2kms is 2kms

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

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

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

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

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

2km.jpg

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!

nfim-header-marathon-1

Transformation Tuesday #MeVsMe

There is always a time you forget why you even started or what made the change happen, to me I look at these two versions of me and I first off see beauty. Regardless I’ve always been beautiful. 

The picture on the left is a version of me who was just a beach bum. Take me south, let me have drinks and just sit. I was “that can go to the back burner” sort of thinking.

When I hit my 30’s I took myself more serious, I started to realize my doctors just gave me the answers I wanted to hear. I started to push back, demanded more. I joined the gym to be serious. I started to focus on me. 

Many don’t realize this but it will 3 years in a couple of months since I had my last sip of alcohol. I gave it up for me. To be a better version of me. It was not a need for me to be me. 

I took control over foods entering my body. I learned to say no and realize that I don’t need to feel guilty saying it. I cut my food enablers off, told them all no more. I pushed further with my health and learned and got answers as to why on a lot. I tossed away plates and bought smaller plates. Small things lead to big changes. 

I took up running. Yes both versions of me ran but I learned to fall in love with it. I learned to be the voice for the back half. I learned I can do anything if I push myself. 

I made my own transformation when I took back my life and decided to quite hiding behind the “fat Jodie”. I left the safe zone.

My journey has included hills, valleys, mountains and straight stretches, but this is life. My story.  

I’m beautiful. I’m me. I’ve never changed, but my back bone has grown tougher. My confidence is soaring within the clouds. I’m me and this journey as bumping, windy and curvy roads it’s far from over.  

Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle and that includes your determination and goals. 

iRun 

I was never anticipating, thinking in my wildest mind that I would even make this list just because I’m me. 

I am honoured to be in this magazine, to be acknowledged and let the world see that you don’t need to be a perfect to be a runner. You don’t need the perfect body. Your weight doesn’t define you. Nothing defines you, the only limit you have is yourself and your mind. 

I am taking this to heart that being a good person, honest runner and mostly being true to myself in turn gives you recognition. I truly believe that I’ve inspired just one person. One person to try, to not be afraid of running in the day light, not afraid to start their own personal journey. 

I believe that running never discriminates, which I never felt when I started running at well over 300lbs. I never felt people were looking at me, judging me or looking down at me. This community is full of nothing but supporters, cheerleaders and behind the scenes people. 

I would and wish more people understand that there is no reason not to start. I am not a perfect runner, as you will see from previous blog posts that if you run with me be prepared to walk. I’m not a perfect but I’m damn well trying my best. 

By being showcased in this magazine across Canada, I’m hoping it shows that perfect is just a state in your mind, its not a status, not a thing, its just a word, we all are perfect in our own ways. Just showing up to the start is the victory and that makes you a runner. 

Don’t let fear stop you from trying. Don’t let fear being the excuse. 

I am still humbled and still speechless I even made this magazine, but I’m truly thankful to be given this opportunity. 

Please have a read of iRun magazine and check out the other amazing people who are in the 150, along with myself. 

Runiversary  – May 5

View from a recent run

Yesterday it was my running anniversary. My first every registered run was Toronto Goodlife on May 5, 2013. I love how Facebook reminds me of such events. I did my first ever 5k in 51:46 mins. I’ve improved over the last four years but this doesn’t mean that I haven’t had set backs, crawl backs and stumbles, this journey has not been perfect and that is perfectly ok with me. 

I’ve often had people ask me why I started running or what got me involved to become a runner, it was pretty simple after always being the cheerleader for my friends, I couldn’t come up with a justifiable reason on why I couldn’t be a runner. There was no reason a plus size person could not be a runner. 

When I first started out the biggest hurdle I faced was trying to find clothing to fit a plus size person that didn’t make me feel like I was wearing a snow suit, which just made the sweat even worse, plus there was no such thing as “pretty clothing”. My next hurdle was going to running stores to discuss shoes. Not many people understood my concerns with needing shoes that take the weight of my body and keep my body from not hurting. People were looking at me like I was crazy at being over 300lbs and saying I’m a runner. 

Now that I look back at it, I never once looked at a my weight as an excuse not to run, not to try. My weight never defined me. I never said I can’t to any run that I’ve come across. I never once thought to myself I can’t do this as people will stop and stare, or judge me. I was tired of letting people judge me, they didn’t mean a thing to me. 

