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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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.

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

Run Like A Diva 2018; 2nd Chance

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

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

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

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

SO in 2018, they’ve listened;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.runlikeadiva.com

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 10 – That 21km Training Run 

Well this was the week I tried to talk myself out of the long run. I didn’t get it fully done on Sunday with only doing 10k.

I said to myself on Sunday I’ll do it Monday. Monday came and it became Tuesday. Finally the weather God’s offered me the perfect weather on Wednesday. 

So I was up Wednesday with it still being dark, stars in the sky before the sunrise with my route mapped out. I was off running chasing the sunrise.This run, I still was having trouble wrapping my head around the end; it was training. There would be no medal, no sweaty hugs or other runners along the way or people cheering. I had to keep saying “training”. 

I mentally was against a wall. 

During the run I said to myself just screw it for time. I mentally was just going to win over my body by completing the 21k training run. I wasn’t out there doing a half marathon.

 

I wanted to give up at the 10km mark. I felt like I was done. I kept going and when I hit the 15k I knew I had this. By now the sun was up, it was getting warm and my asthma had me coughing like a smoker. I slowed down a bit, but I wasn’t giving up.

I finished. I did it. 21k by myself, for a training run. I was successful. To mentally say I did 21k as a training run over saying I did a half marathon. This is a whole new game in my running career.

So I passed the wall. I went thru it, hit it dead on and got over it.

I decided to rest my legs (After the 21k I was at the farm show walking another 5k) as I had to help koren out Friday and Saturday while she recovered we decided to do a bestie date day and head to the beach. It was needed. Nothing like a day at beach to mentally recover and do some soul searching.

Thank you to everyone who gave words of encouragement and believed in me during this week. You gave me the push to help me fly. So thank you.

This week I have a 10.5k and a super long run. Koren and I will be together on this. Again it’s about the distance not the time.

Nutrition is also key again this week. It’s a balancing game.

So until next week. 

Run Like A Diva – Half Marathon 

This was the first time this running series was brought to Canada. It was on the bucket list for sure to do! I was beyond fortunate to be selected as an ambassador. I was able to be me, speak to women throughout my travels (and runs) to bring the idea forward of a diva filled women’s run.

The week before this run, my body fought me and won. I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance and had a nice stay. All week leading up to this run, I was doubting my ability of evening being able to tie my runners without the side effects of the medication / treatment plan (to keep me going). All week I suffered. I told myself that just showing up was the victory, but even if I started and got a “DNF”, this did not change my ability as runner, it didn’t change me as a person. It was just me being smart and my body was talking to me. So yesterday I went in with the intention of just supporting women, doing a half marathon in the mind frame of I was going out there to pick daisies and make art from cloud shapes. There was no time in my mind.

Yesterday, well summer surely hit yesterday in Toronto. Monday we were freezing and yesterday we had a medical examiner heat advisory in effect. I was not prepared. My lungs were not prepared. But again, I was just going out to pick daises and try. I was just going to show up.

A couple of hiccups with the run was Toronto Island is flooded. So the course had to be changed last minute, this is nothing the organizers had control of, so we ended up on a pretty blah course, with very very very little shade. This didn’t deter women from supporting each other as they passed each other, had random conversations and just kept checking on each other. This is what women are about. We support each other.

Arriving for the run yesterday, I dressed cool as possible with the weather being so HOT. Koren and I started in wave 3. We were shot off around 8:48am. The sun was up but we had this breeze that was amazing. We started out slow and steady. My goal; just try to maintain a pace, not fall back and not give my body a chance to say… “STOP”. The side effects of the meds were still very present but I just said I’m tougher than this body. I will win. I battle daily with this basically invisible illness, I fight myself daily to stay out of the hospital, so I had to be the tough one yesterday and beat my body. It was a mental fight.

The course was an out and back, so we were constantly surrounded by Diva’s running. It was nice to see people, hear encouragement and just have so much positive vibes, even in the extreme heat.

