Well I did announce a small glimpse that I’ve been selected as an ambassador for this amazing run series which is coming to Toronto on June 11, 2017 a couple of weeks ago..
Well here it is:
Run Like a Diva… just what it sounds like. You’re getting the chance to run with 1000’s of other women (and the odd male). Not to compete for the best time, who had the better training plan and who crushed a PB, no this is about women empowering other women. Women running or woggling. Women supporting each other, whether you are a front leader of the pack or the tail end. We all will cross the same finish line, receive the same fancy medal for an accomplishment and be a Diva.
This run is going to be filled with fun, laughter, some glammour running, with boas, tiaras, tutus, bubbly and they tell me there will be some pretty handsome looking men along the way and at the finish. It’s motivation ladies!
So don’t get discourage at the words half marathon. There is a 5k route. You will receive the same Diva treatment. But ladies think, you are sitting there reading this, you’ve never been brave enough to try a half, this is the event. It’s women. You will be supported.
Now if you’ve never done a 5k, here is your chance to get your gal-pals out on a June day.
Time is on your side for training to do either distance. It’s not that scary. Plus Toronto Island gives such a gorgeous back ground full of views of the city you can’t help but have fun.
Which ever distance you brave know this as a woman myself, I cheer for everyone. I am a plus size runner who just completed her first half. I did it. I didn’t let excuses get in my way. The half on this course is going to be way easier. No hills, street car tracks & no dark under passes with pot holes! If you have a fear, reach out to me. I’ll help show you it’s ok to have the fear. But use it as fuel. Fuel to drive your legs. Even if you’re going to do your first 5k. You will finish. Crossing that finish line will be a victory in which no one can take from you. You earned it. It was not given.
Mostly for any of you who sign up and commit I want you to have fun. I want you to feel stronger both mentally and physically for doing this. I want this to be a celebration of us women. Celebrating the accomplishments of every single one of us. We all will earn the crown on June, because we all know we are Divas.
Friday while working the expo for Nuun I went and got my bib. Trust me I stalled, found reasons not to go. Once I finally got my packet it honestly wasn’t until I actually looked at my bib that I got emotional. It hit me this is real. I was going to be running a half marathon.
Since I have some pretty good food intolerance and such I had to work closely with Blair on a feeding schedules (sounds like I’m a baby) so on Saturday I consumed a lot of bananas on top of drinking the ensure thru the week and up to Saturday. So I had a schedule, which included eating before bed and setting an alarm for the middle of the night. Trust me it felt completely odd but I had to trust in the plan and Blair.
I can’t tell you I slept much Saturday night not sure if it was a combination of being in a hotel room (which was warm) or nerves setting in and doubt.
Sunday morning again I ate accordingly to the plan. I got myself ready, didn’t rush and took my time. I wasn’t chancing anything so I stuck to it. Although I was wanting a coffee badly. Koren and I did a lot of prep work the night before, made hydration packs full of nuun and plus. I made my food in advance so I was ready Sunday.
My nerves had arrived. Part of my game plan was to sharpie my arms with the pace Blair and I discussed to the times I needed to fuel.
Once we were dressed (Yes I matched from hat to nails to socks..#TeamNuun), we made our way to the starting area which was on University Avenue. Earlier during the expo I ran into part of my running family who gave me advice, support and encouragement. So when I saw the rest of the family before I went to my corral they helped me. It’s always amazing how supportive everyone is, how much encouragement is given. Hugs and smiles are always welcomed!
I’m going to be honest. I forced Koren out of my corral. I couldn’t do this with her near me or knowing we could be so close. So while at the expo I made her change her corral.
Standing in my corral, I gave myself the pep talk. Follow the plan. No matter how crazy people think it is. It started to rain which I was ok with. The weather was above seasonal and I could feel the humidity creeping in. This made me realize the goal was just to finish and not by way of a medical tent.
It was go time. The first 6k, I took my time as I was suppose to do. I took in the sights, the extremely load cheering section on Bloor street, embraced the rain and stayed on course.
I was beyond thankful for the woman standing and cheering with a box of Kleenex, she was my saving grace!
Once I hit the stretch where I was passing people who were already passed the turn around, I picked up my pace. There is something about 1000’s of people passing you, cheering you on randomly and giving high fives. I ran across a few of my run family members who gave me pushes, cheers and hugs! Sometimes that’s all you need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
I was able to catch up to JP (He ran the marathon 4 times check out his story at http://www.runjprun.com), we took a selfie at the 9km mark. What makes this man so humble was he was hurting he was on Marathon 4, but he was asking me if I was on pace, making sure I was ok. That is an awesome guy. Once I hit the 10k mark Koren called to check up on me. I was motoring along.