In the last four years I have grown more confident. I believe in me and love myself more now. I’ve changed as a person and grown more as a person. I’ve grown more confident in the goals that I’ve set, the dreams I’ve drummed up. I don’t back down, I chase the finish line just like everyone else. 

I’ve learn to trust my body, trust the process and realize it never will let me down. What I put in, it gives back. It doesn’t cheat me. I can only cheat myself in not training. 

This journey has brought some pretty amazing people into my life, I’ve met random strangers now turned friends in race corrals while waiting for the horn, I’ve travelled to run in their hometowns and I know I also have a support team ready to help me if I should ever hit a low point, they make sure I keep going. These people are family. 

Although I’ve lost over 110lbs, changed my looks, my heart has not changed. I always will be the leader of the back of the pack, I’ll never podium, but I’ll always continue to be me. You don’t need to be perfect to be a runner. 

So thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with me, 2017 is looking to be another excellent year for me to continue to grow as a runner. Your support always means the world to me and I keep it close to my heart. Knowing I have each of you at times gets me through those tough moments. 

So happy Runiversary to me! Am I allowed to buy myself a race entry as a gift? 

Those “fat pants”…. 

Sometimes when a person starts a journey to change their life, whether that be to find inner peace, happiness, a dream job or weight loss, they don’t often realize how far they’ve come until something happens, they do something minor and the change is there, more or less the victory. 

I’ve always kept the pair of jeans, I was in love with, when I was at my heaviest. I remember we had to drive over to the US to get them as they didn’t have “cool jeans” here in Canada in my size. I lived in these jeans, loved them and just loved how they made me feel, like I fit in, I was just like everyone else with the “cool jeans”.

As I started my weight loss journey many moons ago, I always kept these pants as the “reminder how far you’ve come”. I’d try them on every once and awhile and see the change. I tucked them away and haven’t brought them back out, until this weekend when I discovered them again.

 This is me trying them on yesterday.

I can’t tell you I see a smaller version of myself when I look in the mirror, I can’t tell you I go right to the size M/L on a rack in a store over the 2X (or higher). I still have trouble looking in the mirror and seeing this version of me. Nothing on the inside has changed. I am still me. But the battle is still real of #MeVsMe.

When I started running at over 300lbs, I never thought it could and would end up changing my life. I never thought (please ask one of my former gym teachers, Mr. Larry), I’d learn to love it. Love the life and feeling running and even working out at a gym brings me. Running does not discriminate, what you put in it gives back. I train and follow a plan, I may not post my pictures daily of it, but I do it. I give and it gives back, it tests me daily and in every run I sign up for.

The advice I could give anyone is never doubt yourself. Never quit on you and only ever do it for you. This change is mine and it has been done for me. Not for me to be more accepted by a society that still has labels, because really, I still have the label attached to me as being plus size. Do this for your own happiness, to have these small victories that just make you sit and cry. Remember no scale ever defines your worth, no time in a run defines your ability as a runner.

I am me

I am a runner

 

My Coach… 

We all can say who has inspired us to just start running, or even any sport really. Some of us joined running clubs, others are just self taught. 

Myself, I like to say this talent was self taught. My strides and smiles are really my own doing. 

But the person who has guided me from the start, whose gave me the most honest and raw truth of my running was my friend Blair. To anyone who asks, I always refer to him as my running coach. He’s a runner, an iron man, but he’s not an Olympian.  He’s him. He understands.

From my first ever 5k, he sent me advice. Nothing frilly. Nothing like go rock it. More like don’t compete. Go your own pace and find someone to follow at your pace. Keep them in focus. You’ll end up passing people who go to fast at the start. So go slow and save for the second half.

I’ve always confided in him. Asked advice that is beyond crazy. Such as when do I refuel, when do bathroom breaks work. I’m sure that 97% of the time I annoy him. But he still supports me. 

Since I’ve bounced back from the horrid summer of 2014 and my 2015 injuries he has still offered advice and the latest for my upcoming 15k is here below: 

To me Blair just gets me. Understands my asthma, my slowness as being in the back of the pack. He tells me the advice I need as someone my size. He’s realistic. To me this is golden. To anyone who is plus size you do get discouraged by advice coming to you that is “off the wall”. To me if you’ve never struggled running, ran with someone who struggles you truly don’t have an understanding of how it works for us back of the packers. 

Don’t get me wrong I’ve been given some advice along the way that has been pretty decent but I’ve also been given advice that doesn’t even come close to myself, my fitness level etc. 

