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.

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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.”

I Challenge you to…..

be a Motivator-Bunny and here is why:

Leading up to the Diva’s half, I reached out to many women who would be there running their first half or first 5k. I made a connection over a year ago with Robyn. The first time I met her was in my corral for the marathon last October. She was an amazing cheerleader to me. I talked to Robyn leading up to the half, as it was her first. I sent her a bunch of Diva buff’s for her and her tribe. Her tribe trained with her and got her to the start line.

Leading up to the run I told her I’d run with her and if she was faster to run on and spread her wings. Let them fly and soar.

On the morning of the run I up with Robyn and her amazing friend Amanda who is a warrior herself. I was super proud to meet her. This women has a beautiful soul and the Diva’s run was hers to run.

This run was a first for me as I think I was afraid I was going to slow Robyn down. I believed us to be in this together.

I considered my job the Motivator-Bunny, not a pace bunny, because I was not going to push her past the point of still loving running, but to get the job done, be uncomfortable.

We started out perfect and how can you not love the views that Toronto Island has to offer. The weather was perfect. We slowed a wee bit as the sun came up and the temperatures got warmer, but we never stopped, there was going to be no towel tossing in on my watch.

I personally look back on this run and I am pretty sure Robyn might just think I am a wee bit nuts as I danced, ran backwards, sang to her (trust me I don’t do any old school songs justice), told stories but mostly I reminded her why we were out there. She was going to become a half f**king marathoner, which I think I yelled a few times as well. I kept her focused, away from the pain, the mental questions of why did I sign up for this. I was just the crazy cheerleader running beside her. I felt her emotions, I read her body and knew when to be quiet and let her mentally focus, as well as I knew when I could push her a bit more.

I never let her think we are last or in the middle or the front for as long as I could, we did have our own security after a while and he was pretty sweet, as he did offer me food.

The main focus with being the motivator-bunny was remaindering her its only one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, this helped me and we got the 21.1 kms done.

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I cried for Robyn. I cried for her when I told her how proud I was of this amazing woman who crushed a goal, who had the courage to start. She was a diva for sure on that Sunday, but mostly she on her own became a half marathoner. I relived what it was like to be doing this for the first time, but also to experience the emotions on another level.

I honestly don’t think I know how to put the words down in print on how my emotions were. I am thankful for Robyn for allowing me to tag along in her journey. She allowed me again to see how strong this running community is and how much we are a family. Robyn taught me so much during those 21kms, about myself and my love of running.

I don’t know if Robyn will ever run with me again, as I still can’t sing and my dancing is left to the imagination, but I was blessed for this experience. So Thank you Robyn for allowing me this experience, for filling my heart on happiness and giving me the chance to see this half through fresh eyes.

So…. To all those who are reading this, I challenge you to be a motivator-bunny for someone in the back half of a run, who is out there running for the first time, or who is trying to get to a new goal. Remember goals are different for everyone.

I challenge you to see running through the eyes of someone who is so far out of their comfort zone they are scared, fear is right in their face and failure is floating in their mind, but they are going to get it done because the finish line is the victory.

Don’t go pace someone, go motivate someone, time is not what their run is about maybe, but as I said the finish. Help show and remove the stigma attached that being in the back half is an embarrassment.

Go feel how the victory is, how the back half run and get to the same finish you normally do (and in some cases in half the time).

So the challenge is out there…. Go be a motivator-bunny for someone.

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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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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:

Marathon Training – The Home Stretch


I’m 12 sleeps away from my first full marathon! 

Has everything kicked in? Yes!
Has my mind been bouncing between positive and negative? Yes!

I’ve looked back at when I decided this was going to be my 2017 running goal and I have always known I’ll finish. I’m stubborn and determined that nothing stands in my way when I have a goal.

