Update (last quarter)

I’ve been quiet a lot lately in the last few months on anything running, so here is an update on the last few months…

I haven’t been hiding, just re-adjusting to a new normal. img_2368

As you all know I went to Paris France and was beyond lucky enough to run Disneyland Paris race weekend.  I highly recommend if you can, do the castle to chateau challenge. The course in Paris is beautiful, the 5k was at night. You run a whole lot through the 2 parks and back behind the scenes.

I did come home with a small break in my leg, which took roughly 4 weeks to heal, with a lot of discomfort from where the break was located in my leg, but as always I healed.

Once I was home, I had my normal specialist appointments to deal with my anaphylaxis. It was during the first week of October, that it was decided that I was at the point I needed the special, high caliber medicine cocktail (think high level like a chemo) to see if they could “cure” me. The idea has been tossed around for the last 3 years about the treatment plan, but it doesn’t come free. There are side effects and there is also a chance it won’t work. Well it was decided and paperwork put forward. My work health plan covered roughly $22k of the costs and I was left with a large amount left to pay, with some prayers, quick thinking it all has been covered.

Things move fast (faster than I was ready), so I went to the hospital on October 18, for my first treatment. I read the 5 pages of side effects and what to expect when the treatment happens and just after. 2nd Treatment was in November. A01C021E-25A9-4076-A90D-FE5D57A09C20

My treatments are every 4 weeks and this coming Friday will be my 3rd round. I’ve had my hair fall out, break off, I’ve experienced the insomnia and I have also experienced the exhaustion. I think the hardest one to handle is the nausea. Not wanting to eat, or even move fast.

But as always, I have faced this head on, without much complaining (well maybe a wee bit), I have followed all of the instructions from the doctors, the guidelines and just listened to my body. Part of this drug is taking out my immune system and killing off certain cells to see if in 6 months they will grow back “correct”. So I’ve avoided sick people, large crowds and wash my hands probably way more than I should and wear a mask if I need to.

I was not able to run (well I needed to wait until my leg was healed) and then with the treatment they didn’t allow me to. BUT this week I got cleared. I can go back to running, I can’t do any crazy long runs, but I can do 5ks and work my way back up to 5ks.

The last 3 months have been hard on my body and mind. My mental health has suffered, it is true how much running does help just clear the mind and give you purpose. I haven’t been able to plan any runs in the last fall and winter. I already have my 2020 year in the works, because there was no way my body was going to win on this.

The hardest part is to remember that all of this is going to be worth it in the end. That I can go back to eating foods I love and miss, never having to scare family and friends when I can no longer breathe.

So there are my last few months in a small nut shell. I am fighting my body and I will win. My last treatment is in March, I shall celebrate when this is done and it is successful.

I can’t thank Koren enough for dealing with all of this, the side effects and everything in between. To my family and friends, thanks for the support, the check ins and mostly just being around.

To the running community, just thank you for continuing to prove why I love this family.

To both Brooks and Nuun, I can’t thank you enough for sticking with me this year, supporting me and providing encouragement and support, these families are just special and continue to make me feel like the runner I am.

#MeVsMe

 

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.

challenge-3

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

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.

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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

3 Year Anniversary – Sorta


Today I have an anniversary of sorts; it was 3 years ago today I was admitted to the hospital for being in anaphylactic shock. 

I waited over 36 hours before seeking medical help because I didn’t think anything was wrong or basically I didn’t know what was wrong and just assumed it was nothing. 

I’ve been on a journey these past 3 years with many more anaphylaxis attacks; ambulance rides and stays in the hospital and numerous treatment tries. As well as being tested for everything imaginable including working with doctors in the US. (OHIP cut backs)


Most of you don’t realize that I live daily in a state of anaphylaxis. Somedays my meds work; other days I have to decide if I’m “gone too far” and need 911. There are days I struggle. There are days I’m fed up and over all “this shit” as I always say. There are moments when I get a wee bit of fear in me that I’ve waited too long for my epi and my airway is closing fast. 

I’m thankful for the team of specialists who will not give up on me and this invisible illness. Who work with me to continue to live a “normal” life and let me run and follow my dreams. 

Today I celebrate being alive. 

#ThisIsMe #IdiopathicAnaphylaxis #FaceItDaily #DontWearMyShoes #ThankfulDaily #LiveLife #MeVsMe #IDontGiveUp

Week 1 – Done (marathon training)

So… week 1 is done, checked marked off. 

I was scheduled to run an easy 5k on Wednesday which I had a first. I ran my first ever 5k without stopping. This is huge to me and such a victory all on its own. It was just me and a back country road. Small steps lead to big steps. #MeVsMe


My next scheduled run was for Friday, which I’ll admit life happened and I didn’t get it in. I did however walk well over 5k around Toronto (avoided transit). I knew it was an error on my part for not getting out when I got home, but I know sometimes life creeps up on us. Plans change. 

Today (Sunday) was the scheduled “long run”. Koren visited for some Summer weekend fun (bonfire, sunsets and smores), so this AM (Sunday) we got up to go out for our 7.5k run. 

The sun was out, we were out with nature and off running. It was an easy path with some little hills. 


I had a few things I normally do that I didn’t today (Sunday); I didn’t run with my hydration pack. I ran with everything in a belt around my waist (which doesn’t fit everything) and water bottle in hand. I was completely fine for the 5k with this set up but not for this distance. I think I need my pack for longer runs. It’s way more comfortable and offers me easier access for my puffer. 

