Who Inspires Me….

I’ve recently been asked a few times what or who inspires me…..

I think as a runner we all have someone who motivates us, inspires us and that one person who just never gives up on us. We may not realize that the one person just in life, who inspires us, makes us want to be a better person, but also to make ourselves proud. I am lucky enough to have both…..

My best friend is the person I looked to as inspiration to start running. She started and I always was the driver and cheerleader to run events. I’ve waited in the cold, wind, rain and on days when the sun was crazy hot, but I was the cheerleader. I’ve stood beside some awesome people as I’ve clapped and cheered runners in across the finish line. Koren, has been that one person, who has pushed me to get to the gym, get outside and do training. She inspires me to keep pushing myself to be a better runner. We’ve ran many runs together, but it has never been that we cross at the same time. This coming February, we will be crossing the Disney Princess 5K together, as besties who run together. Even racing each other on the treadmill (yes she always wins) during training, encourages me to push myself to be better to get fully outside my comfort zone. Since I’ve started running, she has waited for me at finish lines, all with smiles and showing me she is proud of me.  Koren is not only my best friend, but she is a sister to me. We inspire each other at the end of the day, with our goals and dreams; we never leave each other behind, and will tow the other until our feet get back going again. I could go on and on about how she is my sister and I love her and will always support her as she does for me…

 

Matt, motivates me with his constant, “get used to be uncomfortable pep talks”. Encouraging me when I feel I just don’t think I can do a run, but at the same time providing me with the support of “game play” for running. There are times I just want to tune him out, but I know that its friendship love pushing me, when I truly need it.

When I share an idea, he doesn’t push me back down to a comfortable zone. My first marathon when my next dream is accomplished it will be this amazing friend bringing me in to that finish line. He’ll be paying it forward and back to me, by being the on course cheerleader. This takes a friend to offer this up, to not be selfish and totally give back to the run and help me accomplish a dream and a goal all with no added benefit for him.

My friend Mike isn’t a runner in my league of running and I’m pretty sure if I ask him again he will tell me he hates it. He doesn’t inspire me to be a better runner, only never to give up, but what makes him who he is to me, is that he makes me believe in myself. He is the one friend, who plays the devil’s advocate with me. He reminds me that health at times comes before a run and mostly I always should be listening to a doctor when it comes to my lungs and my most recent woe of the stress fracture. He at times is that stern person who will never be afraid to tell me no, bad idea, which makes me proud to call him my friend even more.

He inspires me to want to do better for myself, but mostly never to change who I am. If I could have asked for a brother, it would be Mike and I do consider him my family. I may never in my running career see him at the finish line cheering me on, but he is the first person that gets the message, that I’ve finished. They say blood is thicker than water, but I can love water just as easy and know I have support.  I could never thank him enough for what he has done to date to help me, motivate me, or how he has actually inspired me to be better. Mike has my back in life. He listens to everything whether he wants to or not. He’s seen my emotions and never backed away.  Thank you Mike for being in my corner.

At the end of the day, running is just like life, strategy, game play, mental and lots of laugh. These three people have my back, are the wall that pushes me, who help me around my own walls and fears.

Have you ever thought who your support people are? For running and life? Who are those people you turn to, without realizing it? Who you turn to for help, when you’ve hit that mental wall… Give those people thanks, hug them and tell them, how they make you happy in life and in running. Treasure today as tomorrow is just a gift….

Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon – 5k #STWM

I have to say the race expo for this run took me back a bit, it was all changed around, which took some getting used to. I was able to finally find the water-hydration pack I need for my half-marathon in February, as well as pick up my day to day running gels all at a great price.

My favourite booth, which I hope returns because I love the product and the deals that were offered. Nuun. I first tried this product way back near the beginning of my running “career” , just to keep my electrolytes up and just to keep hydrated. It is not loaded full of useless sugar, offers an excellent taste, well worth the try. Plus I’ve slowly become addicted to the “All-Days”. Andy and his son were a hoot from Nuun. Next year, definitely stalk up folks!

Now the full on fun stuff…

As you all know I’ve been battling many health obstacles, so I decided to do this run as just going out and enjoying the journey and the goal was just to cross the finish line. Not a big goal, but it was a goal none-the-less.

The night before the run, I had the mis-fortune of rolling my foot while getting out of the ride that gave Koren and I lift for dinner. It wasn’t bad, but I felt it… By the time we got back to the hotel, yup it was swollen.

Run day – I met Claudia in my corral. After chatting I learned she has never broke under an hour for a 5k (Her PB was 1:23). I told her today was her lucky day. I was going to pace her and stick right beside her from start to finish.

We completed the 5k in 51:49.

Scotia

As a runner we can always chase a time but there are also times when you realize it’s not about you. I have been coached and given so much support and encouragement that this was my day to pass this gift of knowledge on and give back, plus paying it forward.

Claudia’s new PB, her happiness at the finish line and smiles of joy was my victory. She earned her new PB and that was my victory. I pushed her to be uncomfortable and she realized her body was capable of so much more.

Toronto Island Girl Run – September 2015

Island Girl – Half Marathon Relay – September 20th.

My best friend and I signed up for this together as a team. We were each going to do half of a half marathon. It was the first time really we ran together that we relied on each other for each of us doing our best.

Again my training was coming along. I suffered a minor little stress fracture from the Nike run, which I was dealing with pain in my right foot as well as in my left foot I was experiencing plantar fasciitis in my left. I was still dealing with my lungs, which I was put on a different puffer to see if that with the other puffer would work. You might think, my gosh, health problems, but I just see myself as someone you can’t keep down. Why give up? Why let my body win? I am plus size and already people have this notion that when I say I run they look at me like I have a unicorn horn growing on me.