With ^ that being said during my training I had set backs and set backs in the middle of other set backs. I don’t call them falls more stumbles in the road as I continued to push through them. I was in the hospital 3 times due to my anaphylaxis which leads to a 10 day treatment afterwards and I had bone and blood infection which sidelined me for over 6 weeks. My one specialist told me that the average person would of gave up and went for a shorter distance or not ran at all. What they don’t get yet is I’m not the average Jodie. Never once during these medical issues did I think I should not or I can’t do this marathon.

Also in the midst of all of this I had to move (had a greedy landlord) and re-establish myself. I recently started a job with some crazy hours and the job is over an hour and half away from my home. Its learnings to adjust to the new normal for me. 

All of these are not excuses if I do poorly on my marathon (what you call poorly), so be it, because my only goal is to cross the finish line standing upright. The time in this journey doesn’t mean a thing. It’s the glory in the victory of just finishing. 

This is just me. Showing the world the plan didn’t go as planned to either plan A or even plan C.

I never did get in my last long run, which I needed mentally, to show myself I got this in the bag. I know everyone talks about the “wall” but I know it’s just a matter of being stronger. 

I had a friend offer me advice that it’s better to be well rested and fueled before a marathon over one long run and risking injury or other. Pretty sure he is right.

My mind will play lots of tricks on me in the coming days and that’s ok. I’m still stronger. I will finish.

I’m looking at this marathon almost the same way I looked at my first half marathon just with some changes. In my mind this is how Sunday will going down;

1- half marathon 

1- 15km

1- 5km (or possibly 2 10kms)

1- 1km victory lap to the finish. 

I’m hopeful I will have a new garmin before my marathon (and I thank everyone who offered me one to borrow), as I don’t rely on it for distance (those big signs do it for me) but for my pace. I have paces I need to maintain to stay on track. This honestly has caused me anxiety but I know I will figure it out before Oct 22. 

So for the next few days/week I am going to continue to do short 5km runs and this coming Sunday I have the Niagara Falls Internatinal Marathon 10km which I’ll run at my marathon pace. 

I will continue trying to get proper rest and keep my fuel on track to be ready for STWM. 

So folks, I didn’t stop training, I had life happen, things out of my control, new changes, obstacles to face but I never backed down from this goal. I always “Cowboy Up”. 

The countdown is on. I have zero doubts that I will not finish. On October 22, 2017, I will become a marathoner.  

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. 

Lean Fit Brand 

When I was told to become a plant based eater with no soy and rice, I was left scratching my head. 

I started reading labels on everything from bread to my go to protein powder with everything in between. 

On my IG I follow an amazing athlete name David Freake, who randomly posted information on a protein powder that was plant based along with information.

I researched the company as I’ve tried other plant based products and I couldn’t do it, get passed any of the taste and how it made me feel.

I reached out to the company with a couple of questions on basically where can I buy the vegan soy free powder as I’m currently living in a small town Ontario. I also asked other questions, as I wanted to make sure I was going to try the best and this would work for me.

After a few emails back and forth I received this amazing care package in the mail.

This totally took me for a surprise. I’m completely grateful to this company. The part that made it amazing and heartfelt was the personalized note offering encouragement and support. That note sealed the deal for me with this company which is a huge, yet someone took the time to write me a note.

So this is my review (not asked to by the company);

I love it. 

I love the taste of it regardless if it’s mixed with water, almond milk and or made with fruit and veggies.

I had zero tummy issues. I didn’t feel bloated or heavy. I didn’t have any side effects.

I had energy. I was able to use the product before and after a run as fuel.

I had no after tastes and I didn’t have those “repeat second time around” tastes. You know those ones you get. I didn’t have anything.

I’m completely sold on this product. I will be using Lean Fit because of the benefits that it’s not filled with garbage. The energy and fuel was there.

I highly suggest you take your protein powder more serious. Read labels, ask questions including where and how it’s made. This is all to benefit you, help you in your journey which is all helping you to continue on the path of success.

This company and product are going to get me to my Marathon and beyond. Because there is going to be another goal when my Marathon is done, we all know it. 

So do me the favour, check out Lean Fit Brand on Social Media, their website and educate yourself. Find what works for you.