Run Report – Niagara Falls International Marathon 5k

Yup. This is a wee bit late!

Niagara Falls International Marathon – 5k

This at the start of the year was scheduled to be my 2nd attempt at a Marathon. Even after I did Disney and broke my body, still in my mind I was stubborn to think I still can do it, even not being able to run without being dizzy or having severe pains.

I dropped to the 5k just to do it. It was actually me against the finish line, so I was pumped with the weather being cooler that I was going to have a decent run.

The race expo moved locations, which was nice to park, walk along the water and see the falls. The actual expo had way too many people in it for me, I just wanted to get out as fast as I could. There was a lot of confusion where to go, and which lines up everyone was in. I didn’t stop at any of the booths at the expo as it was just too many people. I liked it back at the centre, where there was room, to shop, talk and view, plus room to move. So hopefully next year they figure out a better system to keep people moving, signage up and mostly less confusion. I was also confused as when I got bib and shirt, there was no bag to put anything in. So in in essences there was no “race packet for the 5km”.

This year NFIM changed the half marathon course, to an out and back, which started after the 10ks (went first) and then us 5ks followed by the halfs. We all ran an out and back.  This will never work if they try to send off the halfs last. I was clipped by a runner coming back and ended up landing on my tail bone and left side, as Koren tried to keep me up. While I was on the ground trying to make sure my wrist was not broken, I had runners still crossing the “line” trying to run me over. I want to thank the random stranger who for right on the ground, who helped me get my wind back and was true angel. I got up dusted off the mud and finished in true Jodie spirit. But even at this we had runners in the half thinking they had the full road. There was no Marshalls on course keeping everyone to the right. I don’t even think I saw a medic riding around at all.

I finished the run. I was happy to get up, but mostly angry and that I let drive me to finish. I knew the next weekend I had STWM and I could set out to chase a new PB.

I love the sparkle on the medal. I earned the medal, after getting up and realizing that I re-hurt myself from the fall in February.

Unless the order changes for this run for next year I will not be doing it. I can’t risk the runners of the halfs taking up the full road, clipping me or I have to be pushed to the uneven grass to accommodate them. We all are out chasing the same finish line.

So I will be eagerly watching to see what is changed for the 2019 run.

Adjusting My Sails

I’ve been sitting on this and with some news I received this past week a lot of puzzle pieces were able to be clicked together over the week.

Sunday August 12, I had a long run for my marathon training plan. I started out before the sun was even glowing to rise and start a new day. I felt strong at the beginning and ran the first 6kms on a solid pace. I’ve been experiencing a pain in my hip but it was centred to one point and it just started to flare up, which slowed me a bit but I didn’t think much of it. By the time I was over 10kms in I was adjusting my running to compensate for the pain. I just ignored it, I knew it was a mental game, or that is what I liked to think, by 15kms in I knew it was going down fast. I had to stop for the bathroom, which I never do. This was a life struggle with wet running gear. After getting back going the pain was very present.

I just decided to fight my mind. Koren was with me riding her bike, making sure I had my endurance tap, my nuun was topped up constantly.

I started to slow and at one point the lady in the crocs ran past me and I told Koren I was just done, but I was not going to quit. This run was supposed to be 22kms. After an ugly cry, the pain being unbearable and my head felt like it was floating, I called it. I called it not even at an even number, I just stopped. IMG-6270

I was angry. I hated this run, I hated how it was just ugly all around. It was the worse training run I’ve had that I can remember in my running career. It just was nasty.

I knew my body needed to be looked at, I could barely lift my leg to get into the vehicle. I was in pain. I felt broken.

Leading up to this run, I had a lot of things take place over the days before. My run coach told me he needed to step back, away, down to deal with some personal issues, which I am ok with, it just came more of a surprise as this was when I was needing him the most, with my nutrition to added the kms and a huge percent was for my mental health, in understanding the fears, the doubts. So I had this loss and I will be honest it did hurt, but again I respect his reasons and the why.

After that Sunday I knew it was time to see Dr. Ashley, she is a runner and understands my body as she’s been working on me for over 3 years. I was struggling for most of the week to just do stairs without pain and in the night the pain was waking me up. I was doing heat, stretches, but I knew, it needed an expert.

As well as last week, I went to see my doctor, I had not been feeling well in the last few months, I just couldn’t shake the feeling of always being tired, and I felt that I was struggling more and more each day. After I was in the hospital in November and recovery after that I never really honestly felt myself. After some extensive testing and spending a day going back and forth to doctors/hospital. I’ve been given my answers. I have a long road ahead for bringing my body back to “healthy” with regards to no long being anemic, needing shots and transfusions at the hospital. This has explained so much in why I am in bed by 8pm and I just want an afternoon nap. My body is struggling. All this has brought down my own mental health and wellbeing.

I saw Ashley on the weekend, she talked in sports medicine talk and all I think I understood was my pelvis or something was twisted and my bursitis hip/sack is something….. But she gave me some food for thought, to decide how and if I can continue training for my marathon. Its ideas I need to weigh out for pain vs getting in distance or focus on becoming healthy again.