When we hit the last 4 kms it was high sun and it was bad. I stopped to offer my nuun (hydration pack) to women who were suffering from the heat, we checked on women as we passed them. I knew I was suffering from the heat as I had goosebumps, and I was cold. I just said to Koren, please don’t let me go down. Lets get this done.

I crossed. I finished. Yesterday I won. Barely, but I did it. I earned the bling. I am a Diva.


I was happy to see many of my running family out yesterday, to the Holman family and to Mike and his wife Rose, I am thankful for these people, the cheerleaders and the supporters. You at times keep the wind blowing in my sails.

I can’t thank Koren enough for just putting up with my “ugly” and my emotions yesterday, there was times I thought of myself as crazy etc, but I actually felt good keeping a good pace, to what I thought I was going to be. I felt that I maintained a steady run. I didn’t push myself. I didn’t make my lungs scream at me. The only thing that hurt was my feet (I still have the blister from running my last half in Ottawa).

Anyone who has a complaint about yesterday’s run, remember hiccups were bound to happen as this was the first time it was here in Canada, as well as having 2 weeks to come up with a big plan B. Mother nature didn’t help. I know that next year they will make it great, hiccups will be ironed and and who knows it could be snowing come June, we can’t predict the weather, but just roll with it. Plus you did see the firefighters, although I wish they had the hose going and spraying us down at the end cause it was hot 😉

I was happy to be a part of this and I want to thank the Run Like a Diva Series (Canada) for letting me be a part of this. I truly felt empowered yesterday, and it was an amazing day full of positive. I’ll be back, because I need to keep my Diva status.

Run Like A Diva…. 

Well I did announce a small glimpse that I’ve been selected as an ambassador for this amazing run series which is coming to Toronto on June 11, 2017 a couple of weeks ago..


Well here it is: 
Run Like a Diva… just what it sounds like. You’re getting the chance to run with 1000’s of other women (and the odd male). Not to compete for the best time, who had the better training plan and who crushed a PB, no this is about women empowering other women. Women running or woggling. Women supporting each other, whether you are a front leader of the pack or the tail end. We all will cross the same finish line, receive the same fancy medal for an accomplishment and be a Diva. 

This run is going to be filled with fun, laughter, some glammour running, with boas, tiaras, tutus, bubbly and they tell me there will be some pretty handsome looking men along the way and at the finish. It’s motivation ladies! 

So don’t get discourage at the words half marathon. There is a 5k route. You will receive the same Diva treatment. But ladies think, you are sitting there reading this, you’ve never been brave enough to try a half, this is the event. It’s women. You will be supported.  

Now if you’ve never done a 5k, here is your chance to get your gal-pals out on a June day. 

Time is on your side for training to do either distance. It’s not that scary. Plus Toronto Island gives such a gorgeous back ground full of views of the city you can’t help but have fun. 

Which ever distance you brave know this as a woman myself, I cheer for everyone. I am a plus size runner who just completed her first half. I did it. I didn’t let excuses get in my way. The half on this course is going to be way easier. No hills, street car tracks & no dark under passes with pot holes! If you have a fear, reach out to me. I’ll help show you it’s ok to have the fear. But use it as fuel. Fuel to drive your legs. Even if you’re going to do your first 5k. You will finish. Crossing that finish line will be a victory in which no one can take from you. You earned it. It was not given. 

Mostly for any of you who sign up and commit I want you to have fun. I want you to feel stronger both mentally and physically for doing this. I want this to be a celebration of us women. Celebrating the accomplishments of every single one of us. We all will earn the crown on June, because we all know we are Divas. 

Sign up here: http://www.runlikeadiva.com/Events/TorontoIsland.htm
And look… a discount code: 
 **I don’t look this good running. But I’ll be mixing it up & making a more legit Diva Jodie one! 

discount code: DIVAJODIE