My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

RBC Race for the Kids 2017

On Saturday, September 16, 2017, I participated in the RBC Race for the Kids in Toronto.

I heard about this race a few months ago when some friends on mine on Facebook mentioned it.  I’m always looking for new races to do and this one looked interesting.  As I was checking out the website, I saw a few things that peaked my interested.

First, there is no entry fee. (Gotta like that!)

Second, in lieu of an entry fee, you need to raise a minimum amount of money for charity. In this case, the monies raised go to support youth mental health at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. (A very worthy cause)

Third, it has a very generous time limit for the 5k – 1 hour 30 minutes. Because I’m slower than most other runners, this greatly appealled to me.

I’ve been wanting to do a race in Toronto for a while now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity, so I signed up!

This race has 3 distance options — 15k, 7k, and 5k. I chose the 5k.

Because this would be the farthest I’d travelled for a race (a couple of hours), I knew I’d have to work out some logistical things, like how to get there and where to stay. No big deal really. Or at least I hoped it wouldn’t be a big deal.  The race actually partners with a nearby hotel for participants to get a special rate, which I thought was pretty awesome.  Because the race is early morning and they close the streets for the race, I knew I’d need to come in the night before.

When I do local races, I generally sign up the day of, or at least close to race day. It was a new experience to sign up in advance. With a big race, though, you have to. The race directors generally cap the number of participants. At one point, I saw that they said the race was sold out. I asked someone if they knew how many people were registered and I was told 9000! OMG! I’m not gonna lie, that freaked me out. If you add up all the participants in all the races I’ve done, it wouldn’t equal that many! I tried hard not to think about it, but it was hard not to.

As race day approached, I kept my eye on the weather, as it can change quickly. I decided on my race outfit, but had a backup plan just in case. I’m glad I did because when I checked the day before, they were called for hot and humid weather, even in the morning.

I had convinced a friend to do the race with me, but she had to cancel a few days before. This required me to change some plans at the last minute, but I was able to get it fixed. Dan and I drove to Toronto the night before, and stayed at the partner hotel near the race. I couldn’t get to the city before then, so I had to pick up my race kit the morning of the race. I was glad I was staying close by so I could get it quickly.

Having never done a race like this before, I really didn’t know what to expect, other than a lot of people. I was up early to make sure I wouldn’t have a hard time getting my race kit and so I could do my normal pre-race rituals. Getting the race kit was easy peasy. One less thing I had to worry about. One of the first things I noticed was the incredible number of volunteers there were. And they were easy to spot!

Once I was ready, I headed down to where the other participants were gathering. I was there early, so I had plenty of time to mill about, talk to other participants, and generally just get used to the area. I had my normal pre-race jitters, plus a bit extra because it was a new race for me.

The 15k went out first, and I just missed seeing them go. About 30 minutes later, it was time for the 7k to go. And about 45 minutes after that, the 5k was set to go.

Because of the number of participants, you get assigned a corral based on your approximate finish time. And because I knew it would take it awhile, I was in the last corral of the 5k. I got there a bit early, which was good. Pretty soon, it was filling up. I was in awe at the number of people! I chatted with a few people, including a man named Frank, who was participating with his wife and kids. He was nice guy. We chatted for a few minutes before we got separated. He said he’d see me at the finish.

It seemed to take forever to get started. One by one, the corrals were moved through the start line. I even took a little video as I crossed the start line.  It probably took a good 15-20 minutes for all the 5k runners and walkers to cross the start line.

I was so glad I had changed my race outfit because I could definitely feel the humidity right from the start. I was a little worried how it might affect my race, but tried not to think about it too much. I had water with me, and I knew there would be water stations on the course. I also had my asthma puffer with me just in case I needed it.

I knew not to go out too fast, so I started out powerwalking. I figured once I got past the first kilometre and/or some of the crowd thinned out, I might be able to add some running.  As the race progressed, I knew the humidity was going to be a big factor. I just concentrated on moving forward, not worrying about whether I’d do any running. My #1 goal is always to cross the finish line, no matter how long it takes to get there.

