5 Years of Running

Today is my 5th anniversary of my first every 5k, so I am pretty sure I can call this my running anniversary. I can’t remember the first day I started to train, but I remember the feeling of just showing up to the start line. I was a basket of nerves. I didn’t think I could do it. But I did it. I crossed the finish line with Koren standing off to the side quietly waiting for me. I remember the feeling of triumph when I crossed. I looked back and realized I did it. The sad part to this was the run ran out of medals, so I had to wait 6 months to get it.

After this I just became hooked on bettering myself, training but mostly learning so much more about myself. I sought out the help of someone who could help me in being a better runner both mentally and physically. I found that in “coach”. He has stood by me during all my health woes and has coached and encouraged me to continue. So far that I am grateful.

To my both my friend friends and running family far and near; thank you. Some of you have become close friends and I consider you family. I love each of you for what you fill my heart with in you just being you. My first run 5 years ago, I had Koren who ran and Tracey who was the cheerleader standing at the finish yelling for me. At that point I didn’t know a soul beside these 2. Now I see faces who are now friends, who offer hugs at the start or finishes of runs and even at time when I am getting my medal.

Running has given me so much. I feel blessed to be able to do this journey, meet people and if I inspire just one person to try it, I feel like I was/am a good advocate for this sport, in showing anyone can do it. Running does not discriminate.

This year I will complete and become a marathoner at Niagara Falls International Marathon. I never thought 5 years ago that my body was capable of this. My mind was strong enough to train for this and have this burning desire to test my own limits.

So Today , I’m quielty celebrating me. My decision to say “there is no reason I can’t run” and mostly I am celebrating how running has changed me. I’m a better person both physically and mentally.

Thank you to every person, running organization and companies that has/have supported me in this journey. It’s not anywhere close to being done, but I can honestly say I love it this far. 

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2kms is 2kms

This week was a bit of a “wonky” week as to just walking lots. Coach told me all he wanted me to do for the month of April was to walk, keep walking and test here and there. Coming back from a concussion that still at times rears its ugly head (no pun intended), I have to be careful.

For those who don’t live in Southern Ontario, we have had an ice storm for basically the last 3 days, I am currently ‘iced’ in and still waiting for the roads to be cleared. So yesterday with the “Cabin Fever” high, I got out my brooks shoes and made friends with the treadmill.

I consider the 2 kms I did a victory that I am in fact healing. My head held out for the 2kms, I didn’t want to push it and create a setback. Setbacks from concussions are not pretty and I’ve already set myself back with thinking I was healed. I’ve learned that healing from a concussion is not anywhere near healing from any other injury I’ve had.

This week, my goal is to just increase up from the 2kms, I ran on the treadmill. I have no “weekly goals” but to try to increase the mileage each week. So when May 1st rolls around, I am truly ready to jump in with both feet and know that my side effect days are hopefully done.

I can’t wait to officially start the training and push my body.

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Marathon – 2.0

I decided I was going to try this again; I am going to become a marathoner in 2018. It was just a matter of finding out which run I was going to do it at. I did a lot of research, with an open mind and was open to driving a great distance if the course was the right one for me. The first thing I did was select a few, I emailed Race Directors. I learned the hard way that websites are not always correct, race expos are not always giving out the right answers. So I emailed the amazing people at the Niagara Falls International Marathon. I ran the 10k last year, I enjoyed every experience at this event, including watching from my hotel room of the last marathoner coming in. I learned after running that this event is a hidden gem.

Once I got my email back getting my answers, I knew this was going to be the event for me. So I committed myself, I signed up this week, I am going to be running and becoming a marathoner all on October 14.

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I want everyone to understand, this run, has become epic, they have changed timelines, courses and mostly they are wanting us back of the pack runners to become involved, to drop our fears of the clock and just get out here and have fun. To become marathoners and even half marathoners.

