Run Report – Niagara Falls International Marathon 5k

Yup. This is a wee bit late!

Niagara Falls International Marathon – 5k

This at the start of the year was scheduled to be my 2nd attempt at a Marathon. Even after I did Disney and broke my body, still in my mind I was stubborn to think I still can do it, even not being able to run without being dizzy or having severe pains.

I dropped to the 5k just to do it. It was actually me against the finish line, so I was pumped with the weather being cooler that I was going to have a decent run.

The race expo moved locations, which was nice to park, walk along the water and see the falls. The actual expo had way too many people in it for me, I just wanted to get out as fast as I could. There was a lot of confusion where to go, and which lines up everyone was in. I didn’t stop at any of the booths at the expo as it was just too many people. I liked it back at the centre, where there was room, to shop, talk and view, plus room to move. So hopefully next year they figure out a better system to keep people moving, signage up and mostly less confusion. I was also confused as when I got bib and shirt, there was no bag to put anything in. So in in essences there was no “race packet for the 5km”.

This year NFIM changed the half marathon course, to an out and back, which started after the 10ks (went first) and then us 5ks followed by the halfs. We all ran an out and back.  This will never work if they try to send off the halfs last. I was clipped by a runner coming back and ended up landing on my tail bone and left side, as Koren tried to keep me up. While I was on the ground trying to make sure my wrist was not broken, I had runners still crossing the “line” trying to run me over. I want to thank the random stranger who for right on the ground, who helped me get my wind back and was true angel. I got up dusted off the mud and finished in true Jodie spirit. But even at this we had runners in the half thinking they had the full road. There was no Marshalls on course keeping everyone to the right. I don’t even think I saw a medic riding around at all.

I finished the run. I was happy to get up, but mostly angry and that I let drive me to finish. I knew the next weekend I had STWM and I could set out to chase a new PB.

I love the sparkle on the medal. I earned the medal, after getting up and realizing that I re-hurt myself from the fall in February.

Unless the order changes for this run for next year I will not be doing it. I can’t risk the runners of the halfs taking up the full road, clipping me or I have to be pushed to the uneven grass to accommodate them. We all are out chasing the same finish line.

So I will be eagerly watching to see what is changed for the 2019 run.

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Adjusting My Sails

I’ve been sitting on this and with some news I received this past week a lot of puzzle pieces were able to be clicked together over the week.

Sunday August 12, I had a long run for my marathon training plan. I started out before the sun was even glowing to rise and start a new day. I felt strong at the beginning and ran the first 6kms on a solid pace. I’ve been experiencing a pain in my hip but it was centred to one point and it just started to flare up, which slowed me a bit but I didn’t think much of it. By the time I was over 10kms in I was adjusting my running to compensate for the pain. I just ignored it, I knew it was a mental game, or that is what I liked to think, by 15kms in I knew it was going down fast. I had to stop for the bathroom, which I never do. This was a life struggle with wet running gear. After getting back going the pain was very present.

I just decided to fight my mind. Koren was with me riding her bike, making sure I had my endurance tap, my nuun was topped up constantly.

I started to slow and at one point the lady in the crocs ran past me and I told Koren I was just done, but I was not going to quit. This run was supposed to be 22kms. After an ugly cry, the pain being unbearable and my head felt like it was floating, I called it. I called it not even at an even number, I just stopped. IMG-6270

I was angry. I hated this run, I hated how it was just ugly all around. It was the worse training run I’ve had that I can remember in my running career. It just was nasty.

I knew my body needed to be looked at, I could barely lift my leg to get into the vehicle. I was in pain. I felt broken.

Leading up to this run, I had a lot of things take place over the days before. My run coach told me he needed to step back, away, down to deal with some personal issues, which I am ok with, it just came more of a surprise as this was when I was needing him the most, with my nutrition to added the kms and a huge percent was for my mental health, in understanding the fears, the doubts. So I had this loss and I will be honest it did hurt, but again I respect his reasons and the why.

After that Sunday I knew it was time to see Dr. Ashley, she is a runner and understands my body as she’s been working on me for over 3 years. I was struggling for most of the week to just do stairs without pain and in the night the pain was waking me up. I was doing heat, stretches, but I knew, it needed an expert.

