Small Steps in to 2021

Well we are 16 beautiful days into 2021. Although I don’t see much difference from 2020. I know most of us will be able to give some positives from 2020, but most are going to remember the gray days.

So when I stayed awake to welcome in 2021, I think I personally just needed to make sure it happened, no ball got stuck and we did make it safely over to 2021.

I am not big on setting resolutions of what I want to do for the full year, because lets me real, I wouldn’t be able to stick them out for the full year. I didn’t reach any of my 2020 goals, which was to run physically in person 20 runs to celebrate 2020. I ran no runs in person in 2020. So that goal was washed away, plus all the other ones I had set.

This year I decided to set no resolutions. I end up becoming hard on myself and feel like I’ve failed. So this year I am going to be kind to myself.

I’m not setting a goal for the full year, but basically either by the month or the quarter. This way I can see the “light” and work towards something that is more achievable. Something that I can check off the success list. Small steps lead farther, over big leaps.

So first up is from January 1 to April 1; lose 25lbs. Odd number and really in 3 months its 8lbs a month, which seems low, but I am not going to pick a crazy high weekly amount that just puts stress on me. We are back in a “stay at home order” here in Ontario, gyms are closed and its winter. So I want something that is obtainable for me.  Something that is not going to cause me to put hard pressure on myself. We usually are our own worst critics and we can be so hard on ourselves. Covid has changed everything, especially mental health, so I am going to be kind to me.

Now that Christmas has officially been removed from the condo, I have room to workout. Which will be either on my “lunch hour” or after I finish work. This way I can get some exercise in and on nice days go for a walk around the block.

I’ve had the misfortune of still being sick with a horrible virus, which it has now been 29 days. I go this coming week for more testing to try and get to the bottom of it all. So people, please stay home, wear a mask and wash your damn hands.

I decided this is the year that I will truly make it about me and making sure I am happy or at least I am on a path that I am ok with. Covid is not going away anytime soon, until more people basically stay the hell home and the vaccine gets to more people.  I am slowly working away on getting a better balance in the work and home life, especially now that I am home more. Looking back at 2020, I believe it was a year of learning, but also at the same time, I reflect and realize even more now how much I stretched myself thin. Not this year, more about balance and working on my small goals I set for myself.

So to anyone who is already struggling with 2021 – remember everything starts with a small step, even 2021. Small steps. I will be keeping you all updated on my progress and my health!

Stay safe – wash your damn hands

Hiatus for 2020

2020 was a wild, bumpy ride of a year, with many curves, dips and turns, and some wild storms to weather along the way.  

I did no in person runs in 2020, it was the year of virtual runs. I’m going to be honest; I do not like virtual runs. They are not the same as being in person, with friends, finish lines and free banana’s! They are very hard mentally for me to have the same excitement, or even get out the door for a “virtual run”. It was almost like a training run with a medal waiting at home for me.  I had runs that were to happen, but just couldn’t due to the boarders being closed (Chicago Marathon, Pittsburgh Marathon weekend and onwards).

In March, the world came to a halt, I found myself working from home, and facing a whole new uncertainty. Everything changed and nothing was normal. Work became the front and centre of my life, as it almost consumed me all day and night, there was no work-life balance. We as a country and province did not really have an understanding of what “covid” actually was so everyone was staying inside and following the rules.

I just went to being on autopilot. Every day was just floating into the next, as I was not leaving my Condo. I was unaware how much my own mental health was slipping; I was falling into depression, all without realizing it. I was suffering anxiety attacks and I was to the point of not being able to sleep. It just came crashing down in August and I needed to take a break from work/life, from the direction of my doctor. I did not realize I was not putting me first. I never knew or acknowledged I was broken.

The fall I started to take back my life and make a “new normal”, with setting more lines for the balance between work and home (it is hard to do when work and home are the same place). I still struggled with the balance.

Roll into the Holiday time, Toronto being on lockdown it was not a very festive time. I celebrated my birthday in Covid, which 10 months before December, I never thought I would not be able to hug my friends and see my friends. Social Distancing was the new phrase we all learned to say. We all learned to wash our hands 1000 times a day.