2018 What’s New:
Option of RACE MORNING kit pickup for the Half Marathon, 10k & 5k races. Marathon is currently still a mandatory day-before race kit pickup process

  • Alternatively, race kits can be picked up on Saturday October 13th at our NEW venue – The Grand Hall of Table Rock Welcome Centre (beside our finish line). Please note that we are working on options for Marathon runners that work on Saturdays & are unable to pickup their kits. Stay tuned for developments!
  • Looking for the ULTIMATE Niagara Falls experience on the Saturday? We have outlined close by, FUN options to experience the Falls at various price points from free to $$$. Read more about that here
  • The HALF MARATHON course is now an out & back. This means NO MORE SHUTTLE BUSES. This means you park RIGHT AT THE START (same location as the 5k/10k start). This means sleeping in and/or driving morning-of for kit pickup if you’d prefer all in time for your 10 a.m. start
  • NEW Marathon start time – 9 a.m. This mean a glorious 7 hours for those who need a bit more time to finish their bucket race achievement! Shuttle buses will run from the Crowne Plaza in Niagara Falls 1/2 an hour earlier – from 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.
  • NEW Marathon CUTOFF point – to abide by Niagara Park’s permit regulations we have added a cutoff at the 21.1 k (13.1 m) at 12:30 p.m. (half way point). You will receive a Half Marathon medal & be bused back to the Finish Line
  • NEW “Tailgate party for friends/family” program. This FREE service will bring your friends/family out to various points of the Half Marathon course to cheer you on!!!  Stay tuned for details on this one!
  • The GREAT 5k Canadian-American Challenge. Boy! This one is FABULOUS – read more about this one HERE and be prepared to RUN FOR YOUR COUNTRY!!!
  • Lastly, we will REWARD you $$$ for referring friends that register!!!  After all, YOU are our BEST Ambassadors!  Read more about how to earn cash here

I know this journey is going to be just as tough as the last one, but the thing I learned from last year is my mind is a strong piece of me. I changed my runs around and my training is mainly focused on October 14.

Due to my injury from running in Florida, I am bowing out of runs that are happening in the next couple of weeks. I am staying the course with following doctors instructions on doing things right, this is not a simple injury, my concussion is pretty serious and even 5 weeks post-accident I still have symptoms that happen.  I met with my run coach on Easter weekend and we discussed a lot, including a lot of small training and giving myself more time. I trust him, I also trust in this process.

I don’t feel that this is a comeback, more of I paused life. pause

I am just going to hit play again this weekend and start slow. I’ll be blogging this experience as I am thinking of it as Marathon 2.0 training. I will have changes, I will be still showing the world and mostly myself, you don’t give up when a goal or a dream doesn’t happen, you adjust the course, change the sails and find the wind again.

So I hope a few of you, read the NFIM website, see that this course is beautiful, you run along the Niagara River and literally end at the brink of the falls. I hope this encourages those of you who have the small fear of the time clock to sign up. Join me, run a first or a 10th.

I will be running this adventure with my best friend, Koren. We will train together when time, distance and work allows us, but we are committed. She is going to run beside me again and together we will cross. I couldn’t ask for a better friend to “give up” her own time to run with me in the back half, to support me, encourage me and mostly we both keep each other laughing on the course. I’m pretty darn lucky for her.

So if you sign up, please let me know. I’d love to do a meet up on the Saturday, if you are in town, or after I cross (if you’re still around), keep me posted on your own journey.

So stay on the look out for more updates on Marathon 2.0 training!

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iRun Radio; March 18 (interview)

When I received the email out of the blue on being asked to be on the iRun Radio, I will admit, it took me a couple of days to reply to Mark. I kept thinking, “why would they want to talk to me” and more so “what could I possibly say”.  I wrote back saying yes. Me being me was asking my co-workers, do I get questioned email? How does this work? Either way, I interviewed.

I think the best part (besides me being me and answering all the questions) was carrying a conversation with Mark as we are old running buddies sitting down for a tea/coffee and how much at ease Mark made me feel. I can’t wait to meet him in person and hope that I do one day.

This interview, which I learned upon answering questions is truly me. Yup I wiped out at Disney on the half during the princess run, I still ran. I started running for me, because I tell people running does not discriminate.  It doesn’t matter your shape, size and how fast you chase the finish line, the main thing is you showed up to the start. That is the biggest victory, showing up to the start, mentally battling yourself to get out there, once you start running you make up mental games, you do what you need to do to cross the finish, but at the end, it will always be you vs you.

So thank you to iRun and iRun radio for having me on, letting me chat all things running.

Since this has aired on the Radio in Ottawa and online, I’ve received messages thanking me for being me, telling me I am an inspiration, I truly never know what to say, but thank you, this is me. This is who I am. I’m real, I have bad runs, bad training runs, I have hurdles, but mostly I just don’t give up.

So have a listen. I start roughly around the 43min mark.

http://irun.ca/index.php/irun-radio-march-18th-2018/

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Disney – Princess Weekend

I’m a Crowned Princess

I did it. I f*cking did it.

