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

 

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

About Time

After my asthma attack on Friday in which I needed to leave work early, I knew my scheduled run distance was going to be changed. I spoke to my coach and he told me that I need a mental break run. He told me to run “partially naked”. My new goal was just run for 3hrs. To listen to my body and don’t push my lungs.

So my alarm was set for 4:50am. My hydration pack was ready to go and my nuun was made. I set out to my starting point and just started running. I previously mapped out a plan for the “distance” run earlier in the week so I figured this AM I’d just start it and run the previously planned route.  I had a ride lined up so where I end at the 3hrs someone would pick me up.

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I find it peaceful to run through my towns quiet streets with the lights still on. Trust me I was a rebel and ran down the middle of the road.

rail

I remembered why I also hate running in the streets and no on paths/parks. I don’t do sidewalks at all. It kills my body. My knees hurt which they never ever do. It was horrible. So next long run will not have sidewalks.

I loved watching the sunrise. I counted 11 little bunnies and 3 deer’s that crossed my path.

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I have had some hip pain a couple of weeks ago on my right side. Last year it was my left. So I’ve stretched it out. Heat to it and now going to try ice. But I know I need to see either massage therapist or Dr. Ashley.

So Sunday I went 18kms. Not my best time not my worst but I did it. Marathon training  is more of a mental game this time around. Next week I will be back on track for speed. This is me. This is my speed. I’m not a “perfect” runner and you can’t compare me to anyone else

During my run I received this message from a fellow team nuun member;

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This was exactly what I needed. This amazing woman wrote me today of all days and it was what clicked. The hard times are not going to last and she believes in me.  No way in hell now am I giving up.

I know that in the end I have it in me to be a marathoner. I will accomplish this.

October 14 will be here soon and I have stepped up my game.  I’m out of my funk.

Also I think I’m going to switch up my shoe game.  Stay tuned on that!

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.”

Run Like A Diva – Version 2018

Wow…the changes! The amazing good vibes on Toronto Island were just phenomenal.

If you ran it last year and opted out this year, you truly missed out. If you didn’t sign up because of last year rain flooded island location move, again you missed out.

I am just saying you should truly consider signing up for the 2019 run. Plus these medals are just amazingly large!

The run / Race Director listened to our voices! There was more water stations, more bathrooms, food was bagged so everyone got food! So there was no chance of anyone grabbing more and leaving none for others. The course had music, with great spots to grab selfies with blow up signs. It had live bands which was amazing to dance along with as we made our way to the finish. There was ample places for families to be around the course to cheer us on.

On course safety was amazing (maybe they knew I was going to be out there)! The bike marshals were excellent in keeping our safety in check. Mike (one of the bike ones guys) was always floating around asking if we needed anything, helping people out who were in distress and just keeping other people from being on course. The golf cart drivers as well, made sure everyone was ok, and if anyone needed a place to sit if they needed rest etc.

The expo was a true boutique style and had lots of vendors, other runs, fire fighters you could pose with as well as buy merchandise. Your swag came in a reusable bag, which was nice, especially for beach days etc.

The run was well planned with the ferry schedule, which I always love riding on to see Toronto from a different angle.

There was ample signs when we got to the island to direct us to the location of the start.

The volunteers again were amazing, lots of them and always ready with the water and cheers.

I loved how the pylons were even pink to match with the theme. It was true we all were divas on the Sunday. You constantly saw staff out on the course making sure everything was ok and runners were protected for when a ferry came with more people.

With being the last runner, there was enough water and electrolytes. There was nothing being taken down in the rear which was nice. The start was taken down which makes sense as it’s a double loop and running over the mat again would not of worked. I found this as a huge positive not to see the course being picked up behind you as you were out running. Not having the pressure of a crew taking the course away is a mental positive. So thank you for not doing this.

The bubbly at the end was still ice cold and very refreshing on the hot day.

Overall this run is a great event. To see this many women, including young females out participating, supporting each other is amazing. There were many mom/daughter teams, best friends and a few fathers running with their young daughters. To see this kind of support of encouragement is awesome.

I highly suggest if you haven’t run this event yet, you add it to your 2019 list. Grab some friends, coworkers, family and empower and support women. You’ll hear laughter, see smiles and just have a good time out, collecting memories and a huge medal for your accomplishment.

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

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.

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.