Just before the halfway mark, the crowd had thinned out. It was just me and a couple people in front but we were just all moving along. I called my Dad. I needed reassurance I had it in me. It was at this point I hit the wall. My body was getting warm and the humidity was horrible. The wall was a hard hit. Talked to my dad and four year nephew who just told me to get it done.
Once I rounded the turn around and started on the big long home stretch, my knee started acting up. I hurt my knee when I did my last long run out with the snakes. I thought the healing was happening, but at this point I just felt the present pain. The oddest thing was walking was horrible but if I maintained a light jog it didn’t hurt as bad. But I felt the pain.
So by 13km I knew it was my heart at this point. I gave myself the mental talk, prayed and thought of everyone who could do this but didn’t and those afraid to try.
Since I did the waterfront 10k, the route was familiar, I knew when I had a hill, where I sort of was and was able to keep pushing. I used downhills to my advantage. I was following my gel plan so much it was perfect my intakes. I didn’t have issues with lack of energy which rocked.
When I hit the 18k, I was excited to finally see a cheering crowd! Trust me the last cheering crowd or people on the sidelines was back on Bloor Street. Thank you Heather and the Tribe for being out there for us back of the pack runners. Truly means a lot that you believe in all of us and you stick it out for everyone. Wish more cheer sections had your tribe outlook!
So this is where my game plan changed again, I had the ramp to go up and down. I had fuelled myself, looked at my watch and was determined to do the last 3k as best and fast as I could. I was prepared to crawl with my gimpy knee.
When I rounded to come up the evil Bay Street last KM climb, I knew I had it in me. Besides the dreaded slow climb of a hill the underpass under the train tracks has to be the most dangerous section of this whole run. Zero lights and dark as can be. Dodging pot holes with my phone flash light wasn’t cool!
So this is where Blair told me to run my tank empty. Suck back the fumes. Save the energy for. Once I saw the 200 metre to go sign, I knew I had enough fuel left to sprint the rest of the way. I can’t really even describe this feeling. The crowd was cheering, there was loads of people and it just was crazy.
I can tell you this when I saw Koren and Matt standing there just before the finish cheering I got emotional. I was 40 feet from the finish. I did it. I actually did it.
I crossed the finish needing my puffer and almost barely able to put weight on my left leg. The medical team was truly awesome. I was crying but I can’t even tell you all what I said. But I do remember telling the lady that I did it.
So my stats and my own personal goal. I told Blair my goal was 3:30 or less. It seemed realistic, obtainable but I also was fully aware weather and body could change the goal. So I just wanted to enjoy the experience.
I completed my first half in 3:28:31. Below my goal time. The best part of this is I had negative splits (look at the pace). Look at these stats. So beyond proud of myself. This is so huge for someone like me. I did something many aim to do. So again it’s all part of the plan. Get yourself a sharpie. It doesn’t come off in rain…
Some mentions now:
During the course of my run I was messaged a few times by Mike who was tracking me via the up to date app. He kept giving the encouragement. What surprised me the most was coming to the end of the finishers shoot to the family area and he was standing there. Complete surprise. It blew me away. Pretty sure thank you isn’t enough to cover the surprise and the encouragement because I’m pretty sure at some point he got a text with the “why did I sign up for this” including the attitude. Blair who also was tracking me sent me a message which I heard in my ear. Totally made me laugh as he knew how close I was in beating the time we set. So yes everyone needs a text that goes “hurry the f up ffs”. Blair, I couldn’t of done this without you, you believed in me and calculated a plan, assisting in food prep and mostly just checking in and listening to me have “diva moments”. This half was just as much yours as it was mine. Just be ready to get the plan ready for the next one. And remember you can’t get rid of me as much as you try. I appreciate you way too much!
Matt who was not running but cheering gave me all the extra hug and support before the run. When I was coming up that final stretch and I heard his famously loud whistle it was the drive I needed. He’s supported me and encouraged me from start to finish. I can’t say thank you enough. You’ve been at all the milestone runs, 10k, 15k and my first half. Maybe the full one you can woggle it beside me!
My #JPsTeam all of you with your hugs, high fives along the route and I won’t name names but the loud, dancing cheerleader up Bay Street, let’s just say your drive, yelling my name helped!