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Our trip to Disney was just that magical. We arrived after a long delay of sitting on the plane at Toronto, to sunshine and heat. I took my first ever uber ride, got the food I needed and hit the pavement to the Magic Kingdom.

Thursday morning we got up and took the bus to the expo. We got in line at the “Run Disney” merchandise tent and it wasn’t that bad. I talked with everyone and it moved quickly. I was able to purchase my running shoe ornament and my Minnie Mouse running singlet. I was set. Bib pick up was just as easy.

The expo with vendors I could spend hours in there just chatting. I want to thank the wonderful woman at the Spibelt booth who helped me find a belt that will work with my phone, epi pen and puffer.  I was able to stop by and meet Warren from Zensah. I was able to grab more sparkle skirts and arm sleeves from my ladies from Spark Athletes. I love running in these skirts as they add to my outfits.

Thursday was Koren’s birthday so we went to Disney Springs to wander around and have a nice birthday dinner.

Trying to find a restaurant that is vegan friendly was a chore but we ended up at Rain Forest Cafe. I did learn in the states when you’re a vegan you don’t speak to the manager the actual chef comes out to discuss your meal. Well after it was all done the chef just made me something sort of on the menu but not.

Friday – 5k day! Our goal was just to go out and have fun. Be silly, take pictures and enjoy the sunrise. We had a blast. I stopped for Dopey and the folks from the Canadian house! I dressed as my girl Minnie Mouse.

Saturday – 10k! My goal was just finish, as the heat was present. We had fun again with others. While waiting in the corral before you start (trust me it’s over an hour or more), we met this amazing couple from Toronto! So we chatted with them. I was happy with the timing and we didn’t push it as we knew tomorrow with the hot sun and heat the half was going to be harder. I loved this course around the boardwalk and seeing the people out cheering through Epcot.

Sunday – The half! This was the run I was chasing redemption on. I was up early as I was in the last corral and for my own mental game I needed to be at the start far away from the balloon ladies. We arrived and got to be the starting group toeing the line at the start for when we were shot off with fireworks. We had a plan, while running out on the major road ways we were going to push, make time so when we entered the parks where the road narrows we would be ok. At the 5km mark (give or take), I wiped out, I think I thought I was going to be like Tinkerbell and fly. I landed on my face and my left side. To all the runners who picked me up and placed me back upright. At this point my concern was getting going again. A medic appeared out of no where and told me to get my hand iced and he would allow me to continue.

We continued on. I was in loads of pain as I felt like my left arm was no longer attached, running hurt as I couldn’t bend my arm. But I got it done. These pictures show how congested it was running through areas of the half. I honestly don’t remember much after I had my fall.  The heat was creating havoc with my asthma and the sun was up so it was becoming crazy hot. I made sure I refilled and nuun’d up at each water station, kept my endurance tap in me to keep the energy going.  My allergies were crazy from all the cherry blossom trees so my nose needed blowing constantly.

I crossed the finish. It was a moment I said in my head, yes. I won. I am a Disney princess. I got all my medals.

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Once I crossed I went right to the medic tent as I was in so much pain, I needed someone to look at my arm. They were able to get everything back in place as best they could and saran wrapped me to keep my shoulder and arm in place. Was given medical instructions and I went on my way to get my fairytale challenge medal.

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I didn’t let this get me down or slow me down with my mission of enjoying my time at Disney. I wore my sling, found a tube of biofreeze and figured it was nothing.

I am completely proud of myself for getting up after eating pavement at the 5km mark and finishing 16km in pain, blood and a swollen arm. I learned in this how deep you can dig, how much more you have in you before you want to give up. I was on a mission and I succeeded. I won this round at Disney. My asthma didn’t take me off course, my legs and my heart got me to the finish.

Since I’ve been home I’ve went to the doctors, saw a concussion specialist. I have had testing (xray, ultrasound, CT). I am a tad broken, but I will heal. I am working and listening to the doctors. I know my limits and I will heal.  I will be back on the pavement training. I got more goals this year and I will accomplish them.

Thank you Disney for testing me, showing me how strong I really am!

Disney; I’m Coming For My Bling

I fly in a few short hours back to the most magical place on earth and mostly I’m going to claim redemption.

I’m off to the Run Disney Princess weekend. This will be my 3rd time running this weekend. This is going to be my second chance weekend.

The last time I did this event (everything the 5, 10 and half), I was ill. Beyond ill. My asthma took me out of my first ever try at a half. I ended up in the “Disney Hospital”. I got the medals but I never got the finish line victories.