As well as last week, I went to see my doctor, I had not been feeling well in the last few months, I just couldn’t shake the feeling of always being tired, and I felt that I was struggling more and more each day. After I was in the hospital in November and recovery after that I never really honestly felt myself. After some extensive testing and spending a day going back and forth to doctors/hospital. I’ve been given my answers. I have a long road ahead for bringing my body back to “healthy” with regards to no long being anemic, needing shots and transfusions at the hospital. This has explained so much in why I am in bed by 8pm and I just want an afternoon nap. My body is struggling. All this has brought down my own mental health and wellbeing.

I saw Ashley on the weekend, she talked in sports medicine talk and all I think I understood was my pelvis or something was twisted and my bursitis hip/sack is something….. But she gave me some food for thought, to decide how and if I can continue training for my marathon. Its ideas I need to weigh out for pain vs getting in distance or focus on becoming healthy again.

This past week I’ve weighed out my options, I have done the exercises, I’ve rested, I’ve heated and I’ve come to the conclusion. I can’t be marathon body ready. I can’t run the long distances for training. I can, but I can’t run with tears or pain. I can’t risk having an injury that prevents me from running in the future or limits my distances.

This decision has been heart breaking to make but I have to think long term but mostly about my health today. With having to have transfusions and injections to bring my body back to “healthy”, I can’t add in the stress of the extra early mornings of getting up and training and exhausting my body.  I’ve sat on this, talked to people and just had to make the decision.

I want to be healthy. I want to be able to run the Wine and Dine in Disney in November. But mostly I want to be able to know my body can still run and reach goals and achieve my dreams.

This set back is huge but it’s not going to destroy my goals but I have to be smart. Trust me I’ve cried. I’ve talked to my doctor and mostly I have had to listen to my body. I am just exhausted and I need to continue training but for a half marathon distance and not stress over a marathon at this time in my life.

I know I will become a marathoner, it’s just a matter of time and it will happen.

To everyone, including those companies who have believed in me this far, don’t give up on me. This is just a setback. I am going to crush it at Wine and Dine (plus not fall during the half and injury myself). I have major plans in 2019. I am going to be stronger both physically and mentally.

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Transformation

This week my #TransformationTuesday showed a huge transformation of my body.

But what you all do not realize is this;

Picture on left; I was over 300lbs. I had this fear of walking on this suspension bridge in the town near me. This was the farthest I’d walk out on it. I had panic attacks that my weight would break the bridge. Yes this is a fear plus size people have. I was so afraid to step on the bridge.

Picture on right; I’ve lost over 140lbs. My fear of my weight breaking bridges is nonexistent. I have confidence in me; in knowing I can’t break items just by standing on them. I walked this bridge without fear.

My life has changed both on the outside and my own mental thinking with my weight loss. I don’t see myself anymore in the sense “I will break things”. I can enjoy life so much more without this mental road block.

#RunningChangedMe #Plussize #Fitness #Healthy #MeVsMe #MentalHealth #Fears #Weightloss #FatGone #ThisIsMe #RunChat #Marathon #BeHappy

About Time

After my asthma attack on Friday in which I needed to leave work early, I knew my scheduled run distance was going to be changed. I spoke to my coach and he told me that I need a mental break run. He told me to run “partially naked”. My new goal was just run for 3hrs. To listen to my body and don’t push my lungs.

So my alarm was set for 4:50am. My hydration pack was ready to go and my nuun was made. I set out to my starting point and just started running. I previously mapped out a plan for the “distance” run earlier in the week so I figured this AM I’d just start it and run the previously planned route.  I had a ride lined up so where I end at the 3hrs someone would pick me up.

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I find it peaceful to run through my towns quiet streets with the lights still on. Trust me I was a rebel and ran down the middle of the road.

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I remembered why I also hate running in the streets and no on paths/parks. I don’t do sidewalks at all. It kills my body. My knees hurt which they never ever do. It was horrible. So next long run will not have sidewalks.

I loved watching the sunrise. I counted 11 little bunnies and 3 deer’s that crossed my path.

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I have had some hip pain a couple of weeks ago on my right side. Last year it was my left. So I’ve stretched it out. Heat to it and now going to try ice. But I know I need to see either massage therapist or Dr. Ashley.

So Sunday I went 18kms. Not my best time not my worst but I did it. Marathon training  is more of a mental game this time around. Next week I will be back on track for speed. This is me. This is my speed. I’m not a “perfect” runner and you can’t compare me to anyone else

During my run I received this message from a fellow team nuun member;

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This was exactly what I needed. This amazing woman wrote me today of all days and it was what clicked. The hard times are not going to last and she believes in me.  No way in hell now am I giving up.

