Week 4 – Pt 1 of Marathon Training 

Well so far this week is being summed up as life truly does happen and we can’t control everything. 

For those of you who don’t know (or haven’t followed the journey from the start), besides having severe asthma I have idiopathic Anaphylaxis. Which means I’m in anaphylactic shock daily. Somedays my meds just don’t work and this was the case on Monday. I went into full blown anaphylaxis (closed airway, tight chest, hives, swollen etc), so I got a fancy ride in an ambulance with lights and all to the hospital. 


After treatment and I was given the ok to leave the hospital, I did manage to ask the doctor when can I continue my marathon training plan for the week, I’m pretty sure his eye roll said it all. If you don’t ask you don’t know was my motto, but he just didn’t know me. This was not my first rodeo with this. I don’t sit back. 

I came home on a heavy duty treatment plan which I get every possible side effect; insomnia (yes I haven’t slept in days), sweats, burning skin, swollen skin and joints that feel broken and so on. 

So I’ve sat today looking at my marathon training plan, seeing what I’ve missed this week and mostly trying not to be sad. 

I was on such a roll and beyond proud of myself for the full commitment and then my body decided to fight me. This body likes to think it can beat me. But little does it know I’m stronger then this challenge. I’m stronger mentally. 

So I’m listening to my body and with it being Thursday I’ve used most of my energy to go up and down stairs and walk around. I know tomorrow is a new day and one day closer to being finished the treatment plan and adjusting back to being in the new routine. 

Nothing in life is craved in stone; we are like rivers, streams, constantly are flowing, changing directions and adjusting to hurdles in the way. That’s what this week is about accepting and adjusting. 

Until then I’m going to stare at my runners, my clothes, hydration pack, dream and set new goals. 

I still have three days left in week 4 of the marathon training plan. I’m pretty sure I’ll be on the pavement before the end of it. 

My body is not going to fully win this round, when I have determination in my blood.

Stay tuned for part 2 of week 4!
 

W3 – Marathon Training

I started this week out more concerned over the upcoming doctors appointments. My main focus going into the week above the medical aside was my food, changing the fuelling up and trying to figure out the proper balance for myself.  

Tuesday I was at the hospital meeting a new specialist who will be working with my asthma doctor. I completed a series of tests and came away with another medication to use before I do any exercise. Hopefully this helps with keeping airways open. Needless to say it wasn’t a fun day.

Wednesday I had another appointment to get some answers from the popping sound and pain in my chest and my legs. So the end verdict on my ribs is the intercostal muscles are moving, inflamed and angry, so they are moving my ribs (I have previous broken ribs & chest bone), which is causing me the pain. So I have a treatment and a game plan. Mostly remember to listen to my body and the pain. Now on to my legs and hip, I’ll be needing surgery and have been referred on to a specialist. Nothing crazy but serious enough. I have a plan; doctors recommendation and always remember to listen to my body. 

So with all this news I had to re adjust to a new normal

My runs this week I added kms to the runs just to try and make up missed kms. The humidity spiked this week so it was difficult to run outside. On Thursdays run I went out and did the loop, it wasn’t my fastest time but I look at it the 8km were done and completed. 

The long run was moved again this week to Saturday. Scheduled was 14.5km. We decided to do the waterfront trail, just to make it fun, with a bit of water and trees for coverage. 


Once we got going we realized we missed judged the starting point to get all the kms in, so yes at one point I was that fool making up kms in a parking lot. 

This run was a mix of good hills and flat all mixed in with repeats. It was good a workout.


Koren and I had fun again on this long run, last week we named the run “picking daisy” and this week it was all about the dance party. Koren forgot her headset so we ran with the music playing. So it was a dance party. 

​You have to be able to run and train all while keeping it happy. Who cares what others think. Have fun and be you. 


This run we kept a good pace for the first 8kms and from there it went downhill quickly. We both became hungry. I felt pain. I forgot my asthma medicine (don’t ask). I was hurting. But! I was ok with the slower finish because we still finished! 

Learning to listen to your body and realize you are not failing the plan or yourself is an adjustment. Knowing that I’m being smart and sensible because this goal is the goal of 2017, that makes me ok with everything. It makes me realize I’m a strong person. 

So again this week it’s almost like a reset button on last weeks goal. I’m going to figure out my nutrition, learning the new normal, listening to both doctors and following plans. 

So bring on week 4 with some changes and mostly me working on the other side of running. 

