nuun love

When I got accepted to be part of Team nuun, I knew I was going to become part of a special family, meet some pretty amazing athletes and people from nuun HQ. Needless to say I felt blessed and still feel blessed. 

I know I previously blogged about being accepted by nuun for who I am. Not what they wanted me to become. They accepted me as me. My heavy weight and what my ability is to run. I’ll never place in the top. But they still loved me anyways and took a chance on me. 

I tell people I’m a part of team nuun. I’m part of the family and they look at me and I always say it’s awesome eh. They love everyone and every ability the same. They don’t discriminate or set limits on who they bring on as part of the team. 

So fast forward to early spring and I got the incredibly chance to spread my cheer, happy vibes and love for nuun as a field hydration specialist (FHS). I was nervous my first time going to be trained. But I soon realized I have the knack as I always knew I did with my nuun passion I learned to thrive in this gig.

So here is the reason I truly love doing this gig… I meet lots of interesting people, those suffering from nerves to those who’ve trained and know they are going to kill it on the course. 

At a recent expo I got the fun times of talking to over 400+ people. One woman stopped to learn about nuun and I got to chatting with her about her running, future races etc. She confided in me this was her first ever 5k. I discussed her game plan for race day, offered suggestions for timing and speed. She asked me a whole bunch on how to deal with nerves etc. I answered them honest. You never ever should sugar coat an answer. 

Race day happened and I was working the finish line. This woman finished, came to me, gave me the biggest sweatiest hug one could give someone. She was crying and all smiles. She couldn’t thank me enough. She said my advice was bang on. She said the running bug might of just bite her. 

Another race in Burlington I did, I stood at the finish line and was the biggest cheerleader for the last person to cross. I’ve been there. I know the feeling in your heart when you know you’re last or close to last and all the vendors at the finish expo have packed up. Might not be a bagel left for you and possible they’ve ran out of medals. (it’s happened)

So when this woman crossed I gave her a nuun water bottle and a couple samples. I told her how proud I was of her, gave her a hug. I told her my motto is nuun is there till the last person crosses. (Well I am when I work. It personally irks me when vendors etc pack up as if the back half of a run are just useless people.) 

She asked me about nuun and I explained I’m part of the family not just as a FHS but as a runner, I said I’m legit. I’m on a website. But I said nuun is one of the few companies that acknowledged all skill levels and endurance levels. We all get to the same finish line, we all still sweat running and need electrolytes to replenish our bodies. We all deserve the health stuff, that’s free of sugars, colours and ingredients I can’t even pronounce without the help of Google. 

So this woman was beyond thankful for us being there on course on such a hot day. She explained that by me being me she was fully switching over to nuun. She loved the ingredients and the benefits (cals & sugar)

So with each run event I’ve done. I’ve met runners of all skill levels, given high fives, hugs, tissues and become a photographer. I’ve loaned my phone for someone to call home about a new PB. I’ve been me. 

I’ve spread nuun love. I’ve encouraged people to sign up for learn to run programs, told them if I can run: you can run. Our weight and size is not an excuse. 

I said nuun believes in me and I believe in you. I’ve connected with people and offered to go for runs with them from doing events like this. I spread love and happiness. 

I believe and fully stand behind nuun. It’s gotten me across a few finish lines when I’ve been questioning my own sanity.  

When I first became a FSH no nuun shirt fit me. As I’ve continued on my own hard work journey, I can happily say I now own a FHS shirt and it fully fits!! It truly was a happy moment for me. I feel more legit. 

So to finish, I love being a FHS not just for the benefit of spreading nuun love but sharing in others joys and personal victories. We all cross the same finish line. 

Dedicated to me….

I did a side by side picture from 3 years ago to just a couple of days ago. It’s amazing how much my body has changed. But more importantly how much my mental thinking has changed. 
When I started running I was beyond heavier than what I am today. I was always told by my doctors and sports medicine folks every time my foot connected with pavement my body felt like approximately 700+lbs was hitting it. 

I was sore, exhausted and just hurt for days after any big run when I first started running. I felt like my legs became concrete posts. But the thing I tell anyone who is plus size who debates to run. A few days of pain can’t take away the accomplishment of doing the run and earning that medal.