Today (Sunday) I also had another first…. a side stitch that all these people talk about. This was an experience. I said to Koren “is this a heart attack?”. I could barely breathe and I was bent over in pain. It was not fun.

So, I didn’t tell Koren but our 7.5k was actually 8k from where we parked the car to entrance to road we ran on. So it sort of helped a wee bit with missing the Friday run. 


My legs felt good, I was not pooped afterwards. I truly believe my body is adjusting to this running and this frequently, with such longer distances. 

The one thing that as my kms increase u have to accept I don’t get pizza. The rule always was after any “run” I’d get pizza or a slice but not anymore. Now my reward is food to refuel my body properly (but I still think pizza is proper). 

Marathon training is just not running but also food and mental.  

So let’s see how week 2 pans out. Stay tuned. 

#MyJourney #BackOfThePack

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

Lululemon Waterfront 10k

I am going to start this off with an open letter to Lululemon (Toronto):

Hi Lululemon,

You fine folks surely knew how to throw one hell of a party, the cheer stations were unreal, loud and proud.

Well now on to the race swag, well basically the top I got. I’m going to be real here, I am not a size 12. Check out my Instagram and you’ll see; I’m plus size and I’m a runner, yup I’m a runner (insert a gasp). 

So you see the size 12 shirt just doesn’t work for me, I thought about maybe if I put on my saugage suit (that’s what I call my spanx), it might work, or look maybe some what acceptable to leave my house in, but lets be real also, I need to breathe. So maybe instead of a shirt (which was 68$), you could offer an exchange, or a second option, like socks. You see I wear your socks to run in, train in etc. They fit me perfect, and offer the right amount of comfort. So I’m ok with only getting an 18$ pair of socks, because I’ll use them, I’ll wear them with pride, I’ll incorporate them into my outfits so they match. I’d love the idea of an option for socks, because not every runner has a lululemon body.  I totally get and respect your sizes are your sizes but maybe next year you’ll think of all shapes, sizes and remember its more than just about the miles.

Every single one of us who ran on Saturday, ran the streets of Toronto with pride and happiness. But some of us just can’t be fully part of the “cool kids” cause our shirts just don’t fit. So think about it for next year…. socks. (Cause I’d take a pair of socks now). My shirt is just going to the back of the closet.

But thank you again for an amazing experience but really think about the socks.

Yours in running

Jodie.

Now on to the guts….

Last year this was my come back run from having major life surgery. I had never ran a 10k before, and this was all new to me. I was nervous, I had my new found running buddy Alex (who I met day of run), running with me, keeping me going and not letting me stop. When I was coming to the finish my whole running family brought me home. I felt and still cry when I tell people this story, I felt like I was coming home and all I still feel is the love from that day.

This year it was #MeVsMe my goal was to finish and if possible set a new course record. This run had a first for me; I was not that last corral before the walkers, I was a corral up. I was the leader of the back of the pack. I was going to make sure everyone got to the finish.

I knew from the start I went out to fast, I felt like I made a rookie move and the whole time running down University I kept saying I need to slow down. When Blair sees these splits hes going to be upset. Once I got into the grove of things which took about a km I readjusted my goal, to just maintain a pace, run more and walk less. Push my body, but listen to my body. My goal was only to walk the “ramps” and pay attention to my asthma as it was HOT and sunny again, with no breeze.

Once I got to the area where I was meeting runners coming back into the finish, I started seeing my running family, this is where these people became my wings. I saw them, heard the cheers, the claps and the yelling to dig deep. So I dug deep.

I crossed the finish with a new course personal record and took 9mins off last years time. I pushed myself and I am proud of myself. I actually surprised myself.

I ran 10k to get my medal from Allison, who volunteered. I had my family giving me this medal in which I loved the journey to get it. So it was completely special to me. 


Lulu paid for all participants to get their race pictures for free. I don’t honestly remember seeing any photographers on course but this picture is me. This is my runners body.

Now on to a more ethical note about this run, they had towels that they were handing out at the finish (you know those ones you get from buffet restaurants or riding the VIA first class), but by the time I got to the finish there was none left, to me if you do the math they should of had one for each participant…. I actually stopped a group of runners who each had approximately 10 or so in their check bag, and basically told them to give me one, as there is none left and runners still out on the course. I said really one per person is the rule, common sense and a respect thing. But I smiled when I said all this.
People often forget there is a back half of a run, who have paid the same fee as you, ran the same distance as you, so next time you grab 2-3 banana’s or multiple bagels, ask yourself this….

Are there still runners out there?

Do they deserve to have food/water/treats when they finish?

Remember what took you 40 or so minutes to run a 10k, there is still a runner out there who will cross at 1:31 (ie me), who deserves the same as what you get, because really I might want a banana (the bananas on Saturday looked like they had been squished, opened and there was only about 20 left). So think before you grab! 

I will be back next year, regardless that again I said again its too hot, but this run is becoming tradition to be my “spring finale” until the fall season kicks in. My asthma wins in July and August and this year I am listening to the team of specialists. I only have one body.

So thank you CRS for the excitement of the run, happy crowds and awesome medal.

I’ll see you next year.  


The run family (missing a few!)