I closed off 2020 with a negative covid test, but never leaving my condo for 2+ weeks as I was purely exhausted, had trouble breathing, congested, loss of my voice and sounded like a 90 year old smoker with being winded. The holidays were missed and I don’t remember much, even now I still am suffering lung pains and congestion.  I have stopped having naps, so I guess this is a positive.

I missed the gym in 2020. I am a treadmill runner especially in the summer and the winter; it’s a more controlled air environment. So the summer I mostly did walks around the neighborhood.  My condo did not open their gym or the pool due to covid. (my condo currently has a no visitor policy in place).

2020 taught me who I am, how strong I am and how much of a warrior I can be. I’ve learned a lot of who I am as a person, when I have a breaking point, how to take the time I need for myself. Learning to unplug is a huge one for me. I cried a lot. I did a lot of reflecting on my balcony. I am a big believer that our mental health should be discussed, there is nothing to be ashamed of, with having bad days and having really really bad days. We survive all of our bad days.

I did cut my coffee down to maybe just 2 coffees a day, from my normal 5-8 a day.

2020 showed me who is a friend for just pure friendship and who is someone who only is a friend when it benefits them. 2020 taught me to slow down, well it forced me to slow down and to accept that I can’t always control all things within my life and this is ok.  

I learned its ok to have my “give a shit button” to be broken once and awhile. It’s ok to say “no” to people who always rely on me, and need my good expertise in things. No is a very acceptable word.

So with the end of 2020, I was happy to see the year depart. I still am deprived of hugs (I am a HUGE hugger), but I am looking forward to what 2021 will bring both.

Much Love

Update (last quarter)

I’ve been quiet a lot lately in the last few months on anything running, so here is an update on the last few months…

I haven’t been hiding, just re-adjusting to a new normal. img_2368

As you all know I went to Paris France and was beyond lucky enough to run Disneyland Paris race weekend.  I highly recommend if you can, do the castle to chateau challenge. The course in Paris is beautiful, the 5k was at night. You run a whole lot through the 2 parks and back behind the scenes.

I did come home with a small break in my leg, which took roughly 4 weeks to heal, with a lot of discomfort from where the break was located in my leg, but as always I healed.

Once I was home, I had my normal specialist appointments to deal with my anaphylaxis. It was during the first week of October, that it was decided that I was at the point I needed the special, high caliber medicine cocktail (think high level like a chemo) to see if they could “cure” me. The idea has been tossed around for the last 3 years about the treatment plan, but it doesn’t come free. There are side effects and there is also a chance it won’t work. Well it was decided and paperwork put forward. My work health plan covered roughly $22k of the costs and I was left with a large amount left to pay, with some prayers, quick thinking it all has been covered.

Things move fast (faster than I was ready), so I went to the hospital on October 18, for my first treatment. I read the 5 pages of side effects and what to expect when the treatment happens and just after. 2nd Treatment was in November. A01C021E-25A9-4076-A90D-FE5D57A09C20

My treatments are every 4 weeks and this coming Friday will be my 3rd round. I’ve had my hair fall out, break off, I’ve experienced the insomnia and I have also experienced the exhaustion. I think the hardest one to handle is the nausea. Not wanting to eat, or even move fast.

But as always, I have faced this head on, without much complaining (well maybe a wee bit), I have followed all of the instructions from the doctors, the guidelines and just listened to my body. Part of this drug is taking out my immune system and killing off certain cells to see if in 6 months they will grow back “correct”. So I’ve avoided sick people, large crowds and wash my hands probably way more than I should and wear a mask if I need to.

I was not able to run (well I needed to wait until my leg was healed) and then with the treatment they didn’t allow me to. BUT this week I got cleared. I can go back to running, I can’t do any crazy long runs, but I can do 5ks and work my way back up to 5ks.

The last 3 months have been hard on my body and mind. My mental health has suffered, it is true how much running does help just clear the mind and give you purpose. I haven’t been able to plan any runs in the last fall and winter. I already have my 2020 year in the works, because there was no way my body was going to win on this.