Marathon Training -W2

Well I was excited to start week 2 because I was happy I got through and committed myself to week 1. Dedication is hard when the goal is months away. 

After my long run on week 1, I experienced pains in my chest that were not “heart attack pains”. It felt like ribs had moved or something. I sought out some advice on if I should run, see a doctor or rest. I have broken a few ribs including my chest bone in the past. So with losing weight and losing the added protection around my intercostal muscles I need to see a doctor to be cleared (make sure that my ribs are moving, popping out when I try to sleep). 

So this week I knew my body was going to be the guide. When the pain hits running I stop. Again I’m not going to be a hero. This is a dream that is going to happen. 

On Tuesday I was scheduled to run 7k. I started out on the treadmill and just made it to 5k. I pushed myself and was happy. 

I was scheduled for my cross training / intervals on Wed and I knew there was no way I could do any of that without the pain, which comes and goes depending on how I bend, move. So I crossed it off the plan and added the words “make up” beside it.

Thursday I was scheduled again for 7km. The humidity spiked and I was not going outside. So I was in the treadmill, with AC and fans pointing at me. Again I only made it to 5k. I did learn I cannot have a conversation with a 5yr old while running on a treadmill. Those why questions become too much! 

So at this point I have 4kms I want to make up because I feel it will continue to make me stronger. 

We moved our long run to Saturday because Koren came for a visit. So we spent our Canada Day morning running the Trans Canada Trail just outside of Peterborough. We decided to run this trail as there are no lights or cars to worry about, just snakes! Which we saw zero this time!!!!

We started out strong, even with the intense heat burst we went through. It was cloudy and there was a small breeze which helped. 


The plan was for a 10.5k run. I said to Koren let’s just see what we can do. We kept it up strong until about the 7k mark just when my chest was done. I had to slow up and eventually ended up walking back. 


To me I still am considering this a successful training run because: 1. I listened to my body. 2. We completed 10.5k 3. I didn’t care about the time. 

I knew going into this training program and making this commitment to myself that not every run is going to be pretty, full of rainbows, sunshine, there are going to be ugly ones that just make you wish you were finished, or full of mental battles. 

So my focus for week 3 is nutrition. Most of you are all unaware I have food restrictions and can not consume a lot of “normal” foods. No this is not because of “diet” but because it’s health related. 

I need to learn this week protein before and after a run. How to fuel my body in advance better and afterwards. What carbs might actually work for me that my body will accept. 

My running times have me out running longer than most, so I need to factor in my runs are longer and I need more fuel so my legs don’t feel like cement filled cinder blocks holding me back. 

So bring on week 3: 

Doctor’s appointment to get medically cleared and to make sure nothing is wrong; 

3 runs; and hopefully intervals and cross training. 

And learning nutrition for me. 

Marathon Training 

Well I knew this was going to roll around sooner than later. I had a beyond lengthy discussion with my run coach on Tuesday. He and I discussed so many different logistics, including my health to just about what I’ll eat daily or mostly on days of long training runs. 

Most important for summer training; listen to my body. Listen to my asthma. Don’t be a hero.  

I have the schedule. I have the days written in my agenda, it’s real now. I’m going to do this. 


Today is day 1 of week 1. 

I’ll be posting more as weeks go on, more so to keep myself accountable. 

I thought a lot today while being crazy busy about the start of this journey. I realized my first 5k of this plan is (was) done on the longest day of the year, but mostly today is a new season. It seems fitting. 

Last year I set a goal to do a half marathon. I accomplished that in October. Since the start of 2017 I’ve ran 4 half marathons and 2 10ks. I could of worked on my half marathon time and kept getting better times but I figured I needed a tougher goal. I needed to prove to myself this back of the pack runner can do a full. I can do the challenge. I can win and beat my body and mind. I’ll be a marathoner. 

So stay tuned for this journey it’s going to be epic, an adventure and mostly me probably grumbling but the finish will be worth it.

This is my journey. It’s #MeVsMe

Ottawa Marathon Weekend

Ottawa Marathon Weekend, also known as Ottawa Race weekend. 

What everyone first needs to understand about this weekend is; It’s the City of Ottawa welcoming you in, as if you are family. Restaurants, stores and attractions all were offering deals and specials, to make this weekend memorable. Everyone was talking to everyone, and the most often heard question was “are you here running”, which always opened the door to more conervsations. 