I did my best to keep up with the other runners and walkers around me. At one point, we were going up a hill. And it wasn’t a small hill either. About halfway up, I could feel myself really breathing hard, so I decided to use my puffer. It actually really helped. I only paused twice – once to take a picture at the turn around point, and once when the cops allowed some traffic to cross in front of us. The cops did a great job of keeping the runners and walkers safe. I made a point of thanking a few of them as I passed by.

After the turnaround, we started going back down the hill. I’m not a big fan of running up hills, but I love running down them! At that point there was not a lot of others around, so I managed to doing a little running. The humidity was still a big factor, so I took it slow, but it was fun running down that big hill!

Another nice thing about coming down that hill was I could see the finish line from pretty far out. Sometimes when I’m near the end of a run or a race, knowing how close I am to the finish really helps.

As I approached the finish, I could hear the music playing and people names being called. I thought that was pretty cool. As I approached the final timing mat, I pulled out my phone so I could take a little video as I finished. And as I crossed that final mat, they announced my name and people were cheering and it was the greatest thing. I posed for the photographer and remembered to smile. I walked over and got my finishers medal. And I could feel the emotions welling up. I felt incredible!

I made my way to the after-party to get something to eat and hopefully find some people I know. Not long after I entered the area, I came across Frank again. He hugged me and congratulated me on finishing. And he asked to take a picture with me. It was nice running into him again. To be honest, with so many people, I didn’t think I’d see him again. It was nice that I did.

I found some food, and found some friends, and just generally soaked up the amazing atmosphere around me. As tired as I was, as sweaty as I was, as sore as my feet were, I felt awesome. It was a great race and I enjoyed every single minute of it. It was exactly the race experience I was hoping to have. And I can’t wait to do it again next year!

RBC Race for the Kids after finish

 

 

 

Advertisements
2 Comments »

Feeling frustrated and getting beyond it

So I had an interesting day at the gym yesterday.

It started out really good. I ran into my friend Meggan as we were both going in. Always nice to see friends at the gym.

I needed to get some cardio done and I had some sessions booked with Cody for strength training.

First up was cardio.

I hopped on the treadmill. Sometimes I just power walk on the treadmill, sometimes I run, sometimes I do both. I started out with power walking, then when I felt like I was warmed up, I did a little running. The running felt good. I was even able to increase the speed. I only had about 40 minutes before my first training session, so I spent 35 of it on the treadmill. I was really happy with it.

Then it was time for strength training with Cody. Most of Cody’s sessions are 30 minutes long. They are small group sessions, so a maximum of 5 people. Often it’s just me and Cody, but occasionally other people sign up too.

So first up for strength training was arms. I love a good arm workout. This session was me and another woman. I challenged myself a bit, opting for slightly heavier weights. It was a good session.

Next up was legs. This time there was 3 of us.  In the first set of exercises he gave us, there was one I couldn’t do. I was frustrated by it. I kept trying but just couldn’t do it. He gave me a modification for it, which I was able to do, but I didn’t feel it was doing anything for me. I wasn’t feeling it. In the next group, he gave us, again, there was one I couldn’t do.  And I was feeling even more frustrated. The other two woman were totally getting it, they could do it all, but I couldn’t. I think that added to my frustration.  I managed to get through the rest of the session without breaking down, but it was close.

His next session was abs, which I hadn’t had a chance to try yet and he had openings, so I decided to give it a go. The first thing he wanted us to do was something I’ve never been able to do. A little background first:  When I joined my first gym in 2012, I came across this piece of equipment. I’m not sure what’s it’s actually called, but I called it a leg lift machine. It looks something like this:

Image result for leg lift machine

I actually had a breakdown at the gym once because I could not do it. As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t do it. Never could. Anyway, back to yesterday. He walks over to this thing and almost immediately the panic rushes in, remembering what it was like before. When it was my turn, I tried stepping up into it, and I started shaking and had to step away for a few minutes. I was embarrassed and frustrated all over again. I took a few minutes to calm myself down before coming back. We then moved to the mats. I got down on the floor, ready to work, but once again, frustration that I couldn’t do what he was showing us. They weren’t hard movements, I just couldn’t do them. I tried modifying them, but still couldn’t. I was on the verge of a breakdown and I knew it. I got up and walked out. I knew I had to remove myself from the situation. I was beyond frustrated. I was on the verge of giving up and going home. I posted this pic in that moment:

20664389_10154930054433546_873704029284608320_n

In that moment, I was ready to give up. But I knew that I couldn’t. I knew that I had to push myself beyond my frustrations. I had to keep going. So I drank some water and walked around the gym until I was feeling better. I never went back into the abs session. I waited until it was over. I had another session following it.

Cody asked if I was okay and I said yes, I was fine. He asked if I wanted to go home and I said no, I was good. I could tell he was concerned, but I think he trusted that I wouldn’t push myself too hard. So we moved on to the next session.

The next session was a back workout. This session also had 3 of us in it. I pushed myself hard, opting to try slightly heavier weights that I used previously. It paid off. I felt like I did really well.

After the session was over, I took a break. Drank more water and used the time to chill. I still had one more session to go.

The last session of the day was a chest workout. This session was just Cody and I. He asked if I was okay, and I said yes, I was good to go. We did a couple new things, and again, I opted to try some slightly heavier weights. The session was good.

By the end, I was feeling much better. I felt like I had moved beyond my frustrations. I was proud of myself for not giving up. I felt that overall, I had a good solid workout. I was tired and a little sore, but left the gym with a smile on my face.

20664513_10154930294513546_2505333623077687875_n

It was good at the beginning, messy in the middle, and good at the end. Some days are like that.

Leave a comment »

Life at my new gym

Well, it finally happened. I’m finally back in the gym. After far, far too long.

Planet Fitness opened up a location in my town last month. After hearing rumours about it for about 2 years. I was so excited when it was confirmed.

I’ve known for a long time that I need to get back to working out regularly again. There are a lot of things I can do that don’t require me being in a gym, but I’ve found that I work out better when I’m around other people. I don’t need to be working out with them. I don’t even need to know them. But for whatever reason, I just get in a better workout around others. Plus I needed somewhere I could do cardio when I couldn’t be outside.

So when Planet Fitness started accepting sign ups, I was ready. More than ready, actually.

They opened on a Friday night, but I was away that weekend on family business.  The first chance I had to go was on Tuesday.

To be honest, I was a little nervous. It had been a couple years since I had been to a gym on a regular basis. I worried I wouldn’t remember how to do things. Planet Fitness is famous for being a non-judgemental gym, but I still worried people might judge me. I wondered if I would like it, if I would be comfortable there, if the people would be friendly.

But I didn’t need to worry about any of that.

As soon as I walked in, I knew I would be happy there. The staff greeted me with smiles. The place is bright and cheerful. I was given a quick tour so I knew where things were. Oh my gosh, so much equipment! Treadmills, ellipticals, arc trainers, bikes, stair climbers. Weight machines, cable machines, smith machines, free weights! Plus, a special 30-minute circuit area and an area for stretching. And they have a trainer on staff as well. I was very impressed.

The first couple of times, I pretty much stuck to myself. But the more I go, the more comfortable I am, and the more I interact with other members. So far, everyone has been really friendly. I know I made the right decision to join.

After going a few times, I decided to meet with the trainer, Cody. The sessions are small group sessions, no more than 5 people. They offer sessions that are specific muscle group workouts — chest, back, arms, legs, abs, and shoulders. They also have a design your own program session, and a 30-minute circuit session.

I started with the design your own program session. It was good, a lot of information, but no actual workout.