This weekend this is going to change. I’m chasing 3 finish lines and I am going to cross them all.

Mentally I’m ready. I know I can’t fail as I’ve done a half before. I’ve done numerous 5 and 10k events. Physically I’m healthier as I’m over 120lbs lighter, I’ve trained. I know the plan. My only concern is the weather keeps getting warmer. This will play havoc with my asthma but I know I’m stronger. I know to be smart.

I know that every run I did last year it was brutally hot! So my body is used to this.

So as I sit here at the airport i know I’m 89% ready for this. I got the plan. My costumes are set. I’m going to sparkle, my brooks shoes have magically been converted to glass slippers that will dance me to the finish line.

I’m also going to be spending time actually relaxing, seeing my girl Minnie all while strolling Main Street sipping my Starbucks!

I’ll be posting videos on my IG: justmejodie so follow along.

See you soon Disney! I’m coming to chase finish lines and be crowed 3 times.

2018 Dreams and Goals

2018-Goals (1)

Well for once I came into a new year, new book of a fresh 365 pages with no goals, no dreams, nothing, my plot line was not there. I had to sit down, talk to friends, family, my coach and have some alone time with my thoughts.

I had to decide what the book of 2018 was going to be; I thought maybe this year it should be a mystery but I am a planner, someone who lives with structure so I knew I couldn’t do this.

So here I am a few days into chapter 2 of 2018 and I’ve finally gotten the basics figured out, the bare bones. Dreams and goals are made. My runs have been planned with careful consideration with my run coach. My training plans are coming together for the goals I’ve set.

Later this month, I will be flying to Florida for redemption at Disney for the Princess weekend. I will be doing the challenge and the 5k which means I will be running a 5k, 10k and a half over the 3 days. I will finish all 3 runs and receive my 4th medal. There are a few changes from when I tried this run 2 years ago, I am 140lbs lighter, and I know now I can’t drink the water. I will finish regardless if I’m crawling. No balloon lady is going to catch me.

In March I will be doing the Frosty 5k, which is an excellent easy run with an amazing medal. I highly recommend this run (along with the Chilly Half), its just a fun day out.

In May I have the Mississauga half marathon, this will be a first for me as I’ve only ever ran the 5k the night before. So this was part of the plan to try new runs. I’m looking forward to this course, the people and having an earlier half in the year here in Canada.

Also in May I will be doing Sporting Life 10k, which I did for the first time last year and loved everything about it, the random cheers, the good conversations in the corral and how fast pace it is but still back half friendly. Plus the money goes to such an amazing cause, children with cancer and supports their own special camp.

In June I am an ambassador for the Run like a Diva run in Toronto, which I want as many ladies to sign up for, there is a 5k and a half. It is one of those events that will change your life. Trust me on this. Sign up. Use my discount code; JUSTMEJODIE

Plus I know the island is not going to be a disaster this year and it’s going to be a true island party.

I usually use the Waterfront 10k as my spring finale run until September because of my asthma. It has yet to be announced so I might be changing my plans, but we shall see.

In September I like doing the RBC Race for the Kids, as it’s for youth mental health, which I’m a big advocate. I believe we can do more for families and youth. I know we can offer more help. I’ve experienced heartache and sadness over suicide and experienced just recently helping someone get help. So I encourage everyone to sign up, raise money and fight with me for our future.

In October I will be doing a marathon. I will be a marathoner this year. I will not experience another heartache or hurt. I will be ready and I’ve already reached out to confirm timelines etc. I suggest to anyone considering a marathon in October to seriously look into the Niagara Falls International Marathon.8B0D6AC5-B37B-47E9-9588-AA3419A6A113

I was an ambassador last year, had a blast, ran, chatted and watched the last person come in to a cheering crowd. This run has taken it to the next level with course times; 7 freaking hours to do a marathon! That right there is a huge stress off anyone’s shoulders! It took me a long while to recover from what happened last October with my first attempt. I had guilt of making Koren fail, the hurt of everything, but I finally recovered mentally.

I will still do STWM the following weekend but just the 5k to shake out my legs, more of a recovery run, plus it’s a tradition now.

The one goal I am going to do which I have never done before is keep track of my kms. Whether it is running or going for a walk at lunch. I am going to track and keep myself accountable. So with this, I signed myself and Koren up for the Run The Year event which is “2018 miles in 2018”. This is a reason to get some extra runs in, train and keep track. Also, I get this amazing medal at the end when I hit my goal. IMG-4436

So my questions have all been answered and plans are getting set in stone. I will continue to share this journey with everyone again this year, as I want to show to at least one person its ok to fail and try again. To show you just don’t give up.