I know that in the end I have it in me to be a marathoner. I will accomplish this.

October 14 will be here soon and I have stepped up my game.  I’m out of my funk.

Also I think I’m going to switch up my shoe game.  Stay tuned on that!

the juggle

This is one of those posts I have stumbled in the start of it. Where do I start? Where do I jump in? This chapter has colourful moments and it also contains dark pages.

I’ve not been as strict this time around with my marathon training, I’ve used the nasty head game and talked myself out of runs, gym etc. Basically I’ve struggled a lot lately with my mental health.

I think my largest struggle is learning the life / work / training balance. I commute to and from work. There are days I’m out of the house for over 16 hrs. I admit I’m dog tired. Then my head game kicks in. I’d sooner sleep and rest over going out and run.

I’ve lost my every other week long run buddy. So I’ve doubt myself. All the while I keep forgetting the famous quote my Rumi

I went into sheer panic and almost thinking I’d drop out of doing the marathon because I did not believe I could do it alone. I reached out and asked friends who I thought could or would be wanting to help etc. But everyone is busy. Life is busy. So I mentally got myself wrapped around I could not do it. It was like I had the fear of failure and heart ache which just made me depressed. Last October’s attempt is still raw in my heart.

Last summer my Sherpa Mom and I had such a good schedule. This year it’s been lost. I’ve recently reached out to a friend who is a runner in my area to see if she’s up to doing some training runs. Finding a bike for Koren as she is broken with her knee.  It’s a matter of just asking. Knowing people are there to help me.

I did a lot of soul searching. I had to first find out if my body would be able to handle this again.  If the blood values would work and my legs would carry me. I’ve seen another specialist for my asthma and she told me to continue to run.

As we all know my body fights me daily but I’m still stronger.

Just recently (past week) I had the melt down. I acknowledged I’ve been depressed. I’ve been letting my body win. My mind win.  So I decided to take Jodie back. My anxiety had been keeping me awake, I constantly felt like I could not breathe. My anxiety was back full force; it was kicking in at times when I was meant to be out having fun (happened at a concert). I had/have to get on top of this. I had to become me again.

This past weekend I got back on the training plan, mapped it out better. I had to work on the work / life balance. To factor in getting home at times at 7pm and back up at 5am (or before I have a horrible internal clock). I had to plan and adjust to life of July.

I realized even more this journey is going to be more of it being about me and learning just how strong my mind is. How much I’ve grown since I first started running. This marathon; I know my body can take me 42.2kms. It’s my mind I am training this time around. More so I don’t have anxiety or just do not finishing. Not having panic. Mental health is serious.

I own the road. The road does not own me. So this plan and training I’ll figure it out. I’ll do myself proud. I will stay being me and mostly I’ll ask more people for help, I won’t keep quiet and I will speak out when I need to and mostly I will continue to love running and the joy it brings me.

“sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.”

I Challenge you to…..

be a Motivator-Bunny and here is why:

Leading up to the Diva’s half, I reached out to many women who would be there running their first half or first 5k. I made a connection over a year ago with Robyn. The first time I met her was in my corral for the marathon last October. She was an amazing cheerleader to me. I talked to Robyn leading up to the half, as it was her first. I sent her a bunch of Diva buff’s for her and her tribe. Her tribe trained with her and got her to the start line.

Leading up to the run I told her I’d run with her and if she was faster to run on and spread her wings. Let them fly and soar.

On the morning of the run I up with Robyn and her amazing friend Amanda who is a warrior herself. I was super proud to meet her. This women has a beautiful soul and the Diva’s run was hers to run.

This run was a first for me as I think I was afraid I was going to slow Robyn down. I believed us to be in this together.

I considered my job the Motivator-Bunny, not a pace bunny, because I was not going to push her past the point of still loving running, but to get the job done, be uncomfortable.

We started out perfect and how can you not love the views that Toronto Island has to offer. The weather was perfect. We slowed a wee bit as the sun came up and the temperatures got warmer, but we never stopped, there was going to be no towel tossing in on my watch.

I personally look back on this run and I am pretty sure Robyn might just think I am a wee bit nuts as I danced, ran backwards, sang to her (trust me I don’t do any old school songs justice), told stories but mostly I reminded her why we were out there. She was going to become a half f**king marathoner, which I think I yelled a few times as well. I kept her focused, away from the pain, the mental questions of why did I sign up for this. I was just the crazy cheerleader running beside her. I felt her emotions, I read her body and knew when to be quiet and let her mentally focus, as well as I knew when I could push her a bit more.