So then I decided to try the specific muscle group sessions. I’d never done workouts like that before. When I worked with Tyler, I just did whatever he told me to do. And when he left, he gave me groups of exercises to do. I’ve seen people work just specific muscle groups, so I was anxious to give it a try. The sessions are 30 minutes, but you can easily get a workout in during that time. I did back-to-back sessions, thinking I would get a better workout in, and boy, did I! Since then, I have done several sessions with Cody. He really knows his stuff.  He is very personable and easy to work with. I’m glad I decided to give his sessions a try. I plan on signing up for his sessions as often as I can.

Since it’s been a while since I was at the gym on a regular basis, I know that I have to get my body used to it again. Right now, I’m going about 3 times a week. I’ve been there 10 times in the last 3 1/2 weeks. I think that’s a pretty good start. And I’m hoping to increase that shortly.  Some days I will just do cardio; other days I will do cardio and strength training.

To keep myself accountable, I check-in on Facebook and often post something after my workout. I’ve had a few people tell me that my posts have inspired them to join the gym as well. And I’ve had a few people at the gym tell me that I inspire them as well. That makes me feel pretty good. I don’t set out to inspire others, but hearing things like that, inspires me to keep going.

Having a place to work out like Planet Fitness makes this journey a little easier. I’m really glad I joined. Life at my new gym is good. And I’m really happy to be there.

Leave a comment »

Sometimes I feel like a duck

You know how it’s said that a duck looks calm on the surface, just gliding along the water, but underneath they are paddling like crazy? There are days I feel like that.

I do my best to stay positive, have a positive attitude, keep a smile on my face, but some days it’s effing hard!

I struggle. A lot. More than I want to readily admit.

I struggle with feeling like I belong.

I struggle with body image.

I struggle with feeling alone.

I struggle with feeling left out.

I struggle with not feeling like I’m good enough.

There are days that it takes everything I’ve got to get through the day. I’m smiling on the outside, but I’m paddling like crazy to stay afloat.

I’ve been overweight almost my entire life, so it should be no surprise that I have body image issues.  I’ve been judged and criticized and made fun of much of my life, which makes me feel very self-conscience around people, especially people I don’t know. I’ve gotten better about it in the last several years, but it still happens. Those feelings are still there.

I joined a new gym recently. I’m excited about it too. I have missed not being in one for the last couple of years. It will take me a while to get used to working out again, and I’m okay with that. So far, everyone there has been really nice and super friendly. But I still feel self-conscience about being there. Sometimes I feel like I just don’t belong or that people are secretly judging me, either for how I look or for how I’m working out. It’s crazy, I know. And I try not to feel like that, but I still do.  The other day I was on the treadmill with no one on either side of me. Then a lady got on next to me. I’m slow, and I fully own that. But with this lady next to me, I suddenly felt like I didn’t belong there, like maybe she was judging me for going so slow. I’m sure she wasn’t paying any attention to me, but in that moment, that’s how I felt.

I can’t do a lot of things other people at the gym can do. And I’m sure I could use some help with my form sometimes. But I do what I can.   When I was working with Tyler, he taught me a lot. And that’s where I’m starting now, with the things he taught me. I’m not at the level I was a couple of years ago, but I know with time, I’ll get back there. I sometimes wonder what people think when they see me there. Maybe they don’t notice me. Maybe they don’t care. Maybe they think I’m ridiculous. Maybe they are secretly cheering for me. These are things that sometimes go through my head.

I spend a lot of time alone. Probably too much. Sometimes I need to be alone to recharge. But other times I desperately want to be around people I know, people I care about. The problem is many of those people don’t live anywhere close. My family is in Missouri, Delaware, Florida, and Ohio; my best friend is in Arizona; other friends are scattered around the US and Canada.  I do have a few friends that live near me, but they are busy with their own lives and we rarely get to see each other.

These are some of the things I struggle with.

Some days I do just fine. I’m just gliding along the water.

Other days, I’m like that duck, paddling like mad just below the surface.

Leave a comment »

Belonging

I’ve been thinking a lot about belonging lately.

When I was a kid, I struggled with belonging. I never felt like I really fit in anywhere. I was very shy and overweight, and I didn’t have many friends. I usually felt like the odd one out or a third wheel, no matter what size the group was that I was with.