So I’m thankful for Blair, his guidance and mostly putting up with my crazy questions. You all know I can ask some doozy of questions. 

I’m still inspired by those who push me daily, check in with me and encourage me. 

So to you reading this, whether you’re self taught or going to be brave and join a running group. Even asking someone to run with you (This week I just volunteered to run with a random stranger to help encourage her). We runners don’t bite. 

Remember everyone started somewhere. Don’t be discouraged by those you feel are better runners. You’re just as good. You left the couch. Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions, whether over social media or just randomly. You won’t learn if you don’t ask. Someone somewhere has experienced what you’re thinking. 

A Small Victory

I had one of those moments people call “none scale victories”. I never thought really truly about those moments, I know that each person experiences a different “ahhh moment”, some are big and some are small. I never paid attention to them before for myself.

Last weekend, I was away camping. While out for a morning walk around the park, we came across the kids play ground, which was pretty impressive. I looked at the swing. I stared it down, and was curious, will I fit on this? I don’t know if I can properly tell you what it felt like getting on the swing, I didn’t move, I just sat there, my only question was, will it hold my weight? With encouragement, I let my legs leave the ground, I swayed just a little bit as I tested myself.

As a plus size person, as much as I love myself, my weight has defined me. I was nervous, I had fear and I was just afraid to start moving. I had to ask Koren, how do I move? The last time I was on a swing was when I was a child, after that, I sidelined myself, even in public school. 

I went on the swing, I pumped my legs and was going higher and higher, it was that exhilarating moment, when the wind was blowing on me, I was doing this. I was able to wash away the fear that I was going to break the chains, crash down to the sand. Mind you my motion sickness kicked in and well I had to stop.   

This picture below fully expresses my experience….

To those who have never had to worry about the extra 20lbs, the love handles, the double chin, or even more so, living with fear, you may not understand this, you may not understand a friend when they casually decline to do something. I’m going to tell you, we all live with fear. I lived with fear with my weight, that I would break a swing, which is held on with metal chains. We grow these small fears, which always sit on our minds, whether we are out on a patio, we think, will this chair hold me? Or at an amusement park, will the seat restraint keep me in? 

My weight has been a chain holding me securely to the earth. It hasn’t allowed me to soar, be free. Each day is a new day with my weight loss, this is not a “diet” or a “fad”, and this is not me just trying to get the summer body (which by now I’m working on 2017 body). This is me choosing to break the chains that hold me down. I don’t want to live with fear. 

So those of you who have never had to understand, I ask that the next time you are out with friends, don’t look down on them, if they decline, look at the chair they will be sitting in or even something smaller. You don’t know the fear that chains down a plus size person, or even any person at that matter. 

To those of you who feel like your journey is going to take too long, trust me, it is well worth it. I’ve been on this journey since 2009, I’ve hit slippery patches, I’ve stumbled, but mostly, I never gave up. If you have any amount to lose, just do it for you. For you to look in the mirror love the new you. But always remember if you stumble, tumble, don’t ever stay down. Get up, dust yourself off, and cowboy up. We always fall, it’s life, but it’s how you get back that defines you. 

So I continue to live it day by day, each day I learn something new. I set goals and crush the hell out of them. I am training for a 15k in September and my first half (which I will finish if I’m crawling up Bay Street in Toronto). I’ve lost over 70lbs so far in 2016 and I’m not done. 

My friends, don’t ever be afraid to dream and set goals for yourself. The chains you have, they are not you. Chains can be broken with the right will & determination.  

Review of Waterfront 10k

The back of the pack review….

Package pickup:

I had no complaints in the location and the size of the expo. My only complaint is that pick up was Wed-Thurs.

The swag:

I just love getting sunscreen in my swag bags. The shirt love the design and colour.

Race day:

Starting corrals were well marked. Music was playing near the start area. I didn’t need to use the porta-potty, so I can’t comment on the line up.

Once I got to my corral and inside (Purple), I felt we had no clue in what was going on as we could not hear the speakers. I found not being able to hear, it became difficult to know what corral had went off and what was going on. So my Garmin setting up was off this time.

Course:

Was well marked. It was nice to run downhill for the first km. I will openly say I hate running up and down ramps to the Highway. Just hate them.

We zig and zagged alone Lakeshore out to a turn around and came back. The part I liked we ran by the finish and at some points racers on the home stretch were cheering us on, including friends who gave high fives.