This past week I’ve weighed out my options, I have done the exercises, I’ve rested, I’ve heated and I’ve come to the conclusion. I can’t be marathon body ready. I can’t run the long distances for training. I can, but I can’t run with tears or pain. I can’t risk having an injury that prevents me from running in the future or limits my distances.

This decision has been heart breaking to make but I have to think long term but mostly about my health today. With having to have transfusions and injections to bring my body back to “healthy”, I can’t add in the stress of the extra early mornings of getting up and training and exhausting my body.  I’ve sat on this, talked to people and just had to make the decision.

I want to be healthy. I want to be able to run the Wine and Dine in Disney in November. But mostly I want to be able to know my body can still run and reach goals and achieve my dreams.

This set back is huge but it’s not going to destroy my goals but I have to be smart. Trust me I’ve cried. I’ve talked to my doctor and mostly I have had to listen to my body. I am just exhausted and I need to continue training but for a half marathon distance and not stress over a marathon at this time in my life.

I know I will become a marathoner, it’s just a matter of time and it will happen.

To everyone, including those companies who have believed in me this far, don’t give up on me. This is just a setback. I am going to crush it at Wine and Dine (plus not fall during the half and injury myself). I have major plans in 2019. I am going to be stronger both physically and mentally.

healthy

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 Journey Back

The days leading up to the Diva run I questioned myself, on my own fears of will I fall again, can I do this and will I finish; the list just went on. My longest training run before this was 8kms. I knew I could do the half as I’ve done them before, mentally I knew what had to be done, it just was my body I was worried about.

I actually had nerves as this was going to be my first half marathon not my 8th, I had this thought that I wasn’t going to finish and I was going to let myself down and all those who were cheering for me.

This run was for me was the comeback run, which I needed to do and get over my fears and hurdles. It was for me.

This was the first run in a while that Koren and I did not plan to do together, Koren is injured right now and was just going to go out there and walk etc.

I am going to admit, this run hurt. My body hurt. I realized that my elbow and shoulder still flare up and cause pain. I still have a lot of work to do with regards to getting my body back physically in the shape it was in before my fall, so I don’t have shoulder issues as well as a burning left arm, when running. I know I got work to do.

But my biggest fear was my left leg. The Thursday before the run I met with my surgeon, who had all my test results and this meeting was to discuss surgery etc. The results did not come back as good as I wanted. My left leg does not get enough blood flow and at times the values leading to my legs are not working to pump any blood. This is causing my leg to struggle at times, feel like dead weight and can be numb or mostly I have pain that is sharp and stabbing. Once I talked with the surgeon, it was decided that I am too high risk to have the surgery and a new drug is on the market that can try and slowly fix the issue. The surgeon knows my medical history and knows what type of person I am, so before he even came to the table to say no to the surgery, he consulted with other surgeons. He told me I can still train and become a marathoner. He just said to me that I need to train smart and mostly listen to my body.

So for the future this is going to be my life. As always I never let this get me down, or consider my body winning, this is just another fork and as a creek/river, I bend, I will make new waves and continue on.

Jodie

This half gave me the courage to know anything is possible again and my fears were misplaced. I just lost my inner warrior. I went out and relearned what my body is capable of, being uncomfortable and learning what my body can do when pushed. I have no doubt I will cross the finish in October, regardless if I am crawling.

Flat RunnerJodie and Koren

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

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.

marathon confirm

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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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. 

Week 4-Part 2 – Marathon Training

Well, I’m going to be honest; I didn’t run at all this week. My plan was there, my mind was ready but my body didn’t work. This time around the treatment they gave me knocked me down and kept me down. My body rebelled.

I talked to my doctors. I listened to my body. Mostly I didn’t trust my body to behave, from being dizzy, swelling and everything in between I decided I couldn’t risk it, a run was not worth me falling or passing out. To be honest I didn’t even leave the house until yesterday. This was my Friday night views..
So the remainder of this week I focused on making a better plan. I spent a lot of time researching foods and being creative with what I can eat right now. 

So today it was “meal prep” day.


I’ve made my breakfasts – egg cups. My lunches are planned for each day and are ready to be grabbed from the fridge. My snacks are measured, made into appropriate portions and again are ready to grab and go. I’ve made protein balls and super health sugar free banana protein muffins as well.

My dinners are made. Each day I have something different but healthy and clean. I will be having fish, chicken and pork (yup I eat pork).


I have everything ready to go. No excuses and no standing in the kitchen wondering.

So week 5 I have goals. First, I’m hoping the side effects are all gone and sleep will come back to me. 

I’m going to be adding extra runs. Making up runs and eating right. I’m going to aim for 5 runs this week including my long this weekend which Koren and I will do together. 

Yes this is a set back but it’s not going to change the outcome of this marathon. I will finish. 

Life happens and my body is an original so I have to protect it. I could be angry I’m behind but I’m not. I am going to focus on the positive in making this week count. Making up for lost kms. 

Bring on week 5!