In my teens, it was even worse.

Things started to get a little better in my early 20s. I began to open up more and it was a little easier to make friends, but I still didn’t have that many. And I still struggled with fitting in and belonging.

I got married in my late 20s and moved to Canada. Almost immediately, I noticed was I finally starting to feel like I belonged.  I was welcomed with open arms by husband’s family, friends, and co-workers.  That was HUGE, especially for someone who’d felt like an outsider most of her life.

As my life in Canada progressed, I found places where I fit in and people to connect with. It was wonderful. There were still occasions where I didn’t feel like I belonged, but they were fewer and fewer.

When I received my cancer diagnosis in 2009, I once again struggled. I struggled with defining myself as a cancer survivor. I was lucky and it was caught very early. I had surgery to remove it and did not require chemo or radiation. I didn’t feel like I belonged in that group of people who weren’t as lucky. It took me a long time to release I was wrong.

When I began running a few years ago, I struggled with defining myself as a runner. I didn’t feel like I was a “real” runner because I was so much slower than everyone else. But here’s the thing I quickly discovered: It didn’t matter if I was fast or slow. A runner is a runner.

And I also realized that running helped me feel like I belonged.  Just like when I first moved to Canada, I was welcomed into the running community with open arms. The running community is awesome! When I’m struggling with my running, I can always count on other runners for encouragement. And I think that’s the biggest reason I’ve kept at it.

A year ago today, my favourite coffee shop closed down. It was a very sad day. Not because they had great coffee, which they did, but because of the people. From the first day I walked into the place, I felt welcome. Someone was always there to offer a smile and a kind word. One of the things I noticed early on was everyone was welcome there.  It felt like home. I quickly became friends with the owner, Juliet. She is truly one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Once I overcame my initial shyness, I started sitting with the regulars. We’d push tables together to make one large table. And everyone was welcome. And oh the conversations we had at the big table! We talked about everything. We did crossword puzzles and sudoku puzzles, we’d discuss world events, we share the good and the bad about our lives. We became friends at that table.  Once again, I felt like I belonged. It’s been a year since the place closed, and I still miss it.

While I sometimes still struggle with feeling like I don’t belong in some places, I’ve learned that you don’t just belong in one place. You belong with those who support you, who love you, who make you feel welcome and appreciated. It could be the family you were born into or the family you chose for yourself. It could be your friends, those you socialize with, or those you work with.  And if you ever feel like you don’t belong, just stop and look around you. Find those you connect with and you’ll find where you belong.

Leave a comment »

Hoping to find that groove again

When I began my journey to be a healthier me in 2009, I knew it would not be an easy road. I knew I had to take it one step at a time. I had to retrain my brain to look at pretty much everything differently.

The first couple of years were a struggle. Not only was I learning to do things in a new way, I was also learning to live a life after cancer AND dealing with personal tragedies. Eventually, I felt like I had found a groove. It still wasn’t easy and I was still learning a lot, but I was getting better.

There were a few bumps in the road, like when I had to switch gyms and when Tyler decided to give up doing personal training. But I managed to get through them. Then there was the decision to change gyms again, followed by the car accident. While I eventually recovered from the accident, I never did join another gym. I think that was a contributing factor to the struggles I’ve been dealing with since.

As nervous as I was to join my first gym, I’ve realized since then that I seem to work out well around other people, even if we aren’t working out together or even know each other. Maybe I feed off their energy or something. Whatever it is, I just seem to do better with others around.

I’ve tried doing workouts at home, but it’s not quite the same. And I don’t know why. I know a lot of ways to workout with little to no equipment, but I find it hard sometimes to get a good workout in by myself.

I don’t know if it’s lack of motivation or lack of trust in myself or something else. I just feel like something is missing. And because of that, I’ve gained back some of the weight I lost. I know I only have myself to blame. And I know that I’m the only one who can fix it. I need to start making better choices again.