I will continue in 2018 to grow as a person, take on challenges and never back down. My own health will be a missing puzzle piece but even missing it doesn’t change or define me as a runner. It just makes me unique. I can’t let it define me or set me back. I will continue to love my body for what it gives me in return.

So this year I will cross finish lines, lead the back half of the pack in, continue to be an advocate for those in the back. I will cheer on everyone for their own personal goals, however big or small, they still are goals, which I celebrate.

But mostly, I am going to continue to just be me; Jodie

 

 

2017; Thank you

thank you 2017

How does one sum up a year full of runs, let alone a year that gave me huge life changes? Well I’m going to try my best!

2017 my only goal was to complete a marathon. When I did my first half in October 2016, I knew I could set the bar higher. I knew it was in me to keep pushing myself. I could have listened to everyone who told me not to try, but that was not me. I needed a goal.

Most people who know me, know that time is just time to me, I get excited when my training and life works together and I happen to get a new PB. My goals always are just to chase the finish line. Most runs are day related decisions with weather and how my body is doing.

My asthma doesn’t stay controlled by a magical wand.

I started 2017 on the injury reserve list, after having an emergency surgery on my birthday in December. Once I was cleared I was back to fully training as I was doing my first half marathon in Alabama in Feb.

In the meantime, life sort of settled out in the aspect of my job, I was able to secure a quick employment contract. Which was amazing and a stress relief.

February arrived and so did our road trip to Alabama. I was beyond happy to spend time with my run family and just relax. Just meeting the amazing people connected to the run family in “Bama was memorable. These people are friends for life. This half marathon turned out to be a new PB. I still am not sure how this happened as this course was hills. I mean hills! I even did an ugly cry to a police officer at km 18, asking when the hills would end. I stopped for selfies on the course just to give my asthma a break, chatted with the fire department but mostly decided to have fun. I even used a port-a-potty. I learned pulling your pants up is not all that easy after running in the heat and sweat.

To this day, I am still thankful for the memories and love I got from the Alabama family.

March brought the Chilly Half, which was going from one extreme for weather to the other. My coach told me how to dress and said I was prepared and ready. No I wasn’t. The cold weather and a half didn’t work out well with me. I finished. It was a beautiful course along the water. It just was a cold day, but at least the sunshine was shining. I would tell anyone wanting to find a run to train during the winter for, use this one as the starter for the year.

March further brought more personal changes, which involved the need to move, job ending and more hospital visits from Feb and March. It was truly a month to deal with the changes and learning new normals.

I was also interviewed in March by the Canadian Running Magazine for an article on the back half of the runs and how I continue to be me. How time is not everything to me and just the success of crossing the finish line is the victory.  https://justmejodie.com/2017/06/26/canadian-running-magazine/

Since I was accepting a new normal, I knew this would be a time of change, reflecting and changing my training plan to accommodate changes.

Spring or was it an early summer month of May arrived;

I did Sporting Life 10k, which was a first for me and I did get a new PB. I was proud of myself, but mostly the memory was talking to a beautiful lady in the corral beforehand. I pushed myself as much as I could and the results were worth it. The atmosphere in this run is crazy and it’s very well organized. Plus the cause is something that is worth it to partake in.

I was in the iRun magazine for athletes for Canada’s 150 birthday. I was honoured to be considered and featured as number 1. I still don’t even know how to deal with this when people bring it up. I am just humble and don’t know how to answer.  https://justmejodie.com/2017/05/23/irun/

I was an ambassador to the Run Ottawa Marathon weekend. Which brought a weekend away in Ottawa. This run needs to be on everyone’s bucket list. The city just has a vibe that is amazing. Everyone chats with everyone and it’s just surreal. The day of this run, it was hot, so my goal was just to finish. While in the corral I met another girl who was running her first half, she asked if I could help her stay safe and keep her going. I of course said yes. I got her to the finish. She was thankful as she was completely unprepared.

I am still thankful for the Ottawa Marathon organization in taking me on as a member of Team Awesome. I am in the back half of runs and it was an honour to be considered equal and part of the family for this.

