Open Letter to Runners

Dear Runners (of all abilities)

This is an open letter to all runners, because at the end of every run we cross the same finish line. So it doesn’t matter your abilities, but this letter is being wrote from the back half runner.

So here we go: 

I’m starting this off with just thinking:

When you cross the finish line with crazy pride, feeling the victory high and you’re on cloud 9 for being super happy because you crushed it, you proceed to get your medal, you only grab one, correct? 

So now we have our medals we move on to the next tent, or transition station which is usually the food stations. This is where it becomes tricky. Remember this is still all about just you.

So you’re in line and it comes the time to get your food. You want to quickly get through because your own cheerleaders are waiting for you. 

Are you consciously aware of what you are grabbing? Are you taking only one of everything? Or are you taking multiple items? Do you exit the food station with an arm full and not enough hands to carry it all? Have you grabbed for a cheerleader waiting for you? We are being honest here, we all have done it over the course of our running careers.

Well after thinking about everything I’ve asked about, what you might not realize is, the extra(s) you’ve grabbed and what someone else has grabbed it adds up.

When you finish did you stop and think: are there other runners out there still doing their best? Did you think that maybe someone might not get food?

Race Director’s do their best to budget food, but if everyone takes extra here and there is leaves a sour finish for those in the back half. 

So here I am telling you runners if you ever take extra, you are actually leaving zero food for the back half. It adds up if you take basically someone else takes share. 

So for an example; the Army Run there was zero food left in the first transition zone for the Commander’s Challenge. When I finished my half marathon I was offered just a half a banana. For the Lululemon Waterfront 10k, there was nothing. 

I’ve busted my ass just the same as you have regardless of your time, your place. I don’t take 2 medals because I worked extra hard and nor do you. So why do people continuously take extra food?

The people of the back half of all runs deserve more then a medal, they’ve worked up an appetite, they have the same pride and sense of accomplishment as you do, so why not leave them some food?

There are more runners out running, doing their best, chasing their own personal goals, we may not all have the same time as you, or the person who crossed behind you, but I truly believe we deserve the same as you when we do cross.

We put in the same effort and just have a longer time, we are out there not giving up, but regardless if you’re first or last we as equal runners deserve the same.

I do not deserve to be told “sorry we ran out”. 

So fellow runners, run family, next run you do, run these thoughts through your head. Are there more people still out on course? Am I taking away from others?

I’m getting tired of crossing finish lines to empty food bins/stations. 

Race director, you do have a wee bit of responsibility to make sure this doesn’t keep happening. Other races have “food vouchers” which avoids this whole disappointment.

So if you take anything from this I hope it’s just the awareness for your next run.

Thanks

Jodie

Leader of the back half. 

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Canada Army Run

The Deputy Race Director convinced me in May to become a crazy runner this past weekend. So on Saturday I ran 7k in Toronto, jumped in the car, went to Ottawa to run on Sunday in the Commander’s Challenge which is a 5k with a mini break and right into a half marathon.

I talked to my coach only after I signed up, he was ok with the whole weekend. My goal was to see how I do with tired legs, deal with nutrition and maintain marathon pace.

So coming into Sunday already exhausted from the hospital stay. I knew the goal was going to change from maintaining to just finish, upright.


The weather finally decided to give us here in Ontario summer with crazy humidity. So it was not pretty.

The night before I tried my pizza done the vegan way with zero cheese and light sauce, I’ve never been a fan of pizza sauce. So as you can see from the picture it was pretty basic.


Morning of the run I had left overs, bananas and a lean fit protein shake and was ready to go.

I met up with some of my Run Ottawa family which was great to see them, get hugs and support.

The time came to get in the corrals, which is where we found Karen and her crew. So we joined them for pre pictures, laughs and pep talks. 

5k was off and running. I got it done in the time frame that was in my head as I didn’t want to push it for a new PB (Remember the heat), and burn out. 

Since I was doing the Commander’s Challenge we had our own recovery area so we could get refuelled and get back to the corrals quickly for the start of the half. When we got in the line to grab water, nuun and food, all we had was water and nuun. There was zero food. 

I’m thankful to the taco stand guy who sold me wraps, so I could at least put some fuel in my body.