Alex who made me this sign between her own run and mine. Who called me the night before and basically tucked me into bed, told me to just have fun. You were a rock during the 10k and I’m thankful SM connected us.
Well lastly, Koren well I can’t say enough. But the few phone calls, the hugs and the support for any crazy idea I get to do random training runs. Vent and get all crazy. You know how to handle me. You’re my bestie and my running partner in crime. One day I might allow you to run a half with me but until then, you’re not allowed in my corral. Sorry but not sorry!
To the rest of my running family, you all know who you are, to the encouragement at the expo, to the hugs before hand and to the messages afterwards. You know it touched me that I have the support. I didn’t do this alone. So thank you. You all are unique and beyond special to me.
My nuun family! I love you all, even you crazy Chicago Boys. You made me smile over crying on Friday and reconfirmed people believe in me.
I earned the medal on Sunday, it was not given.
So my next half… I’m going to be running that with a US run family, I hope no one tells me stairs are involved etc after. So look out Alabama, this girl is on a mission come February I’m coming for a new PB!
To anyone reading this who thinks they can’t do a half… it’s an excuse. I’m plus size, I ran this half 85lbs lighter but it wouldn’t of stopped me. You just need to believe in you. Believe in your body. One foot in front of the other. We all get to the same finish line. So don’t let fear stop you in trying. If I let fear win I’d still be on the couch.
**Side note any post run pics that look so messed up of me… it’s cause I’m trying not to cry**
Well Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) is a week today, this is the biggest run so far in my running life. For 2016, this run is for all the marbles. It’s either go big or go home. But the ultimate question is, am I ready?! I’m going to answer, no. Do I feel I’ve done all I can do to be ready, no but I’ve accepted life and summer of 2016.
I was beyond proud of my time for the RBC Race For The Kids 15k. I took 12mins off my previous 15k time. But this half has me getting out paper and driving Blair completely nuts. I’ve listened to him 100% for training, time and pace. I even went online myself to some site and plugged in info to see if the time I have in my head is achievable. This is what it came up with:
So, someone in the cyberworld has come up with this time, not knowing me or my struggles, but what this someone doesn’t know is this half is mine. Mine alone. My heart is going to carry me through all 21kms.
To me now it’s a mental game. A mental game to get in under 3:30. It’s doable but will the weather conditions next Sunday make it obtainable. Will I have a good run or will it be one of those runs that my legs feel like I have cement blocks on for shoes. This are all questions I keep rolling around in my mind. Will I maintain the right pace as per what’s going to be on my arm. Will I struggle?
Again it’s the mental game. So I had a long long talk tonight with Blair. He calmed me. He gave me a food plan for the days before. He gave me the home stretch information. He just made me realize that it’s ok to be over 3:30 but he wants me to push myself to get that goal done. He keeps reminding me the goal will keep the drive high and I’ll be crazy determined.
I have so far 2 more half’s in 2017. So what ever happens next Sunday, I can set new PB and just have fun.
I honestly can’t even name what the fear is or if I have a fear. It’s nerves. Are these nerves stage fright? Once you get going they just go away? I don’t think I’d be normal if I didn’t have nerves.
So at the end of me over analyzing everything, over thinking and realizing how big this run actually is. It just comes down to the individual goal and it being me against me. My heart over my mind and my legs agreeing with my heart. The biggest challenge is not finishing but just having the courage to start.
I will compete with no one but myself. I will not give up. Everything about next week is individual.
I will smile, probably cry at some point and talk to myself. Maybe need a pep talk around KM 18.
But I will cross the finish and I will be smiling. (Or crying cause I did it)
To be honest, I’m not sure why I signed up for this 15k but in early spring I was looking at it as a training run for my upcoming #STWM half. Summer happened. It wasn’t the least bit kind to me. Humidity and asthma don’t work together. Plus my latest test shows my asthma is not improving even with my weight loss.
So the RBC Race for the Kids (Which other provinces call it RBC Run for the Kids, which seems more legit) is a run that you gain your entrance by fundraising the min fee of $100 or paying it yourself. I set out to fundraise. I need to thank my family and friends who donated. Thank you! The funds raised go right back to the community by way of Sunnybrook hospital for the Youth Mental Health centre.
Getting there was easy. Park at the Finch TTC station and take a quick ride south. Finding the start line was easy as well. Lots of bathrooms and I hit it well before the line up.
Was happy running into friends before the run for some good luck, pics and hugs.
Koren decided to pace me for the run, give up her time to just keep me company. I’m thankful for the extra push.