The hardest part is to remember that all of this is going to be worth it in the end. That I can go back to eating foods I love and miss, never having to scare family and friends when I can no longer breathe.

So there are my last few months in a small nut shell. I am fighting my body and I will win. My last treatment is in March, I shall celebrate when this is done and it is successful.

I can’t thank Koren enough for dealing with all of this, the side effects and everything in between. To my family and friends, thanks for the support, the check ins and mostly just being around.

To the running community, just thank you for continuing to prove why I love this family.

To both Brooks and Nuun, I can’t thank you enough for sticking with me this year, supporting me and providing encouragement and support, these families are just special and continue to make me feel like the runner I am.

#MeVsMe

 

Me

You ever have one of those moments in time when you just don’t know where to start? I’m in one now. Some of you may have wondered why I’ve been quiet and not as much as in the light etc. Yes I’ve been running.

I’ve ran a bunch of runs this year after Disney Marathon weekend, which I’ll do a summary blog post shortly.

So here is the guts…why have I really been quiet?

I’ve been broken but not as in bones, but my spirit. My mental health took a dive. I didn’t realize it because I didn’t see self-care as a necessity. I didn’t see the signs my body was giving me. If I did, I just ignored it as I was “just too busy”

As with probably everyone; work can just consume your life, things happen and adjustments that are temporary are made but don’t ever seem to be temporary. New norms are made and you adjust and just keep flowing with the current. I just never realized how much I let myself and my mental health go.

I fell into this deep dark hole and just didn’t realize it until recently when my body just broke. My mind was screaming at me that I was hitting the wall.

I was in a constant state of anxiety. I couldn’t breathe by the end of the day and I felt my as if my chest was broken. So I knew I was done. I was living for months in anxiety and having panic attacks (even at work). I couldn’t carry on this way anymore. I couldn’t sleep and what sleep I was getting was all over the map.

I had to basically stop. Refocus and figure out what is all wrong and how to get my joy back. How to get my health back in a state that my doctors will be happy with. Stress and everything made me lose my proper eating habits, skipping meals and not getting proper nutrients have left me in a state of anemic (more than usual), beyond low levels of vitamins and minerals which are now being monitored. I was (and still have moments) exhausted.

I had to get my running all back on track and focus again on the joy of my dreams.

I had to refocus my “plate” at work and take some of the load off my shoulders. Find a balance that works with work and with me. I’m slowly finding it, it’s a step forward.

I’m re-adjusting my commute for work. I’m working on figuring it out. But I feel joy again; all because I realized I am worthy of self-care. I took a self-care day last week and it was beautiful.

I have plans again. I have dreams and goals even for my upcoming runs in September and October. I have new finish lines to chase. I have goals already for 2020.

With all of this I realized I need to never ignore my mental health. My body was showing me signs.

If you take anything from this don’t ever let the stigma of mental health stop you from speaking to people and being open. Remember you are worthy of days to recharge in order to get your own batteries back up to full. self-care-quotes-1

Self care is worth is.

Mental health days are required.

Remembering to look for joy each day and find the positives are a must.

I want to thank my tribe and importantly my bestie, who dealt with a lot, but stood by me. To those who have been from my past; those public school friends who randomly checked up on me when I needed it the most, who gave me support and continued to show their true kindness. Also to those who recently have entered my life, you all have shown kindness when it has been needed and given support.

A special thank you to my Brooks and Nuun family for supporting me, checking on me and mostly never letting me give up.

I am like the phoenix; I rise.

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And as the song goes:

“I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me”

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Closed – The book of 2018

I reflect back on the last 12 chapters of this book called 2018, I believe it went how it was supposed to. Sure it was not perfect, there was some awesome highs as well as some many lows, but the lows build the character and that just made me a stronger person.

I look at my best nine of 2018 and see so many different emotions. I see small victories that even most people don’t see, but I also see and went over those hurdles for each of these pictures. The smiles can hide the pain, the laughter is always in my eyes and my own pride is right there. The hard work of changing my life, losing weight, and continuing to find the best version of me. Seeing how the change slowly has happened.  Never giving up on myself in 2018 is shown in this picture.