But the thing I tell people, you are the only one who puts restrictions on yourself. Who uses being plus size as a negative. I don’t care what I look like running. I’m running. Running is something that doesn’t discriminate. Health benefits out weigh the excuse “I’m too fat”. 

Mentally I’ve reached a point where I just don’t care what you think of me running. I’m running. You’re not. Mentally I push myself, talk to myself and get myself across the finish line. I always say at the end it’s my heart not my legs. 

Since I started running over three and half years ago I’ve faced my fair share of injuries (dics bulged, moved spine with brokenness, stress fracture), pneumonia (twice) and of course my ever faithful asthma. I won’t even touch in on having to carry an epipen everywhere I go. But I tell people I had a choices every time something wrong happened: fight or flight. 

Do you fight your body and keep on a path to continue to find a better version of the current you? Or do you flight and run back to the couch? Do you give up because of an obstacle that comes along? 

I look at running as anything in life: you just don’t give up.  

In recent weeks I’ve met people who I’ve shown this picture to and they can’t believe the change.I said everyone has a journey inside of them. I just don’t give up. At the end of the day. I’m failing myself. I feel I can be a role model to many people. I can show them excuses are wasted air and words coming from your mouth. 

Now that I’m over 80lbs lighter, my running has changed. My stride has changed and my centre of balance is not the same. I face back issue when running. But you know what, it doesn’t make me want to quit. My biggest issue are my runners. I’m a forefoot runner so everything has changed! (see I need a job ASAP to support my running shoe needs) 

I’m dedicated. Dedicated to myself. The commitment I’ve made since running is to myself. To better myself. To push myself beyond what limits I set. To face fears head on. 

So to anyone who starts to run remember there is no finish line so love the journey. 

Your journey is yours and only yours. 

I am dedicated to me. To this journey. To continue to better myself and be open to helping anyone. Running with anyone who is afraid to be left behind. I’ve been in your shoes. I’m still the leader of the back of the pack. Don’t give up on yourself. 

My Coach… 

We all can say who has inspired us to just start running, or even any sport really. Some of us joined running clubs, others are just self taught. 

Myself, I like to say this talent was self taught. My strides and smiles are really my own doing. 

But the person who has guided me from the start, whose gave me the most honest and raw truth of my running was my friend Blair. To anyone who asks, I always refer to him as my running coach. He’s a runner, an iron man, but he’s not an Olympian.  He’s him. He understands.

From my first ever 5k, he sent me advice. Nothing frilly. Nothing like go rock it. More like don’t compete. Go your own pace and find someone to follow at your pace. Keep them in focus. You’ll end up passing people who go to fast at the start. So go slow and save for the second half.

I’ve always confided in him. Asked advice that is beyond crazy. Such as when do I refuel, when do bathroom breaks work. I’m sure that 97% of the time I annoy him. But he still supports me. 

Since I’ve bounced back from the horrid summer of 2014 and my 2015 injuries he has still offered advice and the latest for my upcoming 15k is here below: 

To me Blair just gets me. Understands my asthma, my slowness as being in the back of the pack. He tells me the advice I need as someone my size. He’s realistic. To me this is golden. To anyone who is plus size you do get discouraged by advice coming to you that is “off the wall”. To me if you’ve never struggled running, ran with someone who struggles you truly don’t have an understanding of how it works for us back of the packers. 

Don’t get me wrong I’ve been given some advice along the way that has been pretty decent but I’ve also been given advice that doesn’t even come close to myself, my fitness level etc. 

So I’m thankful for Blair, his guidance and mostly putting up with my crazy questions. You all know I can ask some doozy of questions. 

I’m still inspired by those who push me daily, check in with me and encourage me. 

So to you reading this, whether you’re self taught or going to be brave and join a running group. Even asking someone to run with you (This week I just volunteered to run with a random stranger to help encourage her). We runners don’t bite. 

Remember everyone started somewhere. Don’t be discouraged by those you feel are better runners. You’re just as good. You left the couch. Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions, whether over social media or just randomly. You won’t learn if you don’t ask. Someone somewhere has experienced what you’re thinking.