At the split Tribe Fitness was at this cheering section, they were loud, happy, cutely dressed as well as super supportive. Saw a few JPs Team tutus. 😁 It was nice to see kids and teenagers out cheering. I feel It gave them an appreciation of all level of athletes.

We then at this point continued onward to the turn around point. We did pass a cheering section which was abandoned. We continued down the hill to the actual turn around and again this cheering section was packed up. People sitting on the grass, backs to us as we turned. Indie 88 you completely disappointed me.

The last hill in the sun and June heat just about did me in. The heat by this time was becoming gross. (Again ran past the abandoned cheer station)
I got to run by Tribe Fitness cheering section again, they had their water gun out. Jumping in the road and just being loud as can be.

The home stretch….the Finish line:

The announcer was good. Got some power bar goodies.

The volunteers with Red Door who gave out the medals were full of energy and having fun. (My medal was given to me by a close friend who was working and surprised me at the finish).

Food and after area was decent. I got a banana and that is all that matters. The bread everyone was happy with. It was from Paniera Bread.

Finisher Medal: 1st Edition, funny enough my outfit matched the medal. I find it amazing. Nice and heavy. One of a kind.

Overall I will do this run again. Only to prove to myself I can be better.

Now for the “Complaints”……

If you as a running team/ organization or even a radio station that has signed on to be a cheer section, why on earth were you packed up when the course still had runners?

Do you only cheer the front half of the runners on this run? Only cheer till your friends are passed? What about the rest of us? You had the easy job. Cheering. It was for a couple of hours.

No one will understand how it emotionally feels when you see an abandoned cheering station. It’s a feeling of “wow they’ve given up on me and the rest of us still out here.”

So you cheer stations who quit… You literally should be ashamed of yourselves. You running groups/clubs who packed up, you’re not part of the running family. You gave up on us. You became the selfish kids.

To Indie a business, who packs it in early? You don’t support everyone in a run? All of Toronto?

In the end we deserve the same cheering as the 1st half of this run. We all cross the same finish line.

Lastly, to Tribe Fitness (Heather & gang including JPs Team), thank you for believing in all runners during this run. For standing out in the sun and heat. You cheered loud and proud. Thank you again.

Don’t Fear Daylight

When it comes to running and training, it happens anytime of the day for me. Day or night, it takes place.

So it brings me to this reason for this post, over the years and more recently I’ve heard plus size runners say how they never ran during the day. How they only trained at night away from eyes.

First things first, love your body, mind and heart. You who is reading this is beautiful.

Now what you also need to know about this wonderful running family, we don’t play “sandbox” games. We are genuine, honest, kind, caring folks. We WANT you to succeed.

I’ve never cared about running during the day, if people look, so be it. Are they looking as they drive by? Sitting on their ass from the comforts of their house? I am running. I am making my plus size body healthier. I run for me. Not for what others think. I don’t allow others thoughts enter my mind. I’m stronger than any thoughts they might have.

My experience running during the day:

This past weekend I had a random stranger run past me, turn around and just say “you’re doing great”. I didn’t know this person, yet she provided me with words of encouragement.

During runs: I’ve had people tap me when passing, give me a smile and say “don’t give up”.

These are honest people being humble and kind. I return the same thing during runs. If I’m passing someone who has the look of wanting to give up. I’ll slow to get them back focused. Run with your heart when your mind is done. It’s simple but I’ve returned what I’ve been given to others. Encouragement is free to give.

I don’t feel that people are judging me or looking at me any different when I run. I’m doing something that is making me a better person. I’m not the fastest runner, nor will I ever be an elite. I’d rather be slow and still moving forward.

I want someone to see that they are beautiful and know they are strong enough to toss their fears aside and run in the day light.

If you have a few extra pounds, that doesn’t define you. You are putting yourself under a label. The wrong label. You need to say “yes I’m a runner”. So as a runner you can run anytime of the day. You can run beside anyone at the gym. You’re training. Training for life. Don’t let useless people take up residence in your mind. Let the fear go. No matter of anything we all can run in the day light. Be proud of yourself.

Now to you faster than turtle runners, I challenge you on your next organized run, when you pass someone who appears to be struggling, encourage them. It’s free and harmless a few quick words, thumbs up and a smile. You’re not going to make the Olympic team, you’re not going to win a giant prize. So give back to your running family.

Make me proud to have you a part of my Ohana.