June brought the Diva’s half marathon, which I was blessed enough to be an ambassador for this event. The weather did not play well with the run, which caused flooding on the Island in Toronto, so the run was moved with last minute, so it was not the beautiful scene, but it still was fun. The weather was crazy crazy hot. This run is amazing. Just imagine running with 3000 women, who are all supporting each other and cheering, singing and dancing. It was truly a remarkable experience. You saw nothing but a sea of pink, tutu’s, and everything in between. https://justmejodie.com/2017/06/12/run-like-a-diva-half-marathon/ & https://justmejodie.com/2017/11/13/run-like-a-diva-2018-2nd-chance/

End of June was the waterfront 10k which was taken over by lululemon. I didn’t get any PB and the experience was fun, had some bumps but it has been ironed out. The day like the rest of my patterns of runs was hot, sunny, but had a bit of a breeze.

July and August, I take off from “organized” runs. I had my marathon training plan set out, I was following the plan, running and training and it worked out. I was happy with how well it was turning out.

My mom became my side line coach, with the water head offs, she would show up with bananas and just check up on me. Especially on long runs. I am grateful in her support. My long runs I would work in with Koren’s schedule so we could do them together, until her injury set her on the sidelines.

My anaphylaxis never stopped and I had several hospital visits during the spring and summer, which put me down for a week or so after each attack.  In August I was bit by a poisonous spider, which resulted in me not feeling well for a few weeks, which included a heavy dose of medication for a bone infection.

September brought the RBC Race For the Kids and Army run weekend, yup, they both were on the same weekend. I did the 5k with RBC and raised money for Youth mental Health, which I am it believer in. If you are in Toronto on this weekend, please consider signing up this year. Lots of fun.

On the Sunday in Ottawa I did the commander challenge, which was a 5k and a half. It was hot. If you haven’t ever done the army run, you need to add it as well as to your bucket list. It’s emotional. It’s an honour and mostly it’s a huge sense of Canadian pride. I love this run.  https://justmejodie.com/2017/09/22/canada-army-run/

Right after this weekend, I ended up having a bad experience with my anaphylaxis and put me behind on my training, which mentally I had a hard time dealing with.

The end of September brought more new changes, with a job that took me back to the City and working an odd shift. Which I was unable to honestly adjust to.

October came in like a rush, I had the Niagara Falls International Marathon 10k just before the weekend of my first Marathon. The course for Niagara is beautiful (again the weather was all over). Running beside and ending at the falls is beautiful. I will be doing this run again. The town is alive and the community is full of support.

My marathon weekend came. I don’t even know how to re talk about this, but you can read it again here, or for the first time. https://justmejodie.com/2017/10/26/my-try-at-a-marathon/

I took a step back from running after my attempt at my first marathon. My heart broke. I had to heal. I had to reflect and accept as well as know I am capable of finishing. It was hard to find my grove again, but I knew that I would not quit. It was a matter of figuring and finding.

I learned more about myself this year as a person, what I am capable of. I learned I can accept change, I can handle curve balls and it’s ok to have a new normal. I was able to process my own thoughts and fears.

With the end of November brought more personal changes as after years of bouncing and playing the game, I finally secured the long awaited forever dream job. So I’ve learned to adjust, make new routines and make a new normal.

I closed off 2017 feeling my own self pride, my own sense of accomplishment knowing I can do all that I am capable of. When I set goals, I will push myself to the limit. I have been knocked around and faced many hills but through it all, I never gave up. I learned I am strong. I am ok being uncomfortable.

I can’t say thank you enough to all of you who have believed in me, helped me with the journey and lifted me when I did struggle. The messages and comments have been appreciated. The companies that took a risk on me, stood by me and supported me even when I didn’t feel like they should, thank you.

I do represent the back half of all runs and the runners within, but I hope that if anyone can take something away from my 2017 experience is that, you are capable of everything, you can do anything you put your mind to, and mostly, set and dream large.

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Run Like A Diva 2018; 2nd Chance

Ok ladies…. It’s time to get off the fence before the next price increase and sign up for this event. I am going to clear the air and encourage you to sign up.

The medals are what they look like, huge and weigh more than a couple pounds of butter. They are worth it, whether for the 5k or the half.

It is true, there are fire fighters at the end, and so if you need oxygen, they will help!

This year in 2017, it was Mother Nature causing problems. I look at it, as she wanted the first date to go horribly bad. It caused some of us runners to have moments where we thought “ya I’m not doing this again” or even to think the worse. Well as all of us have given everything in life a second chance, you need to give this event another chance. The course being moved, with such little time was a scramble that even the best of the best would of struggled.