I’ve been talking a lot about joining a gym again. And in truth, I’ve been talking about it for quite a long time. I know it’s something I need. Living in a small town, there are not a lot of choices. And maybe that’s part of why I haven’t done it yet. But we are getting a new gym in town and I’ve already made a commitment to join. I’m really looking forward to it.

But we are getting a new gym in town and I’ve already made a commitment to join. I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully, I can find that groove again. The gym is scheduled to open in about a month. I’m feeling good about it. I’m anxious to see how much I remember.

I know it will take time to get back to where I was and beyond, and I’m okay with that. I’m already working on my mindset. And that’s the first step, and one of the most important.

 

 

2 Comments »

What I found through running

When I started running about 4 years ago, I didn’t know where it would take me. In fact, I didn’t even know if it would last. As I’ve said before, I hated running as a kid, so I never saw myself becoming a runner. When Tyler made it a part of my training with him, I was skeptical, to say the least. Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with running. And it happened before I realized it was happening. I think that is one of the most unexpected things is what I found through running.

But let me back up a bit first …

I moved to Canada almost 19 years ago, after I got married. I was born and raised in the United States. I met, fell in love with, and married a Canadian. When I moved, I left a lot behind. I moved far away from my family and friends. I knew no one in Canada, apart from my husband’s family and friends. I moved from a big city to a small town. There was a lot — A LOT — of adjustments I had to make. And it wasn’t easy.

The hardest part was not being near my family.  My family has always been important to me.  I had always lived near at least some of them, so moving over 1000 miles away was difficult. We didn’t have Facebook back then, so it wasn’t as easy to stay in touch. I called as often as I could and visited when finances and schedules allowed. To be honest, it felt like I lost them. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but it’s how I felt. And actually, I still feel like that sometimes. As social media has progressed, it’s made it easier to stay in touch. But I still miss seeing them.

When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, I felt incredibly alone because none of my family was close by. I told my Dad & Stepmom and one of my brothers over the phone. I was able to tell my mom, one of my brothers and his wife in person, but only because I had a trip planned to see them right after I got the news. In my darkest moments, I would have given almost anything to have them there with me. It was an extremely difficult time.

I was still adjusting to life after cancer when a series of events left me completely reeling. I almost lost my dad, my stepmom died suddenly a few months after that, I lost 2 of my beloved cats within a couple of months of each other, and then my mom died. All of that happened in a little over a year. WTF. I went into a depression that I wasn’t sure I could crawl out of. I felt like I lost much of my world. But I eventually started to feel “normal” again.

And then I joined a gym. It took a few months, but I slowly made friends there. I’m still friends with a few of them. One of those friends was Tyler, who would become my personal trainer.  And less than a year later, I started running.

So back to running…

As I said, I wasn’t sure about running at first. But slowly, I began to enjoy it. And eventually falling in love with it. I certainly didn’t see that coming.

And this is where I found something I never expected.

I found community.

I found friends.

I found family.

I found myself.

I’ve never been a part of something so big before. I wasn’t popular in school. I didn’t have a ton of friends. I’ve always been a bit of an outcast.

I wasn’t popular in school. I didn’t have a ton of friends. I’ve always been a bit of an outcast.

But none of that mattered when I became a runner.

And that’s the most beautiful part.

When I became a runner, I found this great big thing that welcomed me with open arms.

It didn’t matter that I was a beginner and in my 40s.

It didn’t matter that I was/am overweight.

It didn’t matter that I was/am slow.

With running, I found so much more than I ever dreamed possible.

The majority of the runners I know I only know on social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. But that doesn’t matter. Because we are all part of the same thing.

We’re a community. We’re a family. We are always there for each other. To cheer each other on or pick each other up.

When I go to a race, whether I’m running or spectating, the sense of community is undeniable.

It happens anytime I’m around other runners.

It’s an amazing thing.

It’s a beautiful thing.

What I found through running is a part of me I didn’t know I was missing, a part I didn’t know I needed. And I can’t imagine my life without it.

