyfriend and I realized I could now handle what I’ve always wanted – a dog. So it is here where Ginny and I grew together. First as owner and pet. Then as friends. Then best friends. And eventually as running partners. It is here where I clear my head of bad days and bad events. It is here where I have had many of my best days. It is here where I have shared my love for running with students and with family and with friends. 

So thanks to Kris…my random stranger friend….for reminding me that kindness, in any form, is necessary even to a stranger. Thank you for caring enough about me, someone you barely know, to share happy tears in my success in changing my life. Thank you for reminding me to not take these moments in the park – whether with our random stranger “friendships” or the personal, individual moments that we experience on our own.

It is here where I became someone so completely different. It is here where I look forward to seeing myself grow – as a runner (soon to also add Spartan race athlete); as a dog owner; as a teacher; as a friend; as a life changer; and as a random park stranger. 

Don’t be afraid to talk to those strangers that you see every day. They can sometimes be your source of motivation to keep you moving forward. Be your source of remembering to appreciate all the moments of life. Be the tears of your happiness – reminding you to be proud of yourself. A random stranger can be a friend. 

Thank you Kris. If you ever read this.