SO in 2018, they’ve listened;

There are going to be more water stations and more BATHROOMS! It will be on the island, which we know Mother Nature can’t play dirty two years in a row. So let’s give this run another chance, let the Diva crew show us they listened.

The food at the end next year will be given out in bags, so no chance of running out, running low and anyone grabbing extra’s. So everyone will get the same whether you are the first or the last across the finish line.

A lot of you are also thinking of not signing up because you have the Nike Women’s Run memory still in your head. You have to remember the Nike run had over 10k women trying to get off the island at the same time, which caused the big delay. With the Diva run having both a 5k and a half, there are going to be different finish times for everyone, which should not have a 2 hour wait to get off the island.

I like to think that we can all give this event a second chance, a chance to allow them to fully show us what they have in store, what they are capable of doing, without having the issues of scrambling because they needed to move the run to another location.

As I said before this truly is a run of women doing nothing but empowering each other. I listened to women sing together, dance out there and act silly all while running. Some of these women started this event as random strangers but finished as sole sisters. There was so much encouragement along the half that it was amazing.

So like I said let’s give this run a second chance for those of you who ran in 2017. For those of you who are on the fence because of word of mouth, sign up, come run or walk it yourself, you be the judge after next June.

This run is all women (well mostly with the odd husband coming out for support), it is a perfect run for any age, runner or walker. Age is not even a factor. The time is there to go out and enjoy. You have people supporting you as you go. I can’t even describe the vibe that came from this year’s run. It was just amazing. It truly was women empowering women.

So do me the favour, give Run Like A Diva a second chance.  If 2018 will be your first time at this event. I can’t wait to see you, run with you and just have fun!

http://www.runlikeadiva.com

My try at a Marathon

I am not a marathoner.

I don’t know how to honestly put all of my emotions and thoughts into words, without wanting to cry. But on Sunday, I did not become a marathoner at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM). I did not reach my goal on Sunday, but I now realize, I will just try again. I am human.

If we back up to before Sunday, I knew I was ready to tackle this goal. I had trained. I overcame many obstacles with my own body and I never gave up. My health at times was not perfect but I never let that stop me, or define me, I was going to be a marathoner. I missed only one long run, but I knew being healthy going into Sunday was more important over getting one last long run in. I talked to my coach on Saturday night, told him all the emotions I had and he basically told me, I was ready.

The week before STWM, I was hit with a cold (picture sinus infection meets chest cold) and my hip started giving me problems after my 10k in Niagara. I went and saw Dr. Ashley, to get it fixed. I was fully confident, and I knew I was going to get this done, nothing was going to hold back my determination.

I don’t think it ever crossed my mind that I was going to fail myself. I kept using the word fail, until a wise man sent me an email this week telling me I did not fail.

Sunday, happened. The weather was not perfect at all for someone with asthma like myself, the sun was out, but I was confident. Koren and I had a pace to maintain and if I was doing just a half I would have scored an amazing PB.

The first half of the run, Koren and I ran a good steady pace, we ran a bit with Jennifer and it was fun. I was having fun. My body was not mad at me, it was getting done. There was plenty of shade in the first half which helped with the blazing sun. I saw people running during the out and back, cheered for them, they cheered for me. This is where the confidence gets built even more when you hear the cheers by random people while running. They know you are getting it done, you’re in the back half, but you’re not giving up.

I am thankfully to the cheering stations who stayed out in this portion for the back half; Black Toe Running and Tribe Fitness. Staying out to support the full run truly means a lot and it carries a lot with back half runners, so thank you again.

I never ever thought during STWM, I would be that one person going to the right, to finish the second half of the marathon as everyone was turning left. It was an odd feeling, because at this point you became alone again. I met my folks at the half way point to grab more Kleenex, a wrap with peanut butter and a cold bottle of water, we didn’t stop, we grabbed and ran. It was all part of the plan.

The second half was out in the sun, it was here I felt the heat and my asthma started acting up. Koren and I was the back half and at this point there was still a few people we could see behind us, but now the guys in the white truck were taking down the km marking signs, so we really didn’t know what distance we were at. Koren found this a comfort. I had my watch, so I knew we just had to follow the road and we would be ok.

When we hit the Bayview extension out and back, our friend Andrea ran with us. She was volunteering with the Red Door Shelter and was waiting for us. She ended up running 5kms with us (in her full skinny jeans and cotton shirt) to her car.