 

 

Leave a comment »

The finish line is a thing of magic

My friend JP recently shared a video on Facebook of a woman finishing the London Marathon. She had lost her husband and son and suffered from PTSD. His comment was ” This! 💙 Running will change your life if you have the faith to invite it in…”

And he’s right.

Running has taken me places I never thought I’d ever go.

I watched the video, and it was beautiful.

My comment on the video was:

“the finish line is a thing of magic. no matter the distance, no matter how long it took to get there, you are forever changed once you cross it. whether it’s an actual finish line in a race or an imaginary one you create for yourself.”

And that got me thinking just how true of a statement that is.

So I thought I’d write about it.

When I first began my journey to be a healthier person, I wasn’t really sure where it would take me or even how I’d get there. I just knew that I needed to begin. I also knew that I had to take it slow, at least at first, or I’d just end up spinning my wheels and would get very far. Baby steps. One thing at a time.

It reminds me of a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

I never imagined I’d end up becoming a runner.

I never imagined I’d love it.

I never imagined I’d start doing local races. And love it.

When I first started working with Tyler, he asked me what some of my goals were. I explained a bit about my journey, and that one of my goals was to walk in and complete a 5k event. I’d given myself a year to complete that goal. With Tyler’s help, I was able to complete that goal in less than 4 months.

It was a very hot and extremely humid day in July 2012. It was a small local race put on by a friend of mine. And I was the only one walking it. A spectator asked if he could walk along with him, and I said yes. I found out his girlfriend was one of the runners. He and I became good friends that day. Not far from the finish, I had to sit down on a bench because I was having trouble breathing. (I had forgotten my inhaler). After a few minutes, I was able to continue. When I rounded the last corner right before the finish line, I was amazed to see so many people waiting. As soon as they saw me, they started cheering, and I’m pretty sure I started tearing up. I remember an incredible sense of pride and accomplishment as I crossed the finish line that day.  It was one of the hardest things I’d done up to that point, and that made that feeling all the more special.

That finish line was a thing of magic.

In that moment, I knew my life would never be the same.

In that moment, I knew that I wanted to do that again.

About 6 months later, I started running. have completed 29 other races.

And since that first race in 2012, I have completed 29 other races. Mostly 5Ks, although there was one 10k and one half-marathon.

And the feeling is the same every time I cross the finish line.

It’s like magic.

No matter the distance, no matter how long it took me to get there.

I crossed the finish line. Every. Single. Time.

In 2015, I took on one of my biggest challenges – completing a half marathon. An incredibly intimidating goal to me, especially considering I’d never done more than 10k before. But I was determined to do it.

I had almost a year to prepare for it, so I did a lot of research to find an appropriate training plan. I eventually found one that was close and adjusted it to make it more appropriate for me.

Every run had its own finish line. Whatever the distance that day, I wouldn’t stop until I reached it. I’d carefully map out my runs to make sure I could cover the distance. I often planned them so I’d end at my favourite coffee shop. As the weeks of training continued, the runs got longer, and I’d have to remap to make sure I covered at least the distance necessary. Often, my runs were a little bit longer than they needed to be. There were days that were hot and humid (even early in the morning), but that didn’t stop me. One of my longest runs was done in the rain, 17.25k, but I didn’t let that stop me either. Another run my back seized up with about 2k to go, but I just kept moving forward.

I trained for 4 months. 4 runs a week. Every single run I did by myself. And some days it was very hard. It’s not easy training alone. Especially for something so big. There were days I didn’t want to run, but I did it anyway. Some mornings I wanted to sleep in, but I got up anyway. I was determined to cross that finish line.

Things didn’t go very well on race day. Things happened that were completely out of my control, but I didn’t let that stop me. I kept moving forward. It took me longer than I’d hoped, but in the end, I crossed the finish line. And once again, I knew my life was changed forever.