Everyone had a fan, a cheerleader and a random stranger congratulating you. 

Now on to the other good stuff…. 

Team Awesome! When I was selected to be a part of this family of strangers (minus a couple of peple I knew from my Toronto running family) I was excited and nervous. I was thankful that Ottawa Marathon took the risk in selecting me as I am a back of the half runner to be part of this unit. 
I loved engaging on all forms of Social Media with Team Awesome as well as with other runners who ran this weekend, I had many people reach out to me and seek advice and just chat about training and all things the love of running with the challenges. 
When I went to Ottawa and met these amazing people I felt like I had known them for years, this weekend just built the foundation for friendships.
So thank you for allowing me the honour of being a part of this amazing run and team awesome. 

Expo…

This expo is in such an awesome building which you basically went from the bottom to the top to get your bib, shirt and visit the vendors and sponsors of the run. It was great seeing old faces, getting hugs and volunteering at the iRun booth as well as seeing my nuun family. I love and always will love engaging with other runners and their family. I love hearing the whys, the nerves and the emotions. We all have been there and each run is different to each of us. 

Now…. Preparing for this half 


I went into this half marathon feeling ready. I was coming off an amazing 10k a couple of weeks before and I just felt ready. I went and saw my lung specialist and received the news that my lungs hadn’t improved but to continue doing what I needed to do, be careful and understand my body. I always listen to my body and trust in myself. There just are times that with the weather etc the conditions just suck, but at no time does it every cross my mind to stop. 

The day of the run, half marathoners start at 9am and depending on corral spot of the actual start, I was in Red… no this did not mean I was in the first corral off, I was in the last corral which was where I belong.

Koren chose to run with me because she wanted to see if I could push for a new time. Plus her training with everything that has happened in the last month was not where she wanted it to be. But you know…. life happens and this is allowed. 

On my way back to the Red (best corral), I ran into Robin who is a member of team awesome, he was great with me, he gave me advice on the course, told me there was no hills (not sure if we both have the same idea of no hills), gave a good description, but mostly he relaxed me. Made me feel at ease and ready. So Robin if you read this, thank you. 

While in our corral I started talking to a girl who had never run a half before. I basically told her that with the heat we would be going slow and steady but pushing ourselves when we could, I said she could woggle along with us and we would make sure she finished. I told her I wasn’t going to go for time but for the victory of just crossing the finish line. I was happy to forego anytime to help a first timer cross the finish. I was able to offer her advice as to water stations, electrolytes and when to push and not, how to save energy for the end of the run so you could push it home. I was happy to help her and mostly see her finish her first half marathon. I once was her, so I fully got it. Everyone needs to do a run where you take someone under your wing, guide them and be their wings when they need it. This wasn’t my first time nor will it be my last time in helping a random stranger out. 

I did have 2 asthma attacks on course, the first one hit around km 18, where one of the xtra mile crew, helped me, walked with me as I got my wings back. The next time we had an xtra mile person help us was getting us to the finish line I think by this time with the sun beating down on us for 3 hours, little wind we were just running on fumes, I crossed the finish line and to be honest I don’t remember much after that, but the medics helped me and I got a free wheel chair ride until my puffer kicked in. I think at this point I felt bad for the girl we ran with, that she was running with a half broken runner, but she was happy. 

We ran the streets of Ottawa, saw some pretty crazy and funny signs, had residents hose us down, stand out and offer us refills for hydration packs and bottles. I kept my sponge and kept getting it wet at each water station to help keep me cool. The misters were great. The cops, fire men and volunteers along the way were just awesome. It was amazing to see a city out supporting all of us. 


The only two negatives I had to this whole run was the weather and water stations out of nuun. The hot sun beating down on you, and this course offers little shade. If I could of went off with the marathoner’s at 7:30am, I’d loved it. It would of been cooler, and the sun wouldn’t of been so hot. I’m in the back half of a run, we are out there longer then most and we feel the heat much longer. I was thankful I had my hydration pack on me, but others didn’t and I could see them suffering. It took us until the 3rd water station to have nuun and after that it was just hit and miss, if any had it. Even when we crossed the finish there was no nuun being offered only water. This is a very important part of recovery after a run.  

I’ll be back Ottawa. I have a course time to beat. I have more friends to meet and I loved the city vibe for the weekend. It was a truly special weekend. 

Thank you Ottawa and Team Awesome for the memories. I collected a lot! 💜

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?