I never let her think we are last or in the middle or the front for as long as I could, we did have our own security after a while and he was pretty sweet, as he did offer me food.

The main focus with being the motivator-bunny was remaindering her its only one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, this helped me and we got the 21.1 kms done.

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I cried for Robyn. I cried for her when I told her how proud I was of this amazing woman who crushed a goal, who had the courage to start. She was a diva for sure on that Sunday, but mostly she on her own became a half marathoner. I relived what it was like to be doing this for the first time, but also to experience the emotions on another level.

I honestly don’t think I know how to put the words down in print on how my emotions were. I am thankful for Robyn for allowing me to tag along in her journey. She allowed me again to see how strong this running community is and how much we are a family. Robyn taught me so much during those 21kms, about myself and my love of running.

I don’t know if Robyn will ever run with me again, as I still can’t sing and my dancing is left to the imagination, but I was blessed for this experience. So Thank you Robyn for allowing me this experience, for filling my heart on happiness and giving me the chance to see this half through fresh eyes.

So…. To all those who are reading this, I challenge you to be a motivator-bunny for someone in the back half of a run, who is out there running for the first time, or who is trying to get to a new goal. Remember goals are different for everyone.

I challenge you to see running through the eyes of someone who is so far out of their comfort zone they are scared, fear is right in their face and failure is floating in their mind, but they are going to get it done because the finish line is the victory.

Don’t go pace someone, go motivate someone, time is not what their run is about maybe, but as I said the finish. Help show and remove the stigma attached that being in the back half is an embarrassment.

Go feel how the victory is, how the back half run and get to the same finish you normally do (and in some cases in half the time).

So the challenge is out there…. Go be a motivator-bunny for someone.

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Run Like A Diva – Version 2018

Wow…the changes! The amazing good vibes on Toronto Island were just phenomenal.

If you ran it last year and opted out this year, you truly missed out. If you didn’t sign up because of last year rain flooded island location move, again you missed out.

I am just saying you should truly consider signing up for the 2019 run. Plus these medals are just amazingly large!

The run / Race Director listened to our voices! There was more water stations, more bathrooms, food was bagged so everyone got food! So there was no chance of anyone grabbing more and leaving none for others. The course had music, with great spots to grab selfies with blow up signs. It had live bands which was amazing to dance along with as we made our way to the finish. There was ample places for families to be around the course to cheer us on.

On course safety was amazing (maybe they knew I was going to be out there)! The bike marshals were excellent in keeping our safety in check. Mike (one of the bike ones guys) was always floating around asking if we needed anything, helping people out who were in distress and just keeping other people from being on course. The golf cart drivers as well, made sure everyone was ok, and if anyone needed a place to sit if they needed rest etc.

The expo was a true boutique style and had lots of vendors, other runs, fire fighters you could pose with as well as buy merchandise. Your swag came in a reusable bag, which was nice, especially for beach days etc.

The run was well planned with the ferry schedule, which I always love riding on to see Toronto from a different angle.

There was ample signs when we got to the island to direct us to the location of the start.

The volunteers again were amazing, lots of them and always ready with the water and cheers.

I loved how the pylons were even pink to match with the theme. It was true we all were divas on the Sunday. You constantly saw staff out on the course making sure everything was ok and runners were protected for when a ferry came with more people.

With being the last runner, there was enough water and electrolytes. There was nothing being taken down in the rear which was nice. The start was taken down which makes sense as it’s a double loop and running over the mat again would not of worked. I found this as a huge positive not to see the course being picked up behind you as you were out running. Not having the pressure of a crew taking the course away is a mental positive. So thank you for not doing this.

The bubbly at the end was still ice cold and very refreshing on the hot day.

Overall this run is a great event. To see this many women, including young females out participating, supporting each other is amazing. There were many mom/daughter teams, best friends and a few fathers running with their young daughters. To see this kind of support of encouragement is awesome.

I highly suggest if you haven’t run this event yet, you add it to your 2019 list. Grab some friends, coworkers, family and empower and support women. You’ll hear laughter, see smiles and just have a good time out, collecting memories and a huge medal for your accomplishment.