So race packet pick up, we went in on the Friday, which it was at the hotel right by the ferry dock in a small room in the basement. I guess in my head I was thinking that this is a women’s run there would have been a small expo of sorts of companies / agents showing products. So I was disappointed in the race expo, it was just a bib/sandal pick up and you were on your way.

Run day, I was nervous because the humidity had been climbing and my lungs were not cooperating at all. Koren and I debated who would go first over, my stress if I went first and not giving her enough time to finish etc.

The run was a struggle for me, it was a loop that went from one side of Toronto Island and back and to the other side, when I hit the “half way” point I wanted to quit. My lungs were burning; I was hardly able to breathe, catch a breath or even speak. I actually took a washroom break, multiple puffer uses and continued on. I couldn’t give up. I got this far, I could get to the end.

I ended up having to walk over the dreaded boardwalk, but it gave me time to catch my breath. My goal starting this run was just to get it done in under 2hours, which I successfully did. Your heart is a strong muscle as well as your mind, once you get them both on the same page, you run successful, you run never wanting to give up and you crush the voice in your head. My legs are just a part of me that my heart controls.

I again was the second last runner to come across the finish line. Koren was standing there waiting and ran with me up to the finish. I received my medal and the accomplishment that I ran a half of a half with my best friend.

The negative I had to this run was with being the last to finish, my lanyard to my medal was complete different it was if they miscalculated how many women were running and I just got a plan yellow attached to the medal, different fabric etc. I actually reached out on SM to the run to ask why I was given a different lanyard, was it a punishment for coming in last, or did they just not care about the back of the pack. I said I paid the same registration fee as everyone else.

Island Girl Ribbon

They eventually after rudely sending me a DM agreed to send me a lanyard to match everyone else, including my best friend. I don’t think there was a need to be rude, or not have enough. Whether a person comes in first or last the medal should be the same, including the lanyard. It should be the same treatment for everyone.

The other negative was the Terry Fox run was taking place near the last half of this run so you had many walkers, dogs and just general people out supporting another cause so the Km signs just get to be too much. When I did get my medal and go to the food table, it was being closed up.

Will I ever run this run again… short answer is no.

But I have the memory of sharing a run with my bestie where we both relied on each other.

Besties Island Girl

Nike Women’s 15K

Toronto Nike Women’s Run – 15k.

When I initialled tossed my name into this lottery, if my best friend didn’t get picked and I did, she could have my spot, she could get another run crossed off her bucket list done. Good Friday, it came to be that we both got accepted and well I took it as a sign. TRAIN TRAIN and TRAIN and I’ll be able to do 15k no problem. Add in a few health hills to get over, I wasn’t ready at all for this run on race day.

The race picket up was unique in a way with the pop up tents, but even still I was disappointed in Nike for not bringing any of the plus size clothing line to this event, or offering shirts that would fit all shapes and sizes of runners. The Nike staff felt badly because they knew such sizes exists and they knew nothing of the clothing line would fit me. Too bad they didn’t offer me free socks.

Run day arrived the weather was not your typical June day in Toronto; it was cold and raining on Toronto Island. Did I feel ready for this run, short answer was No. My lungs were still suffering from the pneumonia the month before.  With this run, I knew that if I fell behind, it was going to be ok. I was fully ok with being “moved” during the course if my pace fell behind, fortunately, I never got “moved“ up as my pace was ok.

I need to thank my friend Matt who volunteered during this run and to whom I got a big bear hug from around the 2.5km mark. Not sure he understands, but his words of encouragement gave me the boost I needed. I looked at this run as doing 3 -5km runs in one sweep.

When I was coming into the last 4 kms of this run, I felt my wall coming, I was cold, soaking wet and I just was ready to put my hand up and say “I’m done”. I saw a lady struggle just as I was, and it gave me the encouragement to go beside her and motivate her to keep going, I kept telling her “we have this”. I ended up again alone coming into the last km and I was thinking, boy this island sure is empty, I ran past the Nike race crew as they were tearing down the equipment.

I came around the last bend towards the finish it was at that moment it hit me. I am basically last. There was no a cheering section, loud crazy music being played, just a lone voice over the mike saying, you got this Jodie. I looked ahead and there stood my best friend, just standing and waiting in the rain just past the finish line.

I can’t express the feelings and emotions I had when I crossed. My best friend just grabbed me and hugged me as the picture shows. This picture can’t even describe the moment. Just being the back of the pack, that one lone wolf bringing in the pack all while hitting the pavement. I looked up and saw that one person who could bring me across the finish just standing there and cheering and encouraging me to get my ass across the finish line. It was that moment my heart was flying and my legs were pushing to get that last 100ms. My legs long before gave out, but my heart never once stopped loving the run, the challenge of being able to complete this.

NikeRun

My spirit and determination outweighed all the doubters and critics that told me I couldn’t do this, my body couldn’t go that distance. My mind beat my body. My heart won over my legs and the small voice in my head became a loud roar saying “don’t stop”.

I learned I can do it. Distance is a matter of the heart and determination. You just do it 1km at a time

15k

My 1st Post…

I’ve been sitting and debating what my first post should be about… Do I take and tell you about my #STWM experience or do I bring it back to my #NIKEWomens run that made me realize I can do any distance of a run, because my heart never gave out.

The 2015 running season has been a busy one from running Toronto Nike Women’s 15k to running a couple of 5ks, a 10K, a half-marathon relay with my best friend and to finishing my running season with Scotia Bank Toronto Marathon 5k.

Stay tuned I think I’m going to tell you how it felt to do 15k and the moments I realized that coming in almost dead last is ok.