We made our way back to the corrals for the start of the half. By now it was hot. I started with Koren, Karen and Tammy. Which I told them to go on, I didn’t want to slow them down. 

I started out just soaking in the vibes from the crowd and looking around. We started off strong climbing the mini hill, but once I got going about 2k in I knew my asthma was going to attack and keep attacking.

The first water section felt like it was a crazy distance in, which with the heat we actually passed a water station on the other side which I stole some water. I had my hydration pack but I wanted some water to cool my head.

By the time I hit the 6k my feet felt like the pavement was melting my shoes. There was zero breeze and I just was hot.

I need to give a shout out to Robin, Vicki and Ashley for the on course encouragement. You all don’t understand how much I needed it. So thank you. 
Carole, thanks for catching up and giving me the hug and love. Your support is amazing and thank you to irun for introducing us.

The water stations and cheer stations on this course all had amazing vibes. The little dance team was amazing in the heat. The group of men cheering and high fiving was awesome.

The second half of the half was brutal. My body was hating me. My asthma was not controlled. I had to use my puffer well over 9 times with no relief. My lungs felt like they were in a vice being squeezed. I medically should of pulled myself off course.

Even in the back half of this run cheering stations were still going strong. We even had a random couple passing out food from their driveway, which was amazing as I was hungry.

My goal was still to finish and not be forced medically to be removed.

I am beyond thankful for Koren and Karen for sticking it out with me. Who didn’t leave my side, who both made me laugh, smile and not hit the ugly cry at the 18km mark. Just as Karen would say we got it done. I always have the guilt of keeping someone behind when I run with them. I’m slower, I had uncontrollable asthma and not every run goes down as planned.

I crossed the finish with a smile and the best part was I was standing upright. 

I got my dog tag for the half, chatted with the military man who gave it to me. He thanked me and I thanked him for serving our country and still allowing Canada to be Canada.

We made it to the food tent, which again there was very very limited food, half a banana and the odd protein bar. Not enough to cover the rest of the runners out there.

I got my Commander’s Challenge coin. It was done. Ugly. But it was done.

To anyone who needs or wants a run away in September, please add this to your bucket list. Sign up as soon as you can as it sells out quickly. Go wander our Nations Capital. Speak to our military, thank them.

Learn more about the programs this run supports. Support the military. I thanked a family who lost a son in the Afghan war. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for us.

I am forever thankful I am a Canadian. This runs makes you feel nothing but thankful and grateful.

To our past, present and future military; thank you. 

RBC Race For The Kids

First: 

Thank you to RBC Race For The Kids organization, for welcoming me to the ambassador program. It truly was an honour. I’m a big believer in youth mental health and having a safe, healthy place for them and their families, caregivers to get the correct help and guidance. 

Second:

I am not going to name names, but to everyone who donated and supported me in this run; thank you. Thank you for believing in me. Pushing me to do better and get it done. 

Your kindness truly touched my heart and made me realize even more I have an amazing support team/family. 

Third – the run:

Last year I did the 15k (and we most remember that). This year I went with a distance I’ve never done before, the 7km. Mentally I just was thinking it was a 5k with the extra 2k. But I also was thinking my lowest training run right now is 8k. So I wasn’t too worried. The course for the 7k is up (the hill) and back down. So it’s pretty easy. 

I had fun randomly chatting with other runners, family while we waited around. I thanked everyone for giving to an awesome cause and for coming out. 

So, prior to this past weekend I had another anaphylaxis episode which was another emergency run trip to the emergency (I was thankful for the same paramedics), including a hospital stay. 

I was thankful to all those who reached out to check on me. Not sure you all realize it or not but it means a lot. 

After the runs (yes there is a 5, 7 and 15k), you have lots of food, water, snacks, I really mean it. Muffins, nuts, grilled cheese etc. The only downside was the long lines and was spread out so it was clustered and hard to get around. There needs to be more signs pointing runners to all the food stations. 

My only suggestion would be to either make an in house completion between RBC Branches or head office divisions, for best cheer station. I find this run misses it as you’re running. I find cheer stations add more to the run, keeps you smiling etc. 

Overall this was an amazing run this year. I had zero bad experiences. The vibe was positive. I’m thankful for being an ambassador and the new friends I’ve made.


So please consider adding this run to your 2018 run list.