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I started January still feeling completely bummed (well heart broken) over my experience in October, it took so much mental strength to find my passion in running again, to know one run didn’t break me.

February, I went to Disney for my 3rd Princess weekend, this time I knew I was going to finish, no asthma or anything was going to stop me in getting all 4 medals (glass slipper challenge). I did amazing the first 2 runs, even with the heat, it was during the half that I took a fall 5kms in to the half. I didn’t realize how bad the damage was, but it was bad. I finished the run by the Grace of Angels and the support of Koren. I had my shoulder in a sling, a horrible concussion, brain issues, whip lash and many things that kept me sidelined for most of 2018.

I was only cleared to do short distances and keep it to an easy pace as it was too simple to set myself back with the dizzy, pain and unable to stand the pain in my neck, shoulder and back. But I was determined.

In June, I did the Run Like a Diva half on Toronto Island. (I failed to mention this to the team of doctors, but I did it), it was a perfect pace and I brought in someone on their first ever half, which made my heart beyond happy.  Running is not always about a time on a clock, but the victory of crossing a finishing mat.

I trained throughout the summer just to keep my body limber and able to run. I had intentions at the start of 2018 to try another Marathon, which I had planned to make it the Niagara Falls International Marathon, with the fall in February, I kept thinking I could double up and double down and plan and still accomplish this, I knew in late July it was not going to happen. I had to alter plans and just focus on healing.

In October I did the Niagara Falls 5k, it was not my favourite course as I said earlier in a previous post. I did STWM the following weekend. I was proud of my time for STWM as I personally took 9 minutes off my first ever 5k time of STWM, so I had a new course PB.

The end of October took us back to Disney to run the Wine and Dine weekend, which was a first and a completely different experience over Princess. I loved it. I loved the weather, it actually rained at Disney. The course was completely different over Princess. I had fun. Although I learned the lesson the hard way, don’t do rides that can alter, hurt and bring back the pain of the whip lash before running, it makes doing a half a wee bit difficult.

I got to experience the joy of seeing Halloween at the happiest place on earth and leaving with Christmas in full swing.

In the last few chapters of 2018, I put my body back in touch with my favourite Chiropractor who has helped me deal with my hip issues. I also went back to my massage therapist, who kept telling me I am crazy to keep running and setting goals and dreaming large, but supports me nonetheless.

In 2018, through all these chapters, I met some amazing people who became friends, who supported me all without understanding the runner’s mentality. These people have been gifted to me by way of my work, and in forms of 6 degrees of separation, and mostly in general conversations of passing.

Some of my lows was hurting myself and not recovering fast enough. Having to give up runs, and see bibs pass by and being unable to run. I had to say goodbye to my running coach as he needed to move on, which sucked, but I knew I was strong enough to continue on with what he has taught me, and that I am capable of handling the mental game with running which at times its my anxiety in the high.

I finished the year with an ambulance ride, a mini hospital visit and spent closing the book of 2018, in bed well before the clock stroke the last ding in 2018.

I learned mostly this year take nothing for granted, don’t assume that everyone knows how you feel, and that tomorrow is never guaranteed. I learned to balance life, work and running. I learned I can’t rush an injury to heal. I learned to actually listen to my body, who cares what someone thinks if I know I can’t do something. I love me.

In 2019, I shall continue to dream large, love myself more and continue to be true to myself. Stay tune for what I’m dreaming about.

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.

healthy

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

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.”

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

Flying

Believe in your beauty. Believe in your wings. Emerge, and let yourself fly.

If it takes a few set of wings before you learn to fly. That is ok. This is me. I tried on many different sets all before I learned to fly. I’ve spread my wings and flown but I learned that not all flights are meant to just soar and I’ve crashed.

Two versions of Jodie; both are beautiful. My soul is the same; my shell has changed.

Fly Fly

My words to anyone who struggle, allow the struggles, embrace the good with the bad, and accept that perfect is just a word found in the dictionary. Set backs occur, your wings need a break. Its ok.