Now, when I think I can’t do something, I think about my races. 30 races total. And I have finished every one. Every. Single. One. Often I’m the very last person in, but that doesn’t matter to me. And crossing the finish line never gets old. I get goosebumps every time. I often tear up. Because I’ve accomplished something truly amazing. Every goal I set has its own finish line. Only I can see it, but it’s there. Every time I accomplish something I set out to do, I cross that finish line.

The finish line is a thing of magic. It makes you feel like you can accomplish anything.

 

Leave a comment »

Why I love being a runner

I think some people were just born to be a runner. But I don’t think I’m one of those people. I never liked running. In fact, I hated it as a kid.

But I don’t think I’m one of those people.

I never liked running. In fact, I hated it as a kid. Growing up, my asthma was really bad, which prevented me from doing a lot of stuff. Plus I’ve been overweight most of my life.

So exactly how did I become a runner?

That’s a good question.

The answer is I don’t know.  Which I realize sounds funny, but it’s the truth.

When I was working out with Tyler, he had me start running as part of my workouts. I remember early on in our time together I joked several times about how I don’t run.

I remember early on in our time together I joked several times about how I don’t run. I don’t know if that’s where he got the idea, but one day he had me run on the treadmill. I was terrified I was going to fall off. That first run was only 30 seconds, but damn, it felt like forever! It took a while, but I was eventually able to run much longer. And then we moved outside, which I found much harder at the beginning. Eventually, I came to love running outside and dreaded when I had to be on the treadmill.

After Tyler and I stopped working together, I continued to run.

I think that’s when I knew I loved running.

So why do I love being a runner?

That’s another good question.

And it’s a much longer answer.

For one, I find it challenging. I put everything I have into every run. I’m not fast. At all. When I talk about running, I often say that “I have one speed … and it ain’t fast!” There are people who walk faster than I run. But I don’t care.

Which leads me to the next thing. A runner is a runner. It doesn’t matter what you look like, doesn’t matter where you live, doesn’t matter your speed, doesn’t matter how long you’ve been running, doesn’t matter how often you run. None of that matters. If you run, you’re a runner. Period. I love that.

Which, of course, leads me to the next thing. The running community. This might be one of the biggest reasons I’ve continued to run. Runners stick together. A runner supports other runners. No matter what, there are always people cheering me on, encouraging me. Even if, or maybe especially if, we are strangers. Every race I do, there are people waiting at the finish line to cheer for me and tell me I did a great job. I love that. They may never realize just how much something like that means to someone like me. And here’s the thing about the running community, runners are everywhere. So no matter where I go, where I run, where I talk about running, there are runners there. I’ve connected with a lot of runners all over the world through social media. And we support each other because we are all runners. The running community is the most inclusive group I’ve ever been a part of. If you run, you’re part of the running community.  Everyone is welcome. How awesome is that!

Which leads me to the next thing. Racing. I love doing local races. Every race I’ve done so far has been a local race. Some day I’ll expand to races farther away, but for now, I’m happy to do all the local races I can. And doing local races helps support charities and causes in my community, so it’s a win/win really. Most of the time, I’m the last one across the finish line. But I don’t care. The point is, I crossed it. I’ve only been running about 4 years. I’ve done about 30 races total in that time. And I have always crossed the finish line. I’m very proud of that, and I think that it is one of my greatest accomplishments.

I’m sure there are a lot more reasons why I love running, but I think these are the biggest ones.

If you’re a runner, why do you love it?

 

 

 

Leave a comment »

Apologies

It’s been a while since I posted anything.

Too long.

I’m sorry about that.

I don’t really have a good excuse for not posting anything lately. I just didn’t feel like I had much to say. And when I tried to write, nothing came together.

I just didn’t feel like I had much to say. And when I tried to write, nothing came together.

And when I tried to write, nothing came together. That happens sometimes. I really want to write something, but it just doesn’t happen. I can’t seem to get the thoughts out of my head.

But I’m feeling better mentally these days, so hopefully, I’ll be able to post things more often. I already have a few ideas kicking around in my head. I think that’s a good sign.

Hopefully you’ll see some more posts soon. And on a more regular basis too.

It’s good to be back.

Leave a comment »