The course itself starts going north on Yonge Street, which is a hill. But I looked at it same way as in life we always have to climb a hill to see the view from the top. We ran this run for kids who are struggling so no slow hill was going to stop me. It was awesome to see a sea of blue runners in front of me.
Once we got to the top of the “hill” we turned on to Finch and headed west. The crowd by this point was thinned out and we were near the back of the pack.
With regard to the actual course safety and my concerns. I’ve reached out and spoke to one of the race directors to express the serious concerns regarding this. For me to do this you all know it was serious! I’ve been told that my concerns have been taken serious and it won’t happen again for next year. Whether I return next year that is another question.
My favourite water station was the one in the “hydro park path”, I literally thought I was close to the finish. These ladies were loud and amazing cheerleaders.
I think what made me feel done and actually wishing the finish would just magically appear was when we watched a cop leave his paid duty post and drive away. So this added time as we had to stop and push the button and wait for the to change, with other runners.
Koren and I did our best in not stopping running, we sang, danced and just had fun. Once we reached the last water section, which was the turn down the side road to get back to Finch.
At this side road turn we were told the course was closed and we had to use the sidewalk. They were collecting the pilots etc.
I’m not a side walk runner. Anyone that knows me knows I trip easy etc. So this wasn’t happening. I went back to the road which was still crossed off for us runners.
In the meantime Koren was on her phone looking to see how long the course was actually open for. As you all know I NEVER sign up for a run with a small open course time. I can’t do it with my fear of this exact thing happening. It just adds extra stress.
By the time we reached Finch to turn (which we had to ask the officer because again we were told the course was closed). Since we knew the police were closing the course early at this point, I spoke my beef to the officer (including using language my dad would tell me I need soap for my mouth). It had to be said there was still people behind me.
After being “told” to get on the side walk, I refused. I still had an hour and a bit, I refused. The officer just could deal, they were being paid. I was not. I was out trying to chase a new PB.
Again by this time Koren and I were officially done with this course and run. The run along Finch back to Yonge was just stressful. We encountered more chaos which included a car driving behind me, feeling the heat from the engine and this driver honking at me to get off the road. Then having Officers tell us to wait till he cleared intersections and then he would let us cross.
Once we hit the turn to Yonge Street it was literally down hill to the finish. We were back with the rest of the runners.
When I was about 150-200m away from the finish line, my friend Matt (was an ambassador with the run) was on the side line cheering, yelling and giving me what I needed, encouragement.
So the big question is with all the foolishness and chaos did I obtain a new 15k PB…. the answer is YES.
I took off such an awesome amount of time. Even with the bullshit I’m super happy with this and myself.
So here we are finished. I wasn’t last but I wasn’t first and that’s ok. We all ran this run for a purpose and a reason. For the youth and mental health.
Now on to the other things…
Food… holy line ups. I didn’t even wait in them. They were so extremely long and not moving. Koren thankfully was given food by our friend Laurie. I run with a hydration pack and I couldn’t find water in anyway to get a sip, I found the water cooler but no cups. There was juice boxes around but due to my own health (sugars) I don’t consume juices. It was cute idea having the juices boxes around for people to grab. So we grabbed food on our walk back to the car from Metro. I seriously was hungry and thirsty.
I originally emailed in to be an ambassador for this run. I myself suffered my youth by the hands of bullies (and even deal with it as an adult). I had to speak to someone to overcome all that comes with being bullied. I’ve had family and friends take their lives by way of suicide. So I know how important it is to continue to help fundraise for such an amazing cause. Just recently I came face to face with one of my bullies. Even to this day I still experience the feelings of nerves and panic. I’m a grown adult but this person made my life a living hell for 4 years. I’m older now as I said and I know that this person can’t harm me, hurt me and really it’s just words.
So even if you don’t want to run this run next year please consider sponsoring another runner or donating directly to Sunnybrook hospital or to a local hospital in your area that deals with mental health in youth.
Overall I’m happy that I got a new PB. I was happy to help raise money for a cause. Thankful for Koren for pacing me and keeping my nerves in check when the police drama unfolded. If I was alone I know I would of cried and just gave up.
Thank you to Caroline from the run for speaking with me. Listening to all my safety concerns and allowing me to give details on what went on during the course. People if you see something that could be changed, a suggestion or have a concern speak up. Race directors can’t be everywhere and we are the extra eyes.
I’m still on the fence if I’ll do this run again. I haven’t planned my 2017 run calendar yet.