The Journey Back

The days leading up to the Diva run I questioned myself, on my own fears of will I fall again, can I do this and will I finish; the list just went on. My longest training run before this was 8kms. I knew I could do the half as I’ve done them before, mentally I knew what had to be done, it just was my body I was worried about.

I actually had nerves as this was going to be my first half marathon not my 8th, I had this thought that I wasn’t going to finish and I was going to let myself down and all those who were cheering for me.

This run was for me was the comeback run, which I needed to do and get over my fears and hurdles. It was for me.

This was the first run in a while that Koren and I did not plan to do together, Koren is injured right now and was just going to go out there and walk etc.

I am going to admit, this run hurt. My body hurt. I realized that my elbow and shoulder still flare up and cause pain. I still have a lot of work to do with regards to getting my body back physically in the shape it was in before my fall, so I don’t have shoulder issues as well as a burning left arm, when running. I know I got work to do.

But my biggest fear was my left leg. The Thursday before the run I met with my surgeon, who had all my test results and this meeting was to discuss surgery etc. The results did not come back as good as I wanted. My left leg does not get enough blood flow and at times the values leading to my legs are not working to pump any blood. This is causing my leg to struggle at times, feel like dead weight and can be numb or mostly I have pain that is sharp and stabbing. Once I talked with the surgeon, it was decided that I am too high risk to have the surgery and a new drug is on the market that can try and slowly fix the issue. The surgeon knows my medical history and knows what type of person I am, so before he even came to the table to say no to the surgery, he consulted with other surgeons. He told me I can still train and become a marathoner. He just said to me that I need to train smart and mostly listen to my body.

So for the future this is going to be my life. As always I never let this get me down, or consider my body winning, this is just another fork and as a creek/river, I bend, I will make new waves and continue on.

Jodie

This half gave me the courage to know anything is possible again and my fears were misplaced. I just lost my inner warrior. I went out and relearned what my body is capable of, being uncomfortable and learning what my body can do when pushed. I have no doubt I will cross the finish in October, regardless if I am crawling.

Flat RunnerJodie and Koren

Famous from a Small Town

I received love from my small town Ontario- hometown paper this week. I still can’t believe it. I was interviewed sometime back by Sarah and didn’t think anymore on it because I honestly don’t know how newspapers work.

I always feel humble (and a sense of pride in myself) when I see myself in “print”. I never know what to say when I get the compliments. Thank you to all my cheerleaders and supporters.

From the comments and responses I’ve received I know I did what I always set out to do, inspire just one person. For that I feel blessed.

#MyJourney #MeVsMe #TeamNuun #TeamTap #Runner #BackOfThePack #AsthmaRunner #Disney #iRun #Brighton #Metroland #RunHappy

5 Years of Running

Today is my 5th anniversary of my first every 5k, so I am pretty sure I can call this my running anniversary. I can’t remember the first day I started to train, but I remember the feeling of just showing up to the start line. I was a basket of nerves. I didn’t think I could do it. But I did it. I crossed the finish line with Koren standing off to the side quietly waiting for me. I remember the feeling of triumph when I crossed. I looked back and realized I did it. The sad part to this was the run ran out of medals, so I had to wait 6 months to get it.

After this I just became hooked on bettering myself, training but mostly learning so much more about myself. I sought out the help of someone who could help me in being a better runner both mentally and physically. I found that in “coach”. He has stood by me during all my health woes and has coached and encouraged me to continue. So far that I am grateful.

To my both my friend friends and running family far and near; thank you. Some of you have become close friends and I consider you family. I love each of you for what you fill my heart with in you just being you. My first run 5 years ago, I had Koren who ran and Tracey who was the cheerleader standing at the finish yelling for me. At that point I didn’t know a soul beside these 2. Now I see faces who are now friends, who offer hugs at the start or finishes of runs and even at time when I am getting my medal.

Running has given me so much. I feel blessed to be able to do this journey, meet people and if I inspire just one person to try it, I feel like I was/am a good advocate for this sport, in showing anyone can do it. Running does not discriminate.

This year I will complete and become a marathoner at Niagara Falls International Marathon. I never thought 5 years ago that my body was capable of this. My mind was strong enough to train for this and have this burning desire to test my own limits.

So Today , I’m quielty celebrating me. My decision to say “there is no reason I can’t run” and mostly I am celebrating how running has changed me. I’m a better person both physically and mentally.

Thank you to every person, running organization and companies that has/have supported me in this journey. It’s not anywhere close to being done, but I can honestly say I love it this far. 

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