It was at this point the juggler passed us and we became the last people out there, as we had our own personal police escort. It was ok, and I am beyond thankful this officer in the SUV had some common sense and didn’t ride my ass as I ran, I think that would have put me into a panic attack.

Once we made it over into Leslieville area, the runners that were heading towards the finish were amazing, the words of encouragement was one of a kind and it was truly unique. It was here we saw JP, Mary-Anne and crew. We received hugs from Peter and encouragement to keep going.

Koren and I continued for a few more kms until this motorcycle stopped us and told us we needed to move to the other side (around KM 33) as we were being turned around towards the finish. I was not going to be completing the full course.

It was this point, this man that took the wind out of my sails. We slowly walked to the other side of the road. I just stood on the side of the road and cried. Yup, I ugly cried. This man just took my goal away. I was not going to be a marathoner (today). I think most of the runners who went by figured I hit the “wall”. At this point I said why rush back and I really couldn’t stop crying. So we slowly walked on the right side as everyone passed us.

I had to do one of the hardest things for me to do was to text my dad the words below.
We had a plan already in place, so I needed to let my own cheering crew know it just wasn’t happening. So they were not concerned or worried with the jump in kms or if the tracking was off.

We slowly and I mean slowly made our way back. I said there is no point in running to get some amazing time, because this means nothing. The man on the motorbike made sure of that.

Once we got back towards the Bonnie’s Dream Team, we had more people supporting us, but I said to Koren, it feels so fake, if only they knew what just happened. We did run into a woman who has been following my journey, she walked with Koren and I to the finish. I told her I would not be a marathoner, with tears running down my face, she gave me a huge hug.

So Sunday, I crossed a finish line, was given a medal and a time registered on sports stats, but I am not a marathoner, I know the truth, the stats show the truth, I got a useless medal for going 37kms and being forced to turn around. I think having a DNF would have been easier to swallow over everything that took place, if I was being forced off the course and turned around.

Before everyone gets all indifferent about this, let me explain why this has hit home even more with me being in the back half, this is what is on the CRS website regarding this run, time frame etc; 

Koren and I also spoke to information/help at the expo, asked questions about “turn around” spots and if there was anywhere I had to be by a certain time, as if there was, it would of possibly changed how I started the run. The person confirmed there is no “turn around” area and that if anything we would be asked to go to the sidewalk to finish. But I got turned around.

Runs should make it clearer that there are certain “turn arounds”, so every runner is aware. They should also make it clear if the counting clock for the course is from the first elite who touches the starting mat or the very last runner a crossed the start.

I have a heart that still hurts over all of this (and sort of feels broken). I am beyond happy for everyone who completed in all races of STWM, who had fun, an excellent run etc. But my own heart still hurts on how this happened to me.

On Sunday and the following days, I had all these messages flooding my phone, SM with congratulations, how proud they were of me, etc., I had to take to SM to advise the following message:

It hurt a lot to have to explain this to everyone, not that I couldn’t do the marathon, I was told I couldn’t do it.

I felt like I failed. Not just myself but the companies and people who believe in me. I felt like I let people down, including Koren who was with me for this journey. I know that if I was given the full chance I would have crossed that finish line as a marathoner and done it successfully. 

I sent a message to someone at Nuun (he has supported me from the start years ago) who replied back with the dad role and said these words to me: –> “You didn’t “fail”. Just please stop using that word right now, child. Failure, in my eyes, is never signing up, never doing the training and never getting to the start line. That is failure, as I see it, in the endurance world. You have made so much progress with your physical wellness since we first met years ago. Failure??? Please!!!”

When I told my coach what happened, he replied being super supportive and told me next time my dig deep will happen and this won’t happen again.

I had messages from random strangers who saw my SM post writing that I am an inspiration, I never gave up with all my setbacks. I’ve had so much support from people who have helped me get over this, emotionally I’ve been a wreck all week. I told someone, I figure this must be how the second place team feels in losing the Stanley Cup or the World Series.

I received a text message from a friend who told me I am the phoenix I will rise again, which is true. I will try again at a marathon and be fully successful. I will be a marathoner, this goal didn’t die when I was turned around.

So thank you to everyone for the support this past week. It means a lot, the words have helped heal my heart.

I still am going to show the world that the back half can and will succeed when we put our minds to something, regardless of what a man on a motorbike thinks.

So I am not a marathoner, this does not define me or my running ability, it just means my goals will be adjusted for 2018. I will still lead the back half in and represent us at runs. I will continue to be me, work towards my goals.
Some pics from before: